April 18, 2015

Should Teachers Pack Heat?

I recently came across this article about a private Christian school in Arkansas that not only arms some of their teachers, but openly promotes this fact with signs posted at the school’s entrance.

With the recent school shooting at a Georgia elementary school which happened less than a week ago — and Congress’ failure to pass legislation requiring expanded background checks back in April — could this be a viable option for protecting kids in school?  What do you think?

— Alex Polishuk

P.S.  Check out this video by VICE where the team travels to a school that is not only arming the teachers but teaching the kids to fight back against intruders!

Rep. Takano slams GOP Congressmembers’ Faulty Logic, in Red Ink

Takano edits to GOP immig

Like the veteran high school teacher that he is, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside), decided to take out his red pen and apply it to a letter on immigration that fellow Congressmembers from the other party were circulating. Politico gave him some ink for exposing the shoddy reasoning.

He dishes out kindly but exacting critique, pointing out where the letter has logical and factual flaws. For example, the Republican letter claims that the Senate-passed bill is over 1,000 pages, so Rep. Takano circles this and points out that it’s exactly 286 pages. (Note to Congressmembers and staff: please do your research.)

Rep. Takano repeatedly points out “tawdry accusations” and Republican claims that are lacking in evidence. No, seriously, he points it out no more than four times in the short letter. What assertions does he specifically call out?

-“reportedly not all the Senators have read [the bill]”
-“We are disturbed by the secret and under-handed way that the immigration bill moved through the Senate…”
-“To attempt to do everything at once ensures that little will be done right”
-“will prevent the last minute secret deal-making and vote-buying”

One of Rep. Takano’s best closing lines is, “If you don’t understand the bill, come by my office and I’ll explain it. Weak draft, re-do.”

That’s called taking your colleagues to the toolshed. and why I love teachers as elected officials! (Full disclosure, AAA Fund enthusiastically endorsed Rep. Takano early in his campaign.)


June 18, DC: Mayor’s AAPI Teacher Appreciation Reception

The below is from our friends at the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Teacher Appreciation Reception

I invite you to the Asian American and Pacific Islander Teacher Appreciation Reception scheduled for Tuesday June 18, 2013 from 6:30pm – 8:00pm at 700 6th Street, NW Rooftop. This is a part of our “UNSUNG HEROES” series which was initiated last year.

Last year, we have held a reception to honor and recognize AAPI police officers and fire fighters for their contributions and also to encourage AAPI youth to consider law enforcement career opportunities. The purpose of this year’s event is also to celebrate the contributions and honor the outstanding work of AAPI teachers in the District of Columbia.

We hope you can join us to meet our AAPI teachers and recognize the extraordinary efforts they make every day on behalf of their students! We want to help promote the diversity of the teachers in DCPS and highlight the contributions AAPI teachers make in the community. This is also an opportunity to showcase a non-traditional career path in the AAPI community.

To register, contact Neel Saxena directly at neel.saxena7#064;dc.gov. Details at http://aapiteacher.eventbrite.com/. Thank you!

In Mike We Trust

Ed. note This Op-Ed by Kal Penn appeared in the May 10 edition of India Abroad

I first worked with Congressman Mike Honda when I was a White House aide to President Obama, working on issues related to young Americans and the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. In a sea of chaos that is Congress, it was always refreshing to see Mike go to bat for his constituents, and to join the President in standing up for young people and community members in a way that most members of Congress did not.

Having worked alongside Mike in both policy and politics, I am proud to endorse him for his re-election to Congress in 2014. Washington, DC, can be sort of a crazy place. To many of us, it’s unfathomable that there is opposition to commonsense issues like access to health care, comprehensive immigration reform, and education. And we often look to our leaders to see how they intend to engage on those issues we care about.

As the Congressman representing the innovative spirit and drive of Silicon Valley, as chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus for an unprecedented seven years, and now as chair emeritus; as a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, it’s rare and refreshing that Mike really moves and lives by the conviction that every one of us deserve an opportunity and a voice.

As a young person, that kind of leadership was refreshing to see.

On health care, Mike and CAPAC worked with the Congressional Black and Hispanic caucuses to include critical provisions that tackled health disparities in the President’s final historic health- care reform legislation of 2009.

On immigration, over the previous three Congresses as chair, and now as chair of CAPAC’s Immigration Task Force, Mike has led the constant drumbeat to pass a comprehensive immigration reform that leaves no one behind. He believes in an immigration system that is inclusive, family- based and humane, and invests in America’s future.

On education, he worked to dispel the model minority myth, and to push for greater resources flowing to colleges and universities that serve underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

Mike’s record speaks volumes to his character. He has continued to push for issues that are critical, regardless of whether there is existing political appetite for it amongst his peers in Congress; essentially, he has helped to create the tenable space for much of the action we have seen.

