April 19, 2014

Daily Until June 3: Phone Bank for Mike Honda

Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17) is a longtime supporter and friend of the AAA-Fund. His work has directly matched and aided our own mission and goal. We encourage all to support him as he has supported us all in all his work.

Phone bank for Mike!

Mike Honda at San Jose High School

Join Mike Honda’s campaign and help re-elect him to Congress. Phone banks are held at the DCCC building, 430 S. Capitol Street S.E., Washington, DC. Every Wednesday from 6:30pm-9:30pm until the June 3rd primary, with additional times announced for the general election. Sign up here.

Congressman Honda is running to represent CA-17, the Silicon Valley district. He has been delivering for his district for over a decade in Congress. As Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Vice-Chair of the DNC for 6 years, Mike has been a leading voice in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community & a progressive champion for underserved and under-represented communities & a fierce advocate for the middle class, fighting for legislation that nurtures the tech industry in his Silicon Valley district and grows our innovation economy. His service has been recognized by his many endorsers, including President Barack Obama, Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris, and the California Democratic Party, among others.

His opponent Ro Khanna has amassed a questionably funded war chest and high-paid consultancy team which threatens to end Mike’s career of delivering for CA-17 and fighting for the progressive values we hold dear. We’ll even pardon Khanna’s unsavory ethical questions. Working on behalf of people like you inspires Congressman Honda’s work every day. Thus we hope you will help Mike in his time of need.

To volunteer, fill out this form or contact 503-974-6026 or hondavolunteer@gmail.com. Forward this to anyone you think would be interested in helping Mike.

Thank you!

April 21, DC: AAPI Mentoring with Nina Davuluri & Julie Chu

White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

The White House Office of Public Engagement, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), and White House Council on Women and Girls invite you to an armchair conversation with

  1. Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014
  2. Julie Chu, four-time Olympic Medalist of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team
  3. Moderated by Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on AAPIs.
  4. Other panelists to be announced.

You are welcome – and encouraged – to forward this invitation to young women who are students, interns, young professionals, or emerging leaders in your networks. Mentorship is an important part of our efforts and we hope this event will provide these young leaders a chance to hear and learn from our special guests.

Monday, April 21, 2014
1:00 – 2:00 PM
The White House
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Space is limited and RSVPs will only be accepted until we reach capacity. To RSVP, complete and submit the attached security spreadsheet (.xlsx with header fields: LastName, First Name, Middle Name, Date of Birth, SSN, Citizen, Country, Gender, City, State, Email Address) to AAPI@who.eop.gov by 12 pm (Noon) EDT this Friday, April 18th. You are not confirmed for the event unless you have correctly completed the attached form AND receive a confirmation e-mail.

DOL Labor Hall of Honor Inducts Chinese Railroad Workers

Editor’s Note: We re-Tweeted the DOL’s Tweet about this news.

Chinese Railroad Workers

The United States Department of Labor invites you to join Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez for the induction of The Chinese Railroad Workers into the Labor Hall of Honor

Friday, May 9, 2014
11:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave NW
César Chávez Memorial Auditorium
Washington, DC 20210
Vistor’s Entrance: 3rd & C Streets NW

Registration and identification are required to attend. This invitation is non-transferrable.

Register at webapps.dol.gov/DOLEvents/Event/View/288 before Wednesday, May 7, 2014.

Contact Jeremy Bishop, Special Assistant to the Secretary
in the Office of Public Engagement, at bishop.jeremy@dol.gov with any questions or concerns.

Colleen Hanabusa (2/2)

Colleen Hanabusa

Naturally, President Obama endorsed his own Hawaii state campaign head Brian Schatz for US Senate over the proven lead Colleen Hanabusa. I wrote 2 months ago about how Hanabusa provides not just any leadership or the party’s most well connected leadership but the most principled, focused & ideal leadership. Ignoring sustained junk politics like her age (which is a plus, but mean politics never sees that), we can all see the President will back his campaign staff while other Democrats back Hanabusa as it’s an all-Democratic field which leads to disillusionment over the political process that leads to political fragmentation & polarization that makes Congress what it is today.

