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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

October 6, 2010

Written by C.N.

Links & Announcements #31

Here are some more announcements and links out that have come my way relating to Asians or Asian Americans. As always, links to other sites are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of their contents.

Mochi Magazine: Empowering Asian American Girls

Mochi Magazine is a new online magazine specifically for Asian American teen girls! . . . Society has come a long way in its representation of Asians, but we still have a ways to go. Even today, Asian representation in film mostly consists of martial arts flicks with the same actors, and the Asian American identity is completely overlooked.

However, coming to terms with “Asian American” – the convergence despite all odds of two or more vastly different cultures – can be more difficult than learning our parents’ mother tongues or Tae Kwon Do. “Asian American,” in fact, is an identity apart from the terms “Asian” and “American” – it is the space between the two words that we struggle with. . . . We envisioned Mochi as the older sister you never had, who could answer all of those simple but essential fashion and beauty questions. We imagined a supportive resource in the exploration of Asian American identities. At the very least, we hoped that Mochi would serve as a good conversation starter. . . .

What was once a mere idea is now a full-fledged publication with over forty talented and passionate staff members. In witnessing the growth of Mochi, we have learned a lot about you – ambitious, smart, multi-talented and curious girls – and, consequently, ourselves. And as Mochi continues to grow and reach out to more girls like you, we hope to keep learning.

Asian American Women in Leadership Conference

Asian Sister Participating in Reaching Excellence (ASPIRE) is pleased to present the 2010 Asian American Women In Leadership (AAWIL) Conference on October 16th, 2010 celebrating the theme of “Discovering the Leader Within.”

The 2010 AAWIL Conference aims to encourage attendees to explore, learn, and flourish. This conference will challenge and support Asian American women to take a leap. Speakers will share their experiences on how they were able to discover themselves through new inspirations and experiences which allowed for change in their lives.

The Asian American Women in Leadership (AAWIL) Conference was started to set forth strategic dialogue on the importance of leadership for Asian American girls and women. Specifically, the conference is designed to: explore various aspects of leadership, particularly as it relates to Asian American women, evaluate the effectiveness of different leadership skills and styles, energize and equip attendees to seek out future leadership opportunities, create cross-generational networks among attendees that will extend discussions and relationships beyond the scope of the conference, and raise awareness about ASPIRE, its missions and value to Asian American girls and women. It is also the only conference for Asian American women of all ages on the east coast. Historically, our audience has ranged from high school students to professionals in their mid 30s. So far, we have been able to attract 150-200 attendees every year.

This year, the conference theme is “Discovering the Leader Within.” It will build upon last year’s theme of “Fearless Leadership: Taking Charge with Confidence” and aims to encourage attendees to explore, learn, and flourish. The conference will be held on October 16th, 2010 at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. All the information can be found online.

Volunteers Needed for Voting Rights Monitoring

Asian American Election Protection and Poll Monitoring: Defending Asian American Voting Rights

General Elections — Tuesday, November 2, 2010. In past elections, Asian Americans have faced a series of barriers in exercising their right to vote. For example, poll workers were hostile and made racist remarks, poll sites had too few interpreters to assist Asian American voters, translated voting materials were missing or hidden from voters, and ballots were mistranslated listing Democratic candidates as Republicans, and vice versa. When the news media reported on election returns and the vote by specific groups, Asian Americans were often overlooked.

In response, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has conducted a non-partisan survey of Asian American voters to document Asian American voting patterns. AALDEF has also monitored the elections for compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act, which mandates bilingual ballots and forbids anti-Asian voter discrimination.

On November 2, 2010, AALDEF and several other Asian American groups will be monitoring the elections and conducting non-partisan voter surveys at polling sites in Asian American neighborhoods in at least ten states. We need your help.

In 2008, over 1,000 volunteers polled more than 16,000 Asian American voters in eleven states. Volunteers are needed to administer a multilingual voter survey in 3-hour shifts and document voting problems on Election Day. Polls are generally open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. There will be a one and a half hour training session for all volunteers. All volunteers must be non-partisan during the time that they help. To sign up, go to www.aaldef.net. Thank you!

For more information, contact:
Irene Jeon
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
99 Hudson Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10013
800-966-5946
info@aaldef.org

Call for Papers: Asian American Literature & Food

Asian American Literature: Discourses and Pedagogies
Special Issue on “Teaching Food and Foodways in Asian American Literature and Popular Culture”
Special Issue Guest Editor, Eileen Chia-Ching Fung

The topic of food has been a significant cultural icon for Asian American literature, films and other popular cultural venues and has gained increasing visibility in the mainstream publishing market and public media in recent years. This special issue invites scholars and writers to discuss how to approach teaching food and foodways within the contexts of Asian American literary, film, and cultural studies.

While the tropes of food and eating engage in complex sets of negotiations of individual, familial and communal definitions, they also invoke questions about Orientalism, internalized colonialism, commodification, and consumption. This issue aims to explore the social, political, and cultural paradigms generated by Asian American food narratives. We are especially interested in pedagogical works that explore ways to teach food writing, media representation, and popular culture about food.