His advocacy for social justice and serving communities that do not have a voice is unparalleled. Mike grew up behind barbed wire in a Japanese-American internment camp, even as his father served in the United States Military Intelligence Service during World War II.

As a young boy, he learned that being Japanese carried a negative connotation in America. But he knows that the reason Japanese Americans were unjustly and illtreated was because no one in Washington said no.

Today, Mike continues to be an unwavering opponent of hate speech and bullying perpetrated against all communities, regardless of creed, race, gender, sexuality, disability, country of origin, and immigration status.

Mike has been a friend and mentor to many young leaders, artists, business folks, and innovators. I know that he will continue to deliver that which is just and best for his constituents and for this nation.

– Kal Penn

Suzy Lee Weiss, Rich Racist

Suzy Lee Weiss sucks

The last time I ranted 3 weeks ago about politics as an excuse for personal flaws was shortly after that Suzy Lee Weiss, some privileged girl of super rich parents, wrote her now infamous editorial. That her sister works at the publication likely helped her to gain publication in that otherwise well-written publication. I tried for a solid month to not rant here about that rich white girl’s self-explainatory snobbery but Morgan Jerkings burning that excessively privileged girl inspired me to jump in with my own billionth rant to add to the stunningly caustic pile of editorials already out there.

How to chastize that privileged snooty girl?

  • take the high road? like an intellectual analysis?
  • take the low road? burn her with complete low brow language?
  • take the sarcastic road? like The Onion would?
  • take the blogger road? something really short & sensational then ask for comments?
  • take the principled road? say little?

I’ll even ignore her multiple Asian critiques which are red meat for a blog such as ours, but what could I possibly write to say more about her idiocacy and racism than she herself already has? She’s like 10 years of the ridiculousness of conservative talk radio boiled into 2 screenfuls.

In the end, I decided all those approaches were already done so I was left with nothing new. Suzy Lee Weiss proves that nothing can succeed against one who simply doesn’t care.

Low & Lower, Dumb & Dumber

Ben Carson CPAC

As I cheered Ben Carson‘s implosion, I highlight the difference between merely dabbling in politics & being a credible political leader.

I work & live outside the political industry & sphere so I spectate the idiocy of political media which must never pass as alleged rhetoric much less political dialog. Talking points, soundbytes & other oversimplified regurgitated media cruft is far far below what our government professionals should ever do as their day job. Carson’s taking the low road continues the downward level of public discourse & political dialog, terms too flattering for the lost art.

I’ve been tempted for months to write about how politics is not just abused by others as justification for their personal flaws, a favorite topic of mine in posts past, but how now they don’t even need to hide their outright racism. Why should this Jesus-wanna-be hide his hate of LGBT people? He felt it publicly ok to spew hate speech (which is messed up as it’s no longer a crime thanks to the same perversion of the First Amendment that they did for the Second Amendment), but as societies liberalize over time, the extreme polarization will grow. Where will it end? Comment.

Thanks for listening to my day’s rant. Write for our blogathon or for this blog if you’ve got an opinion.

Fisher v. Texas: Exposing a Divided Community

Editor’s Note: Welcome K.J. Bagchi to our blogteam! K.J. Bagchi is currently a Legislative Counsel at the Council of the District of Columbia. He’s been active in the South Asian community during since his undergraduate years at UC Davis where was a writer for a campus-based South Asian focused publication, Awaaz, and during law school at the Seattle University School of Law where he was a board member of the South Asian Law Student Association. He looks forward to writing about issues that effect our community with an emphasis on younger generations in the APA community.

Students UCLA, Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

On October 10, 2012, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in Fisher v. Texas, a case that could be critical to determining what role race will play in the admissions policies of public universities. The case came before the Court after two white college applicants were denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin. The women contend that their race played a factor in the denial because of UT’s admissions policy of considering race as one of many factors in determining who is admitted.

Many national groups whose focus includes representing the best interests of certain racial minority groups or racial minority groups in general submitted amicus briefs in support of UT’s affirmative action policy. These groups included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Organization for Mexican American Rights, Inc., Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). However, among the organizations that submitted briefs arguing for an end to UT’s affirmative action admissions policies, only one organization was founded specifically to protect and promote the civil rights of an ethnic minority group. That organization was the Asian American Legal Foundation (AALF).

Reading through the briefs on both sides of the case from the organizations representing the interests of the Asian Pacific American community, the distinct illustrations each side draws about the effects of abolishing affirmative action in admissions policies is unambiguously clear. Interestingly enough, the brunt of the arguments from each side do not focus on the effects of affirmative action on society in general, but specifically on the APA community itself. While AALF argues that affirmative action policies disadvantage APA applicants in the long-run and points to data to cement their point, AALDEF retorts AALF‘s claims directly by stating that UT’s individualized review allows for the consideration of many other indicators of a disadvantaged background that benefit subgroups that are frequently hidden by the aggregation of data into a single “Asian” category. AALDEF also cites supportive statistics.