Also, Obama’s been so unwilling to help any US Senate candidate except 1 other (then again, it’s desired). Unfortunate but understandable.

Today’s Honolulu Star Advertiser poll asks, “Should President Obama have endorsed his candidate in Hawaii’s Democratic race for U.S. Senate?” where you can vote your say. You know my say.

Update: Poll results agree, Obama should’ve stayed out of it.

The politics of pilgrimage: Vietnam Veterans War Memorial

VVWM

(Photo from Fischer Art History)

The lines of people angle in, respectfully, along the powerful obsidian walls. Some are here on a pilgrimage and have come armed with light paper and crayons for tracing the names of their loved ones, to bear away some of the memory. Some are tourists from inside and without the homeland, checking off stops on a planned itinerary of historic places. This does not detract from the sacred nature of the place.

I breathe in the smell of earth and listen to the birds chirping brightly on this windy day. Time stops and the field of vision freezes. All there is, is in front of me.

The V of the wall rises like a gash in the earth, and the ground dips slowly like a curtsey, mimicking the descent into the underworld. And all the people follow the trail, with a sharp line dividing the black stone from the green grass and wildflowers that line the top edge. In contrast, families and friends have left bouquets that have withered in the sun, cut off from any source of sustaining nourishment.

In seventh grade, my class took a trip to Washington, D.C. and I brushed my hands along the cold marble wall. The wall transmitted such sadness and I felt the etched names like a mantra. I watched as families clustered in tight blossoms of sorrow around the name of a loved one who had died defending his or her country. At the age of twelve, I was transfixed by the flat shininess and the ghostlike reflections of the visitors in the face of so many names. As if we were the mirrored ghosts, paying our respects to those who had come before.

In the midst of my twelve year old reverie, a lady scolded me, saying “It’s disrespectful to touch the names.” My hand had been tracing etched letters on the wall, feeling the differential between my hot little hand and the somber, polished stone. It had never occurred to me that the memorial was meant for anything but touching.

I take in a deep inhale and exhale, now in my thirty-two year old self. Finding out later, in college, that Maya Lin was twenty when she submitted her design for the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial blind competition, a complete unknown student at Yale, gave me the context of her courage. What she endured was only magnified when you understand that her design was chosen out of 1,421 submissions, including entries by internationally recognized architects.

Lin faced a great deal of controversy, including detractors who thought that it was wrong for a young Chinese American woman to design a memorial for fallen American soldiers of the Vietnam War, that she looked too much like the people who had helped kill our veterans. She wound up having to defend herself and her vision to Congressional inquiry and soldiers who had returned from war. The former Secretary of the Interior even held up the building’s permits in an attempt to get her to change her design. It has since become one of the most cherished and significant memorials. More than a physical replica of soldiers in battle, walking the long wall and watching the names of the fallen rise to a height beyond humanity, and then walking away from the apex, and seeing the names taper is a heart-wrenching journey of finality and closure.
If it cleaves the earth, it is because it is a memorial to one of the most divisive wars of the modern American century. The memorial is magnificent because it is simultaneously the cut, the scar, and the healing. It has taken me twenty years to pin down what resonates about the memorial, and yet, I am always glad to put a name to a visceral feeling.

–Caroline

“Where are you ‘from, from?’”

A recent campaign organized by Harvard students called “I, Too, Am Harvard,” has sparked discussions of racial comments and the diverse experiences people of color face.

The campaign highlights black Harvard students’ experiences of fleeting racial comments based on stereotypes associated with being black on a university campus. Originally organized as a play stemming from interviews with members of the black Harvard community, the campaign has expanded to a photo series, where black students hold up signs with statements such as “Can you read?” and “You’re lucky to be black…so easy to get into college!” to illustrate these stinging comments made by classmates, friends and others.

“Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned—this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard,” read the description of the campaign’s Tumblr page.

Harvard, where black students make up 11 percent of the class of 2017, has responded positively to the campaign, according to a recent USA Today article.