These are some suggested questions and themes:

  • What are some characteristics and narrative strategies of Asian American food writings?
  • How does one teach analyses of eating and cooking as Asian American literary tropes?
  • How can one incorporate Asian American food memoirs, cookbooks or food shows as part of the Asian American Studies discourse and/or Asian American cultural studies curriculum?
  • What is the relationship between Asian American food texts and other American food narratives?
  • How do race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality shape food writing?
  • How can we explore themes of food tourism, food ethnography, food pornography, and food colonialism?
  • How does one offer critical readings and pedagogical strategies of teaching Asian/Asian American food writers, cooks, articles, or celebrities in multi-media including films, television, internet (i.e. blogs), and other public spaces?

All articles must be under 10,000 words, with a preference for shorter articles of 2,000-7,000 words. Please follow the most current MLA format. Inquiries for this Special Issue may be addressed to Dr. Eileen Chia-Ching Fung at fung@usfca.edu. Full final articles must be submitted by October 15, 2010 to http://onlinejournals.sjsu.edu/index.php/AALDP/index.


September 2, 2009

Written by C.N.

Miscellaneous Links #15

Here are some more announcements and links out that have come my way relating to Asians or Asian Americans. As always, links to other sites are provided for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply an endorsement of their contents:

Alaska Native, American Indian, Native Hawaiian Writing Competition

The Alaska Federation of Natives, in partnership with the National Congress of American Indians and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, has launched “Native Insight: Thoughts on Recession, Recovery & Opportunity,” a writing competition designed to encourage Native Americans to share their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in the current economic and political landscape.

The competition is open to Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and American Indians of all ages. Deadline: September 15, 2009. Award Amount: $10,000.

East-West Magazine Cover Design Contest

East West Magazine, the premiere lifestyle magazine focusing on celebrating the cultural experiences of Asian, South Asian, and Middle Eastern Americans, is getting ready to re-launch into a print issue this fall.

We’re holding a cover design contest, where artists can create a work of art that answers the questions “What is your interpretation of East West today” and “What does the merging of cultures look like to you?” The art can take any form, as long as it’s not black and white, and will be featured as our magazine cover.

The deadline for submissions is August 31. More information is available at http://eastwestmagazine.com/east-west-exhibit/east-west-exhibit

Ensuring Voting Rights: Volunteers Needed

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Volunteers Needed for Asian American Election Protection and Poll Monitoring and Defending Asian American Voting Rights

New York City Primary Elections — Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Boston, MA Preliminary Elections – Tuesday September 22, 2009
General Elections — Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In past elections, Asian Americans have faced a series of barriers in exercising their right to vote. For example, poll workers were hostile and made racist remarks, poll sites had too few interpreters to assist Asian American voters, and translated voting materials were missing. When the media reports on election results by specific groups, Asian American voters are often overlooked.

In response, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has conducted a non-partisan survey of Asian American voters to document Asian American voting patterns. AALDEF has also monitored the elections for compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act, which mandates bilingual ballots and forbids anti-Asian voter discrimination.

On September 15 and 22, 2009 and November 3, 2009, AALDEF along with several other Asian American groups will be monitoring the elections and conducting non-partisan voter surveys at polling sites in Asian American neighborhoods across New York City and Boston, Massachusetts. We need your help.

Volunteers are needed to administer a multilingual voter survey in 3-hour shifts and document voting problems on Election Day. Polls are open from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM in New York and 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM in Boston. There will be a one-hour training session for all volunteers (90 minutes for trainings taking place at law firms). All volunteers must be non-partisan during the time they help.

To sign up as a volunteer and for a training schedule, go to www.aaldef.net. Thank you!

For more information, contact:
Glenn D. Magpantay, Bryan Lee, or Julia Yang
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
99 Hudson Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10013
800-966-5946
votingrights@aaldef.org

Co-Sponsors:
Asian American Bar Association of New York
Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts
Chhaya CDC – NY
Greater Boston Legal Services: Asian Outreach Unit
Hunter College/CUNY, Asian American Studies Program
Korean American Association of Greater New York
Korean American League for Civic Action – NY
Korean American Voters’ Council of NY/NJ
Muslim Bar Association of New York
The Sikh Coalition – NY
South Asian Bar Association of New York
South Asian Youth Action! – NY
YKASEC: Empowering Korean American Community – NY

APIAVote Now Hiring Fall Interns

APIAVote is now accepting applications for interns in the Washington, D.C. office. The APIAVote Internship Program strives to encourage and cultivate young AAPI student leaders to explore a career in the public sector or the political arena. This internship program will also provide hands on experience and training on how to organize and implement civic engagement activities to increase the participation of AAPIs in the electoral process.

