12/12/2017

Our Media Vision for 2017

Asian Americans in media
For 11 years, we the blogteam and now the social media team have written 4000+ articles here. We’re the leading generator of AAPI progressive news & befriended many throughout AAPI media (including AsAmNews, NBC Asian America, Asian Journal, Hyphen Magazine, et al). After 100s of job postings, press releases, explainers, annual topic campaigns, reposting our friends’ news, and events (ours and others), we’re growing our coverage for this new era to include AAPI dialogue about this new hateful era. Staff pieces like our Executive Director’s call to arms, our former Endorsements Chair’s path to power, our Executive Editor’s fightback manual, etc. give us direction and advance our cause.

For 17 years, AAAFund, our parent organization, has empowered AAPI in public life, brought victory to ever more progressive AAPI running for office, and proudly given AAPI a voice of which to be proud. Our mission leans progressive & grows steadily in scope (our whole media effort didn’t even much exist 1y ago) and funding. We enter a Trumpian era which will erode our civil rights thus we fight back. We’ll make every effort from fundraising to media to networking to grassroots/campaign volunteering to identify, publicize, oppose, and defeat all threats to our community. We’ve great relationships with all the best organizations to do our best work ahead, together, in unity, with purpose, never tiring.

Join us, write us with your ideas for what you and we can do together this Trumpian era. Our ideas include:

  • We applied to do a workshop at ECAASU. We’re very excited to advance/push the discussion with a famously involved and aware group. It’s precisely the sort of advancement we need to continue winning elections (record-setting number of AAPIs won 2016 elections) and empowering all AAPI. Topics will include
    • AAPI relations to affiliated groups like environmental, racial, economic, social justice, foreign affairs, etc.
    • AAPI-originated/intra-AAPI racism, best left for AAPI to discuss as its our problem requiring our solving
    • DNC failings/shortcomings and where we can direct efforts
    • our own community’s historical weaknesses and failures – surely tons of such has been said over the years in private, let’s get them shared, vetted, actioned; tops is why AAPI don’t get more involved beyond preaching to the choir and how to motivate the choir
    • our history – gets at why AAPIs need to be involved
  • lies AAPI believe (see below)
  • give us your feedback by commenting below

A foremost example of these ideas is coverage of why some AAPI voted Trump. We invite such folk to tell us why. Articles like this and this tell the story so we’ll write about how to defeat mis-guided AAPI beliefs.

Let’s do this together!

In defense of libraries, now targets of hate crimes

As a child, I spent many hours growing up in the library, nestled in the safety and security of kind librarians and a plethora of books. I took great comfort in being able to explore the range of Greek and Norse myths, science fiction, and Sweet Valley High. Libraries were a great refuge growing up since my parents were and are working class, and I could never hope to own all the books that I voraciously read.

Libraries have been under attack for costing too much, even as they have transformed from simple centers of learning and education to community centers (some of which house makerbot centers as well.) They have learned to stay nimble and offer ESL classes, job placement, and community movie nights on top of traditional author readings. At my hometown library, immigrant families gathered on the weekends and then spread out to gather their individual spheres of knowledge. Outside of work and home, they are some of our strongest community gathering places and safe spaces for families and young people. Libraries now stock graphic novels, cds, video games, and the like to attract youth. The central downtown library even houses a recording studio in its basement.

This is why it’s highly disturbing that instigators of hate crimes have chosen to target libraries for hate crimes. From defacing public copies of the Quran with swastikas to individuals wearing hijabs being harassed inside, libraries and what they stand for are increasingly under assault. In NYC, libraries are some of the main application centers for the municipal ID program that provides undocumented New Yorkers (and many hipsters seeking museum discounts) with badly needed government identification. In general, libraries are diverse microcosms of our communities.

“In the last year, we have had startling increases in the number of hate crimes,” Julie Todaro, president of the American Library Association, said in an interview last week.

“I am stunned that I have seven or eight examples, because we have never had these kinds of crimes before in libraries,” she said. “We are in an increasingly difficult situation, because the communities are as divided as they have ever been.” (NYTimes)

Libraries and librarians provide publicly accessible knowledge and serve as safe spaces. They stand for free learning and community building. It is worth remembering that librarians and the American Library Association were one of the main opponents of the PATRIOT Act, because of the provision that libraries had to turn over lists of patrons and their reading habits. Those who seek to attack libraries are not just seeking to disrupt safety and community, but also are attacking learning and freedom of thought.

