October 31, 2014

Ferguson riots

[Written August 11th. This is as much an update for friends and family as it is a perspective from someone who is new to town.]

So I moved to St. Louis 6 weeks ago. Been out of town for about 3 of those weeks. Let’s count it as 3 weeks on the ground. Everyone is very friendly, strangers talk to you on the street. My A/C broke and my neighbors who I had only ever met once before offered me the use of both of their fans. (We only needed one for the bedroom.) Then I bumped into a new neighbor whom I had never met, and she offered to lend me her fans. Overall, St. Louis is great.

Everyone talked about the racial divide, the Delmar divide. We saw glimpses of it here and there. Fireworks in Forest Park and the 2 separate stops for folks coming from the East side and the West side. White and black divided by railcars moving in different directions. I was in Los Angeles, the site of racial riots in 1992, this weekend for the OCA convention when the Mike Brown shooting happened. Picking me up from the airport this weekend there was a police blockade. Now the cops are throwing tear gas bombs in Ferguson and shooting rubber bullets. My AFLCIO coworkers were at the FTAA in Miami in 2003 when they got shot with rubber bullets. They hurt. And actually were moved off the non-lethal list of weaponry. Last night a Walmart was looted and a gas station went up in flames. This is real and this is live. Here’s a good article about why Ferguson, why riots: http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/relationships-and-special-occasions/parenting/aisha-sultan/why-ferguson-burned-explaining-st-louis-area-riot-to-kids/article_725f501f-ba21-538a-acaf-f00221add91d.html

Brown’s own family members have said the destruction in their hometown is salt in their wounds. When peaceful protests turn to a city’s self immolation, there is no justice for anyone. What’s left is a community used to being unheard, roiling in the wake of a deadly police shooting. A powder keg of unemployment and poverty, of neglect and frustration, and those willing to exploit a tragedy for personal gain.

–Caroline

Feb 20: National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout

Editor’s Note: Below is a reposting of “National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout: February 20“. We’ve also Re-tweeted a lot about this event! Re-tweet with us.

Please join the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), as well as government, civic and business leaders from across the country on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 3 PM ET for our National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout!

Building on key topics highlighted in President Obama’s State of the Union address, we’ll discuss national priorities for AAPI communities and launch a drive to engage the AAPI community. We’ll also announce new efforts we’re working on with our partners around critical issues facing the AAPI community.

White House and Administration officials will talk about what we’ve learned and done nationally, and our next steps. Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, will announce this year’s AAPI Heritage Month theme. And, most importantly, we’ll have an opportunity to hear from people like you.

You can submit questions anytime on Twitter using #WHIAAPI, email them to WhiteHouseAAPI@ed.gov, or submit them on Google+ before or during the Hangout, but the inaugural National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout depends on your thoughtful participation, so please sign-up and join the conversation.

NATIONAL AAPI COMMUNITY GOOGLE+ HANGOUT

Hosted by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

DATE:      Thursday, February 20, 2014
TIME:      3 p.m. ET (12 noon PT)
LINK:      http://bit.ly/AAPIGoogleHangout

Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.


Editor’s Note: Below is more about this special & important event from our friends at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.” Note that Education Secretary Arne Duncan and WH AAPI Initiative director Kiran Ahuja will deliver remarks and talk with students at the East Coast Asian American Student Union’s (ECAASU) 2014 Conference in Washington on Friday discussing several of the points below while encouraging students to pursue mission-oriented work.

White House Initiative
on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY, FEB. 20, 2014
CONTACT: Rebecca Lee at 202-245-6353 or rebecca.lee@ed.gov

WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE ON ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS TO EXPAND ON PROGRESS MADE

Federal Officials Announce New Efforts to Expand Opportunities for AAPIs on Community Google+ Hangout

WASHINGTON – Building on themes outlined in President Obama‘s State of the Union address to Congress last month, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Executive Director Kiran Ahuja today announced new plans to expand opportunities at the national level and increase community engagement at the local level.

Joined by federal officials and community members across the country on a Google+ Hangout held today, Ahuja outlined key elements of a regional strategy designed to build upon the Initiative’s success over the past four years improving access to services and protections for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country.

Officials on the Hangout also highlighted activities the Initiative is taking, including a comprehensive report on what federal agencies have accomplished to increase access for AAPIs, the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), a call for proposals to leverage the skills and talents of people across the country with the Initiative, and the official theme of this year’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May.