Some have argued that diversity of thought within any group indicates growth. The fact that arguments on racial policies will no longer circulate only around considering the effects on white versus non-white populations shows that the APA community is beginning to change how policy effects on a populous will be analyzed. In due time, nine justices on the high court will determine which APA organization’s arguments contain more persuasive substance, ultimately effecting APA public university applicants all around the country.

— K.J. Bagchi

Asian American Cultural Politics Across Platforms

Editor’s Note: The below is from our friends at Amerasia Journal, a journal of the UCLA AASC.

Asian American Cultural Politics Across Platforms

Guest Editors:
Professor Victor Bascara (UCLA) and Professor Lisa Nakamura (University of Michigan)

Publication Date:
Summer 2014

Due Date:
Paper submissions (up to 5,000 words) due July 1, 2013.

CFP Available Online:


This special issue focuses on the relationship between technology, new social movements, and Asian American cultural politics. One of the central early insights of cultural studies has been the recognition of cultural politics beyond aesthetic culture, narrowly understood. While literature has long been turned to for symptomatic readings, a growing body of recent work in Asian American cultural studies has read everything from visual art, new/old media, music, dance, and performance to legal and political discourse, the spectacle of bodies in protest, infrastructures of deindustrialized cities, and diasporic networks that have emerged under neoliberal globalization.

This special issue seeks papers of approximately 5,000 words in length that examine the diverse and platform-crossing manifestations of Asian American cultural politics. We especially welcome interdisciplinary and teachable writings that appreciate the significance of platform-crossing cultural production to adopt for courses ranging from literary studies to communications to performance to film and popular culture as well as Asian American Studies and Ethnic Studies. The deadline for submission is July 1, 2013.

Submission Guidelines:
The review process involves the following steps. The guest editors, in consultation with the Amerasia Journal editors and peer reviewers, make decisions on the final essays:

  • Initial review of submitted papers by guest editors and Amerasia Journal editorial staff
  • Papers approved by editors will undergo blind peer review
  • Revision of accepted peer-reviewed papers and final submission

Please send papers and correspondence to Arnold Pan, Associate Editor, Amerasia Journal at arnoldpan@ucla.edu, by July 1, 2013.

White House Initiative On Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Comes To Houston On February 23

On Saturday, February 23rd, the Texas Asian American & Pacific Islander community and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders invite you to attend the Texas Regional Conference at the University of Houston‘s main campus. This free, first-of-its-kind conference will be a unique and valuable opportunity for the Texas AAPI community to interface with the White House and federal agencies to learn about federal programs and potential policy developments, leverage resources, develop solutions to address AAPI concerns, and bring together people from all across Texas together to collaborate on empowering our community.

In addition to connecting with federal resources, this is an opportunity for community members and leaders throughout the entire state to gather in one place and discuss ways to collaborate, share resources, and maintain communication.

The morning will feature speakers including Kiran Ahuja, the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders, and a keynote from Chris Lu, Cabinet Secretary and Special Adviser to President Obama. Lunch will be provided (vegetarian options included), followed by breakout sessions addressing specific topics, including Economic Development, Healthcare, Civil Rights, Immigration, Education, Housing, Senior Issues (Social Security, Medicare, housing, etc.), Labor/Employment, and more. These breakout sessions will feature staff from local federal agency offices that can help directly address specific issues or problems, as well as featured local speakers from the community. The agencies will also provide information on federal job and internship opportunities for students.

Participation is free and open, but online registration is required.

2013 ECAASU Conference

2013 ECAASU Conference logo

The 2013 ECAASU Conference is coming to Columbia University Feb 22-24! It’s the 25th annual conference for college students interested in organizing for the AAPI community and to have a great time meeting fellow organizers and plain good fun. EECASU’s programming mirrors the AAA Fund’s focus on empowering the Asian American community to participate in politics by featuring workshops that discuss and explore the paramount issues Asian Americans face today.

Conference: 2013 East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU)
Location: Columbia University, NYC
Date: February 22-24, 2013

ECAASU is a national, nonprofit APIA advocacy organization that holds the largest & oldest conference in the country for Asian American students. This year, our fantastic guest lineup includes:

Performers: JASON CHEN, DAVID SO, CLARA C, Ellen Kim & Aye Hasegawa, Taiyo Na & Magnetic North, iLL-Literacy, Funkanometry NYC

Speakers: NORMAN MINETA, RICHARD LUI, Mia Mingus, Gregory Cendana, Dilawar Syed, Curtis Chin

In addition, EECASU features 45+ workshops covering topics such as LGBTQA, the DREAM act, Remembering Danny Chen, the Model Minority Myth, the Bamboo Ceiling, and more (full list on website).

February 1 is the deadline for regular registration ($75). February 14 is the deadline for late registration. Register at www.ecaasu2013.org. Learn more information at our Facebook page.

2013 ECAASU Conference logo