–Caroline

2016 DNCC Platform for AAPIs

Yesterday, the Democratic National Convention issued a draft of the 2016 Democratic Party Platform (Draft). We quote the sections relevant to the AAPI community so you can tell your elected officials which helps our goal of increasing AAPI progressive political involvement.

draft watermark repeating

DNC Draft Platform

Create Good-Paying Jobs

Youth Jobs

Democrats will create millions of jobs for our young people. Roughly one in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 is unemployed, more than twice the national average. The unemployment rates for African American, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), and American Indian teenagers are far too high. That is why Democrats will provide direct federal funding for a range of local programs that will put young people to work and create new career opportunities.

Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Create Ladders of Opportunity

Racial Wealth Gap

America’s economic inequality problem is even more pronounced when it comes to racial and ethnic disparities in wealth and income. It is unacceptable that the median wealth for white Americans is roughly ten times that of African Americans and Latino Americans. These disparities are just as stark for American Indians and certain Asian American subgroups. The racial and ethnic gap in wealth and income has been created by historical and contemporary policies and practices that discriminate against people of color and constrained their ability to earn income and build assets to the same extent as other Americans.

This economic disadvantage has accumulated over time and is made worse by ongoing discrimination. For example, as a result of the housing crisis and the great recession, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans lost more than half of their net worth. And these losses were compounded by the fact that during the subprime mortgage crisis lenders targeted communities of color for faulty mortgages.

Democrats believe it is long past time to close this racial wealth gap by eliminating systemic barriers to wealth accumulation for different racial groups and improving opportunities for people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds to build wealth.

Criminal Justice

Democrats are committed to reforming our criminal justice system and ending mass incarceration. Something is profoundly wrong when a quarter of the world’s prison population is in the United States, even though we have less than five percent of the world’s people. We will reform mandatory minimum sentences and close private prisons and detention centers. We will rebuild the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Across the country, there are many police officers who inspire trust and confidence, deploying creative and effective strategies, and demonstrating that it is possible to reduce crime without relying on unnecessary force. We should learn from those examples and build on what works.

We will invest in training for officers on issues such as de-escalation and the appropriate use of force, and encourage better police-community relations and the use of smart strategies like police body cameras. We will end racial profiling that targets individuals, based solely on race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin, which is un-American and counterproductive. We support states and localities that choose to make the investigations and prosecutions of police-involved shootings more independent and transparent, including through reforming the grand jury process. And we will explore reforms of the civil asset forfeiture system. Instead of investing in more jails and incarceration, we need to provide greater investment in jobs and education, and end to the school-to-prison pipeline. We will remove barriers to help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully re-enter society by banning the box, expanding reentry programs, and restoring voting rights. We will prioritize treatment over incarceration in tackling addiction and substance use disorder. This means significantly expanding treatment in this country for people struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

We have been inspired by the movements for criminal justice that directly address the discriminatory treatment of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians to rebuild trust in the criminal justice system.

Provide Quality and Affordable Education

Minority-Serving Institutions

We will strengthen our nation’s public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions, and other minority-serving institutions by providing a dedicated fund of tens of billions of dollars to keep costs down, provide a quality education, and provide dedicated support to improve student outcomes and completion rates. These schools play an important role in building opportunity and creating a diverse workforce.

Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans

Democrats believe that it is not right that your zip code or census tract is a predictor of your health, which is why we will make health equity a central part of our commitment to revitalizing communities left behind. Democrats believe that all health care services should be culturally and linguistically appropriate. And we should disaggregate data collection for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders because data disaggregation is a necessary step in fully understanding the needs of the AAPI community for all government services.

Immigration

Immigration is not a problem to be solved, it is a defining aspect of the American character and history. We must defend against those who would exclude or eliminate legal immigration avenues and denigrate immigrants.

Foreign Affairs

Asia-Pacific

From the Asia Pacific to the Indian Ocean, we will deepen our alliances in the region with Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand.

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!

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