Ahuja said the Initiative is providing the building blocks toward accessible education, affordable health care, and secure retirements for all. And that they are building on what they’ve learned and done nationally and offering new ideas to meet the demands of the nation’s fastest growing demographic.

“A better America is possible, one with policies that strengthen us and a government that serves all of us, including the AAPI community” said Ahuja. “We’re reinforcing relationships, forging coalitions, bolstering institutions and the capacity of community based organizations in order to ensure the federal government better serves us all.”

Regional Working Groups

On the Hangout, Ahuja said regional interagency working groups of officials representing more than 20 federal agencies and sub-agencies have been formed and trained to work with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

Regional working groups in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles have already hit the ground running. In the last few months, they heard directly from community members about their challenges and have started to demystify the work of the federal government and its programs and services and create new partnerships with community leaders.

Federal Agency Feedback

On the Hangout, officials released a comprehensive plan and report of what each federal agency will do and has done to improve and expand access of AAPIs to resources this year. The policies represent the federal government’s commitment to increasing access to services for the AAPI community, with an emphasis on four priority areas: data disaggregation, language access, workforce diversity and capacity building.

To solicit feedback on the plans, the Initiative launched an interactive module where the public can “like” specific aspects of each plan and make comments about particular activities.. The feedback module will be open until March 31, 2014 and can be found on aapi.ideascale.com.

Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions

To meet President Obama’s goal of having America produce the highest proportion of college graduates in the world once again by the year 2020, actor Maulik Pancholy said on the Hangout that there should be a focus on underserved students in the nation’s fastest growing demographic, many of whom also have the lowest rates of college attainment.

Pancholy announced the Initiative’s #AANAPISIstory campaign on the Hangout, which seeks to raise awareness about Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), the educational institutions that provide culturally relevant services and have high AAPI populations, to help meet President’s Obama’s 2020 goal.

Using #AANAPISIstory on social media platforms, the Initiative will collect stories in the form of photos, videos and writing about what AANAPISIs mean to members of the AAPI community. To share a story and learn more about AANAPISIs, please visit bit.ly/AANAPISI.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

During the Hangout, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center director Konrad Ng announced its theme for this year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May: “I Am Beyond.”

“This year’s theme captures how AAPIs have met challenges and excelled beyond them in shaping the nation,” said Ng. ” ‘I am Beyond’ recognizes the depth, breadth and richness of America’s Asian Pacific heritage.”

Ng said the Center is inviting organizations, individuals and communities across the country to join the commemoration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and share their interpretation of the theme over social media using #IAMBEYOND. Visit www.apa.si.edu soon for more information. Expressions can include, but are not limited to, visual art, literary work, or multimedia. The theme aims to enrich the appreciation of the Asian American and Pacific Islander contributions to the American story.

About the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

On October 14, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Executive Order reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Initiative). The Initiative, chaired by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and led by Executive Director Kiran Ahuja, is housed within the U.S. Department of Education. The Initiative works to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by facilitating increased access to and participation in federal programs where they remain underserved.

The Initiative seeks to highlight both the tremendous unmet needs in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities as well as the dynamic community assets that can be leveraged to meet many of those needs. The Initiative focuses on crosscutting priority areas that may reach across all issue areas and agencies, including, for example, advancing research, data collection, analysis and dissemination for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and ensuring access, especially linguistic access and cultural competence, for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and encouraging Asian American and Pacific Islander involvement in public service and civic engagement opportunities.

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**NOTE: To learn more about the Initiative, visit www.whitehouse.gov/aapi. A recording of the Google+ Hangout can be accessed at bit.ly/AAPIGoogleHangout.**

Asian American GOTV w/ McAuliffe, Northam, Herring

Editor’s Note: The below is from our friends at their Virginia campaigns. We encourage our readers to participate in these GOTV efforts as they advance our core purpose, to advance Asian American participation in US politics at all levels.

Asian American GOTV Rally with Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herring on Friday, 11/1, 6:30pm – 7:30pm. We’ll be at Delegate Mark Keam’s Office, 1952 Gallows Road, Vienna, VA, 22182.

We’re also having a special luncheon with Belkis Leong-Hong, Chairwoman of the DNC’s AAPI Caucus on Sunday, 11/3, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM over at Dragonfly Bistro at 13840 Braddock Road, Suite F, Centreville, VA 20121. Dunn Loring is closest Metro.

Can you make it to one of these events? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll contact you! We’re so happy to have the community on our side. Note if you drive or need ride.
Saturday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m., 4 p.m.
Monday, Nov, 4, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov 5, 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.