Although the campaign focused on Harvard’s black community, a recent New York Times article explored how subtle comments like those highlighted at Harvard can have bigger racial and ethnic implications on minority groups. The article showcased some Asian stereotypes, such as hiring “the Asian computer programmer because you think he’s going to be a good programmer because he’s Asian.”

Others in the Asian-American community have also addressed similar issues of ethnic identity and origin. Wong Fu Productions, a California-based film production company run by three Asian-Americans, recently posted a video skit called “Accidental Racism,” where coworkers of different ethnicities probe each other about their ethnicity and origin.

In the skit, one of the actors asks her Asian-American coworker, “Where are you from, from though?,” to which he responds, “If you’re asking me where my family is from—China, I guess.” It is also interesting that the Asian-American coworker then asks another man from Kentucky the same types of racial comments without realizing the similarities and stereotypical undertones.

Another video series from ISAtv, a YouTube channel focused on issues of the Asian-American community, called “Level: Asian,” follows two Asian-American brothers as they explore what being Asian means to different people. In their most recent video, they ask UCLA students about the Asian college lifestyle and the question, “Do you think all Asians go to good colleges?”

Have you ever been asked about your ethnicity and been offended by someone’s probing question of “No, where are you actually from?” Or do these questions not bother you? Can these comments be considered “racism 2.0” as one source in the recent New York Times article labeled it? Or do these questions stem from genuine curiosity from someone who may not be as familiar or aware of your culture as you are?

Jayna Omaye recently earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. As a student reporter, she previously covered politics, immigration and demographics in Washington, D.C. for a number of national media outlets, including USA Today, McClatchy, MarketWatch and the Military Times.

Follow her on Twitter: @JaynaOmaye

2014 Elections

Editor’s Note: Richard’s writing below means he’s tracking it but not that the AAA-Fund gives an endorsement.

Election 2014 is well underway! Ones I’m looking at include:

Elected already

  • Suchada “Sue” Langley – elected Chair of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, the largest committee in Virginia. Dr. Langley is a retired USDA economist and Thai American.
  • Clarence Tong – elected Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee. Clarence works in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (CI) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). He is Chinese-American & was the Communications Director and Policy Director for Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA), who lost to and is running again in 2016 against Senator Toomey.

I’ll update this post regularly (3 edits already) for my own purposes, but all comments welcome below.

Good to do for any/all would be to tag politicians’ Wikipedia pages for Category:Members of the United States Congress of Asian descent or to edit this Wikipedia article.

Dr. Danielle Martin schools Sen. Richard Burr

My homeland of Taiwan has a single payer healthcare system which is famed for its affordability and Western levels of care and service. Canada also, though conservatives want to market their for-profit healthcare systems as superior to all the rest of the world. You’ve already heard the stats about how behind the US is for overall health and GOP hardheads spew the stereotypes which are ridiculous to everyone else, but here’s something to make you smile.

Dr. Danielle Martin schools Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) on national healthcare. Dozens of articles repeat the delicious exchange. For audio, see “Canadian doctor schools U.S. Senator on public health care“.

I could go on & on abut how conservatives are paid off by healthcare and pharmaceutical lobbyists but worse than legalized corruption is how Americans are too lazy to lobby their representatives (thus lobbyists work) & won’t want to change the system until they’ve a $10,000 doctor’s bill. And even then, they’re too lazy to do much other than fight a menial fight with the insurer. Don’t be that person.

Phung Jefferson for Judge

Editor’s Note: As our mission here is to support AAPIs in any & every way, we feature Phung Jefferson, a private attorney running for Clark County District Court Judge for Department 2. Filing for candidacy begins an often long road of many steps for all in US politics and we want you to publicize & support all AAPIs in this work. Note her June 10 primary election and Nov 4 general election dates so read, volunteer & publicize! Below is her biography which we share with you.

Phung Jefferson

My name is Phung Jefferson and I am running for Nevada Clark County District Court Judge in a nonpartisan race. I have a strong commitment to upholding the principles of equality and justice. There is no greater honor than being allowed the opportunity to serve our local community.

