AAPI News

Caucus Crossover with the Global Black Caucus

Nov. 15th - 21st 2021 the Global Asian American & Pacific Islander Caucus (AAPI) and the Global Black Caucus (GBC) are teaming up to take over each other's social media accounts to raise awareness of mutual issues.

First thing we want people to know is that solidarity is there.

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Book Recommendations in October

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning - Cathy Park Hong

Award winning poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings is part memoir and part essays on racial consciousness in the U.S. The book’s seven essays explore Asian American identity from Hong’s personal experiences. Minor Feelings has received multiple awards including the 2020 National Book Critics Award for autobiography. It was announced in May that actress Greta Lee is writing, producing and set to star in a TV series adaptation based on the book. Cathy Park Hong is also a professor at Rutgers University and Poetry Editor of the New Republic. In September 2021 she was named as one of the top 100 of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine for her writings and advocacy.

Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

One of the New York Times best books of 2017, Pachinko tells the story of four generations of a Korean family starting in Korea at the turn of the 20th century and then their migration and settlement in Japan. Beautifully written and an engrossing read, it is also set for production by Apple TV for a series in the near future. 

Selected by President Obama for his recommended reading list, he noted:
“This is a captivating book I read at the suggestion of a younger staffer on my team — a historical novel about the Korean immigrant experience in wartime Japan.  Min Jin Lee’s novel takes us through four generations and each character’s search for identity and success. It’s a powerful story about resilience and compassion.” — President Barack Obama

The Sympathizer - Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the Asian-Pacific American Award for Literature and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, among others.  The novel is about a North Vietnamese spy in the South Vietnamese Army during the war and his subsequent involvement with the South Vietnamese community in California after being evacuated. It is also being made into a film for expected release early next year. A sequel to The Sympathizer, The Committed was released this year. He is also the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is a University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is a frequent Contributing Opinion Writer for the New York Times.


October News: Getting out the Vote in AAPI Communities

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The seasons are changing and we are in the final months of 2021. If you’re like me, this has likely been another strange year that has flown by.

Even though it’s an off year, there are still several important elections in November. If you’re a voter in Virginia or New Jersey, you have a state election and voters in Florida District 20 and Ohio Districts 11 and 15 have special elections. We have more details below with information that you need to make sure you vote in November.

We have some exciting events coming up - don’t miss them! On Friday, November 12/Saturday, November 13, 2021, we will speak with Christine Chen, co-founder and Executive Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) about the APIAVote survey of Asian American voters. Join us to hear about the latest voting trends in our communities both at home and overseas. You’re invited to join the open discussion at this event about how we can get out the vote among AAPI voters living overseas.

As always, if you are interested in getting more involved with the AAPI Caucus, please get in touch. We always appreciate help with planning events, getting out the vote, and more. Just send an email to [email protected]

Best wishes,

Emily Lines
Chair, AAPI Caucus

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September News: Welcome from the New Chair & Member Survey

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As the incoming chair of the AAPI Caucus, I am honored and excited to be taking on this role. Since the caucus was established last year, we have grown to over 500 members, and we are looking forward to continuing to grow the caucus and increase turnout among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living abroad.

Since last June, I have co-chaired this caucus with Cory Lemke (Democrats Abroad South Korea). On behalf of our Steering Committee, I would like to thank Cory for his work in establishing this caucus and helping to lead it. Cory was recently named the new Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific region. Even though Cory will be taking on this new role, we are glad that he will stay on as a member of our Steering Committee, and we look forward to supporting him as the AP GOTV Coordinator.

We took a short break in August, but we are back and invigorated for the fall season. This Caucus is your caucus, so we want to know what you think! Please complete this member interest survey.

Calling all California voters! 25% of our caucus members vote in California. Have you sent in your ballot yet? We need every Californian to VOTE NO on the governor recall. You can leave question 2 blank or choose a Democrat! If you voted in 2020, you should have received your absentee ballot already. Fax in your ballot today. Questions or problems? Check our website for more information.

In October, we’ll start a discussion series to talk about the five-part PBS Documentary “Asian Americans”. The first discussion will be on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at 7:30pm Berlin time. Each event will discuss one episode. In case you can’t make this first discussion, we will rotate the times so that they are at more convenient times for our members around the world.

We are also always looking for more volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved with the AAPI Caucus, either at the international or local level, please get in touch by emailing me at [email protected]

Best wishes,

Emily Lines
Chair, AAPI Caucus

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The Freedom to Vote

The USA has taken a lot of steps recently to address AAPI issues.  President Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law, Illinois has required public schools teach Asian American history, and California has set aside $156 million to community groups to tackle the root causes of Asian hate.

We need to wield political power to continue this trend, and this means we need to VOTE.  We turned out in historic numbers to elect President Biden and the current House as well as many Senators. But state legislatures have created voting restrictions that disproportionately affect voters of color — limiting absentee voting, purging voter registration lists, closing polling sites, reducing voting hours, and even criminalizing handing out food and water to voters waiting in line.

These laws are creating obstacles to our voting process and limiting accessibility to the polls for those who need it most. They don't protect voters or our country’s electoral process.  Instead, they create doubt and try to undermine confidence in the democratic process, reinforcing divisive political tactics that prioritize the voices of some citizens over others. 