We just released our third campaign video (shown above). Feel free to share with folks you know who can vote for us in District 67.

We’ve created an Event in our Facebook Group.

OTHER EVENTS:

FRIDAY: We’re having an Asian American GOTV Rally with Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herring on Friday, 11/1, 6:30pm – 7:30pm. Delegate Mark Keam’s Office, 1952 Gallows Road, Vienna, VA, 22182.

HUNG NGUYEN EVENT: We’re also having a special luncheon with Belkis Leong-Hong, Chairwoman of the DNC’s AAPI Caucus on Sunday, 11/3, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM over at Dragonfly Bistro at 13840 Braddock Road, Suite F, Centreville, VA 20121.

Question of the Day: Supreme Asian Am Candidates

If a US Supreme Court retires in President Obama’s second term, which Asian American leaders could be among the leading contenders for the seat? (Hint: two of them live in California.)

— Gautam Dutta

AAA-Fund Endorses Aneesh Chopra for VA Lt. Gov.

Editor’s Note: Aneesh lost 54-45. Aneesh looks forward to working with Sen. Northram in November.

AAAF logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gautam Dutta (202) 236-2048

AAA-Fund Endorses Aneesh Chopra for Lieutenant Governor

Asian Pacific American PAC Touts Unprecedented Opportunity to Elect First Asian American to Statewide Office in Virginia History

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Asian American Action Fund today endorsed Aneesh Chopra for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. If elected, Chopra would be the first Asian American elected statewide in Virginia.

AAA-Fund Executive Director Gautam Dutta said, “Virginia has become a battleground state due to an influx of minority communities now making their home there. Aneesh’s background as the secretary of technology to Governor Tim Kaine and as the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer under President Obama makes him an ideal candidate to strengthen Virginia’s middle class through his emphasis on innovation, technology and education. AAA-Fund is pleased to lend our strong support to his historic candidacy.”

 

AAA-Fund is a Democratic PAC with local chapters across the country devoted to strengthening the participation of Asian Pacific Americans in the political process.

 

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The AAA-Fund is a Democratic political action committee whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Pacific Americans (APA) on every level of local, state and federal government in America. To achieve this goal, we address the chronic under-representation of APAs as campaign volunteers, campaign contributors, and candidates for political office. The AAA-Fund has endorsed candidates across the country. For more information, go to aaa-fund.org and read our award-winning blog.

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

AAA-Fund Endorses Mike Honda for Congress

AAAF logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gautam Dutta, Esq. (415) 236-2048; Dutta@BusinessandElectionLaw.com

WASHINGTON, DC, April 9, 2013—Asian American Action Fund (AAA-Fund) endorsed the re-election campaign of California Congressmember Mike Honda.

Mike Honda currently represents California’s 17th Congressional District (North San Jose, Fremont, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas, and Newark), and has served in Congress since 2001. In addition to sitting on the House Committee on Appropriations, Congressman Honda spearheaded the Wireless Task Force and co-chairs the Democratic Caucus New Media Working Group.

Gautam Dutta, AAA-Fund’s Executive Director, praised Congressmember Honda’s strong record of leadership:  “We’re thrilled to endorse Congressman Honda.  For the past 12 years, Congressman Honda has united the entire Asian American community, and given a powerful voice to Asian Americans, Silicon Valley, and the community-at-large.”

Former Sunnyvale Mayor and AAA-Fund Board member Otto Lee added:  “Throughout his career, Congressman Honda has selflessly mentored many of our community’s rising leaders, including newly elected Congressmember Ami Bera, the third South Asian to serve in Congress.”

Congressman Honda’s commitment to public service is unwavering.  He joined the Peace Corps when he was 24 years old and, thereafter, was an educator in the public school system for about 30 years.  His lifelong dedication to social justice, fighting racism and expanding equal opportunity for all stems from his experiences in internment camp as a Japanese American during his early childhood.

“Today, as Congress debates immigration reform, Congressman Honda leads his colleagues on the issue of reuniting families – one of the greatest concerns for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” Dutta added.

Congressman Honda shares his leadership on issues affecting today’s latest technologies with his longstanding leadership of the Asian American community on immigration, civil rights, and education. He now serves as Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).

AAA-Fund is a Democratic political action committee whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) on every level of local, state and federal government in America. To achieve this goal, we address the chronic under-representation of AAPIs as campaign volunteers, campaign contributors, and candidates for political office. AAA-Fund has endorsed candidates across the country.