I was born in Nha Trang, S. Vietnam in 1970. My Vietnamese mother, American father and brothers arrived in the United States in 1976. I became a U.S. citizen at the age of 9 in 1979. I earned my Bachelor of Science from UNLV and Juris Doctor at Western State College of Law, in Fullerton, California. I opened my own private law practice in 2003 and argued an appeal for the Nevada Supreme Court shortly thereafter. This appeal resulted in a Court opinion which became controlling legal authority in Nevada [Hudson v. Jones, 138 P.3d 429 (Nev. 2006)].

Throughout my career, I have represented clients in jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations, and hearings. I have served as legal council in many different areas, including criminal proceedings, family law matters, civil defense cases, and personal injury claims. I work hard to ensure that all clients I represent are provided with a deep understanding of the intricacies of their case, feel their interests have been presented accurately, and are able to fully communicate their needs.

In my spare time, I try to do my part to help to enrich our local community by providing free seminars regarding important topics such as domestic violence and how to plan for a career in law.

My heritage and my life experience have given me a unique perspective and a great deal of understanding. I am grateful to my family for providing me with a strong work ethic and a firm dedication to upholding that which is right. Please feel free to visit my webpage at www.phungjefferson.com.

Editor’s Note: We’ve also featured another AAPI in running for Clark County Judge, Judge Cheryl Moss.

Judge Cheryl Moss

Editor’s Note: As our mission here is to support AAPIs in any & every way, we feature Judge Cheryl Moss (JudgePedia, official website and biography, campaign website), a Judge of the 8th Judicial District Court, Family Division, Clark County, State of Nevada. She campaigns for another 6-year term in this year’s election. Having filed begins an often long road of many steps for all in US politics and we want you to publicize & support all AAPIs in this work. Note her June 10 primary election and Nov 4 general election dates so read, learn, volunteer & publicize! Below is her biography which we share with you.

Judge Cheryl Moss

Judge Cheryl Moss was elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2002 and 2008 to the 8th Judicial District Court, Family Division, Clark County, State of Nevada. She is currently serving a six-year term until 2014.

Judge Moss is the first Asian-American to be elected to a statewide judicial office in the State of Nevada’s history. She has served in public office as a District Court Judge since January 2001.

Judge Moss attended college at George Washington University then law school at the Catholic University of America, both in Washington, D.C. Judge Moss graduated in the top 25% of her law school class in 1994. She is licensed to practice law in Nevada, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

After graduating law school and working as a judicial law clerk for Superior Court Judge John H. Bayly, Jr., in Washington, D.C., Judge Moss relocated in 1995 to Las Vegas.

In 1998, Cheryl owned and managed her solo law practice, The Law Office of Cheryl B. Moss, Chartered, practicing mainly in family law and personal injury law. In 1999, she received the Shining Star Award from the Clark County Pro Bono Project for her unselfish representation of low-income clients.

During her first year as a Family Court Judge, Judge Moss became the first Judge to implement a pilot program for referring parents in child custody cases for Problem Gambling Assessments. Judge Moss successfully launched the program with the help and coordination of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.

Judge Moss served on the Board of Trustees of the Clark County Law Library. She also volunteers her time judging in local and statewide competitions such as the UNLV Law School Moot Court Competition, the High School Mock Trial Competition, and previously with the Trial By Peers Program. Judge Moss also collaborates with the Southern Nevada Gang Prevention Task Committee.

Judge Moss has given several lectures in legal and medical seminars dealing with substance abuse disorders and addictive behaviors. She gave presentations for the National Business Institute, the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, the National Center for Responsible Gaming, Nellis Air Force Base, the Nevada Army Reserve Training Center, and at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Judge Moss has earned over 1000 hours of continuing legal education with a concentration in domestic relations law.

In August 2007, Judge Moss was the first Judge to graduate from the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program wherein Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officers are trained to respond to emergency calls involving the mentally ill or those in crisis.

In 2011, Judge Moss was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S.

In 2013, Judge Moss received The Golden Pear Award for Professional Achievement from the Filipino American Heritage Foundation of Nevada.

This is now her 14th year as a Family Court Judge. Judge Moss is dedicated to her career in public service. Judge Moss is currently pursuing re-election to a 4th term on the bench this November 2014.