Download the application form

General Internship – Year-Round
The internship program is tailored per organizational needs and intern skills. Interns may work on any of the following areas: Communications/Technology (new media and traditional), Field (working with APIAVote partners in field campaigns), Policy (research and advocate for policy recommendations), Training (Norman Y. Mineta Leadership Training Institute), or Youth (engaging and organizing our youth coalitions.)

Requirements:

  • College or graduate student
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Dedicated to promoting civic participation of AAPIs in the electoral and public policy processes

Applications must include:

  • Application form
  • Resume including Education, Work Experience, Political Experience, Extracurricular Activities, Awards/Honors
  • Copy of most current academic transcript
  • One page typed essay on your interest in the internship program and describe “What does civic engagement meant to you?”
  • Two letters of reference

Send your complete application via e-mail or snail mail to:
APIAVote, Attn: Alvina Yeh
1666 K St NW, Suite 440
Washington, DC 20006
alvina@apiavote.org

Deadlines:
Rolling Deadline – Fall, Winter & Spring Internships


August 26, 2009

Written by C.N.

Remembering Senator Edward Kennedy and His Legacy

As all major news organizations are reporting, Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy passed away last night at the age of 77. Other news sites and blogs will offer a comprehensive review and description of his personal and professional life, so I would just like to share my own thoughts on his legacy as it relates to racial/ethnic relations and civil rights, but also what it means to be a “liberal.”

Even though he grew up in wealth and privilege, he always stood up for the less privileged and powerful among us. Among his many causes while in Congress were his championing of the Patients’ Bill of Rights and perhaps most famously, his tireless efforts toward passing universal healthcare coverage. Indeed, in his four-plus decades of service in the Senate, he amassed quite an impressive record of legislation and public service.

I will also remember his work on behalf of racial equality and justice. He was an early, consistent, and strong advocate for civil rights, exemplified by his record on supporting and sponsoring legislation on voting rights, education, labor rights, and poverty that helped all Americans but disproportionately benefited people of color and the poor the most. As the New York Times notes:

He led the Congressional effort to impose sanctions on South Africa over apartheid . . . . His most notable focus was civil rights, “still the unfinished business of America,” he often said. In 1982, he led a successful fight to defeat the Reagan administration’s effort to weaken the Voting Rights Act. In one of those bipartisan alliances that were hallmarks of his legislative successes, Mr. Kennedy worked with Senator Bob Dole, Republican of Kansas, to secure passage of the voting rights measure, and Mr. Dole got most of the credit. . . .

At a pivotal moment in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Mr. Kennedy endorsed Senator Obama for president, saying Mr. Obama offered America a chance for racial reconciliation and an opportunity to turn the page on the polarizing politics of the past several decades.

“He will be a president who refuses to be trapped in the patterns of the past,” Mr. Kennedy told an Obama rally in Washington on Jan. 28, 2008. “He is a leader who sees the world clearly, without being cynical. He is a fighter who cares passionately about the causes he believes in without demonizing those who hold a different view.”

But ultimately, I will remember Senator Kennedy for his uncanny and natural ability to balance two seemingly contradictory identities — on the one hand, being a true liberal Democrat and on the other hand, being able to cross ideological boundaries and to genuinely collaborate with Republicans on bipartisan causes.

Until recently and especially during the presidencies of Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, due to the ideological clashes and culture wars within American society, it was a derogatory term to be called a “liberal.” Nonetheless, there are many of us, including me, who are proud to be liberal and I saw Senator Kennedy as a model for being a true liberal. As I mentioned, his congressional and public service record on behalf of traditionally “liberal” causes is unquestioned. Even when it was considered an insult to be called a liberal, Senator Kennedy never backed down from his beliefs and passion to achieve meaningful equality and justice for all Americans.

But in order to get things done and achieve results, the practical reality is that it requires collaboration. Understanding that, Senator Kennedy was extremely skilled at working with fellow Republicans and reaching compromises that still retained his core ideals. The New York Times again summarizes:

Although he was a leading spokesman for liberal issues and a favorite target of conservative fund-raising appeals, the hallmark of his legislative success was his ability to find Republican allies to get bills passed. Perhaps the last notable example was his work with President George W. Bush to pass No Child Left Behind, the education law pushed by Mr. Bush in 2001. He also co-sponsored immigration legislation with Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee. One of his greatest friends and collaborators in the Senate was Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican.

Senator Edward Kennedy at the 1980 Democratic National Convention © Associated Press

In the end and for me personally, Senator Kennedy will always embody the Buddhist-like, yin-and-yang ideal of achieving balance in how we conduct our lives. He came from wealth and privilege but he never wavered in standing up for the downtrodden and underprivileged. His personal life was not without controversy but he worked tirelessly in excelling in his professional life. And he always stood proud and true to his liberal convictions but also knew when and how to collaborate with others to get results and move forward as a nation.

Senator Edward Kennedy’s legacy is one that we can all learn from as Americans, today and always. In his own famous words from the 1980 Democratic convention,

The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.