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March 28: Get Updates from Washington on Immigration Reform and How AAPI Communities Can Impact Current Debate

“How ‘You’ Can Influence Immigration Reform: A Webinar on CIR 2013 for AAPI Communities”

Hosted by: Asian American Center for Advancing Justice and National Council of Asian Pacific Americans
When: Thursday, March 28, 2013, 10 AM PST/1 PM EST
RSVP Requiredhttp://bit.ly/15Nx66p

The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans invite you to join an important discussion on comprehensive immigration reform via webinar on Thursday, March 28 at 10am Pacific/1 pm Eastern. Get up to speed on the latest legislative developments in Washington DC and how CIR would impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders around the country. More importantly, find out what your organization can do NOW to make sure AAPI voices and perspectives are shaping the immigration debate and solutions! This is the time to make our voices heard; please join us for this important discussion.

Please fill in the information here by 8pm EST on March 27th. Participation is limited. There will be a call-in option for those who wish to dial in by phone. Instructions for joining the teleconference/webinar will be sent only to those individuals who RSVP. We look forward to connecting with you on March 28th!

March 24, 26: AAAF-Chicago Events for April 9 Municipal Election

Asian American Action Fund of Greater Chicago logo

Dear AAAF-CG Friends,

One of our goals is to identify qualified Democratic candidates, to provide them with financial and technical assistance, and to build a local network of activists, funders, and supporters. Please join us and support Asian Americans running for offices on April 4.

Asian American Action Fund of Greater Chicago logo
Event #1

Asian American Municipal Candidates’ Rally!
Supporting Asian Americans for the April 9th Municipal Elections!
When: Sunday, March 24th
3:00p – 5:00pm

Where: Holiday Inn, 5300 W. Touhy Avenue, Skokie

Admission: FREE

Suggested donation of $50 or more is greatly appreciated – donations will go toward funding the endorsed candidates.

Come mix and mingle with the AAAF-GC endorsed candidates for Skokie and other suburban races!

For details, email info@aaafgc.com.

Asian American Action Fund of Greater Chicago logo
Event #2

AAAF-GC Operation Skokie!
Every vote Counts – Get out the Asian American vote!

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities: phone banking-door knocking & networking

Tuesday, March 26th – 6:00p – 8:00p
Phone Bank in Skokie

Sunday, March 31st – 1:00p – 4:00p (meet at 12:45p)
Door Knocking in Skokie

Tuesday, April 2nd – 6:00p – 8:00p
Phone Bank in Skokie
Sunday, April 7th – 1:00p – 4:00p (meet at 12:45p)
Door Knocking in Skokie
Tuesday, April 9th (ELECTION DAY)
ALL DAY
Multiple opportunities

Where: Volunteering activities meeting location:
3716 W. Dempster, Skokie (Skokie Caucus Party Office)

Why Skokie?

Skokie is a great community for Asian Americans and immigrants – diverse & inclusive. Asian Americans are already engaged in the community through various civic activities, including the Skokie Festival of Cultures. There are two Asian Americans are elected officials in Skokie: Trustee Pramod Shah and Park District Commissioner Jerry Clarito.

On April 4, Pramod Shah is running for Clerk as a slated candidate of the Skokie Caucus Party. Support Pramod and Skokie Caucus Party to get the Asian Americans out to vote! Every vote COUNTS so let’s engage our people.

Skokie facts:
64,784 residents in Skokie — 28.6% are Asian Americans.
South Asians: 4,283
Filipinos: 4,505
Koreans: 1,771
Chinese: 1,575
Vietnamese: 717
Japanese: 304
Others: 3,394

33,000 Skokie residents are registered voters.
10% of the registered voters are Asian Americans. (3,400).

Turnout is traditionally very low in municipal elections. Only 16% (4,800) to 22% (6,600) of registered voters voted in the past few Municipal election cycles in Skokie.

According to the 2010 Census, there are at least 2 precincts in Skokie with Asian American population of over 35%.

We hope to see you at our events! Network and do good for our community.

For details, email info@aaafgc.com.

The mission of the Asian American Action Fund of Greater Chicago (AAAF-GC) is to encourage Asian Pacific American (APA) Democrats to participate in the political process and to empower the APA community to address the under-representation of APAs in the political life of the Greater Chicago area.

Question of the Week: Lobbyists

Does it make sense for cities spend money on lobbyists?

— Gautam Dutta