So much of the language we have around activism is militaristic, but if our struggle is going to last, it must center the relational ties that have sustained our communities from the very beginning.
The time is now. We cannot be caught sitting on the sidelines. Solidarity statements, while symbolically valuable, ultimately miss the point. The Black struggle is our struggle. Everything we have collectively learned about race and capitalism tells us our struggles are inextricably connected.
Asian Americans have been brought to the forefront of the news because of Harvard’s Affirmative Action case and the Asian American community has been divided about how to approach the issue. Some groups argue that Asian Americans have been systematically discriminated against because of racial quotas.
We owe a lot to Yick Wo. By we, I mean Asians living in the United States, whether we’re citizens or not. And by Yick Wo, I mean the man who went to jail for running a laundromat in a wooden building.
I’m currently being trained as a Christian social ethicist in a doctoral program. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far is that although Christians often assume we “already know” how to discern right from wrong making ethical choices is more complicated than we think.
Over 20 years ago, as a freshly minted lawyer at what was then known as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, I was fortunate to work on a landmark case under the mentorship of Julie Su, representing 80 Thai workers who had been enslaved behind barbed wire in an El Monte sweatshop and forced to sew garments for some of the nation’s leading manufacturers and retailers.
In 2011, I found myself having to defend the argument that race still matters while attending one of the most ethnically diverse evangelical seminaries in the nation. Don’t get me wrong: Students and faculty alike openly discussed ethnic and cultural differences. And although all were unanimous that racism was bad and diversity was good, when it came to more explicit discussions of institutionalized racism or white supremacy, there tended to be choirs of crickets.
I was in sixth grade when the killing of Latasha Harlins became national news. Latasha Harlins was a 15-year-old Black teenager who went to a Korean-owned liquor store in South Central, Los Angeles, to buy some orange juice.
SOMETHING IN ME broke when I heard about Eric Garner. As I watched the cell phone footage of police officer Eric Pantaleo choking the life out of him, it was like I was watching a summary of America's relationship with Black people.
"OVER THESE PAST couple of years, thinking about Ferguson and learning terms like 'white supremacy' have changed the way I interact with my parents."
The day they crowned you King of the Jews was a day of mockery
MY INITIAL REACTION to the 2014 film “Selma” was one of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong — the casting and acting were top notch, the cinematography was beautiful, and I was definitely moved to tears in certain scenes.
A photo was taken of me with my sign, which had a message directed towards the Asian American students at UCSD. I didn’t know then how much this message would resonate with people, both in the Asian American and Black communities — until I woke up the next morning and saw this photo was being shared by thousands of people on social media.