It is disappointing that as we approach the 56th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we are still fighting for our freedom to vote. But we cannot give up, and we cannot stop now. The ability of every individual to have a say in our political process is the keystone of our democracy; it is the key tool for AAPIs to continue the progress we have made towards reaching equity for our communities and stopping Asian hate. If we cannot act now, we may not have another chance.

Join us and take action today.  

Look up who is is your is Senator here.

Call them and use this script (feel free to adapt if there’s anything else you’d like to discuss):

Hi, my name is [Name]. I am a constituent from [City/State], [ZIP Code].

I am calling to urge Senator _____________ to please vote in support of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Voter suppression is a shameful reality in our country. The ability for everyone to meaningfully participate in our democracy and the need for legislative action is urgent. Congress needs to pass H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 now. These bills are popular. In fact, 8 in 10 Americans are in favor of the provisions in these bills. Again, I urge the Senator to support these bills and do what it takes to protect our freedom to vote. Will Senator ___________  be voting in support of the For the People Act?

Thank you for your time.

**Text Adapted from the Asian & Pacific Islander Americans Vote newsletter, July 29, 2021


Escaping Coronavirus: AAPI Caucus Speaks to Mingway Lee

On Saturday, July 10th, the AAPI Caucus hosted Mingway Lee, an artist, who spoke about his experience during the COVID-19 crisis through a presentation of his drawings chronicling his evacuation to Travis Air Force Base, his stay under the first federally mandated quarantine in decades, and his eyewitness account of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City.

His drawings recreated a vivid image of what it was like to be in Wuhan as the COVID-19 pandemic began and how uncertain this period was for everyone. Attendees expressed their gratitude for his willingness to share his experience. We all were able to gain an understanding of what he went through and were reminded of how no one knew what was going on or what was going to happen as we entered the pandemic.

If you missed it, you can see the recording here:

About the Artist

Mingway Lee is an artist living with his wife and two sons, Max and Rex, in New York City. He moved from Beijing to New York in 2012. In 2019, he graduated from Pratt Institute with an MFA degree.

Collaborating with an established writer/director, Clayton Broomes, Jr., he is writing a memoir with more than 100 of his drawings about how he went into the coronavirus crisis in China, escaped the coronavirus from Wuhan to Travis Air Force Base, and relived the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City.


Responding to Hate Crimes on a State Level

On 20 May 2021 President Biden signed into law a bill that was introduced by  Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, which aims “to make the reporting of hate crimes more accessible at the local and state levels by boosting public outreach and ensuring reporting resources are available online in multiple languages. It also directs the Department of Justice to designate a point person to expedite the review of hate crimes related to COVID-19 and authorizes grants to state and local governments to conduct crime-reduction programs to prevent and respond to hate crimes (NPR 20 May 2021).”

On 2 July 2021, the Stop AAPI Hate Coalition (#StopAAPIHate) released the results of their survey documenting the hundreds of resolutions and actions taken to combat anti-AAPI racism at the state level.  The report noted that of the states that have passed resolutions, over 90% go on to be enacted.  17 states have yet to take any meaningful action to combat anti-AAPI racism: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota,West Virginia and Wyoming.

If you vote in one of these states, we urge you to contact your state and local officials and urge them to take action against racism in your community.


July News: Movie Night Rescheduled & Looking for Volunteers in the Americas

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We want to thank all of those who participated in our events in June in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month. The AAPI Caucus hosted a film discussion about Alice Wu’s movie The Half of It in conjunction with the LGBTQ+ and Youth Caucuses for the Virtual Pride Marathon. We interviewed Amy Sueyoshi and Stan Yogi, curators of the Seen and Unseen exhibit, which explores the intersection between Japanese and Queer identities prior to World War II. In case you missed the event, you can watch the recording of the event and read about it here.

In July, we will be speaking to Mingway Lee about his experience escaping the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. The event will take place on July 10th, 2021 at 6pm Berlin / 9am Vancouver.

We are looking for more volunteers in the Americas region. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders can make a difference in the upcoming midterm elections, and we need your help to reach them. If you or someone you know would like to get involved with the Global AAPI Caucus, please make sure to reach out to us at [email protected].

Best wishes,

Cory J. Lemke and Emily Lines

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Seen & Unseen - Cultural Exhibit

Seen and Unseen is the first-ever exhibit focused on Nikkei (Japanese Americans) who were involved in intimate same-sex relationships or defied gender roles in the early 20th century. The exhibition is hosted by J-Sei, a multi-generational and multi-cultural organisation with its roots in Nikkei values and culture.

On June 24th we had a fascinating online discussion with the exhibit curators, Dr. Sueyoshi and Mr. Yogi, about the development of the exhibition and its role in addressing the past and present struggles of queer and gender non-conforming Japanese Americans. They explained not only the deeper history behind the exhibit images, but also the thought and planning behind the exhibit and shared the discoveries they made. Please don't miss the chance to watch this enlightening, heartwarming and delightful discussion of the queer Japanese story in America. 

If you missed it, you can see the recording here:

The Exhibit will be online until June 30. View the exhibition here:  https://www.seenandunseen.net

 About the Curators

Sueyoshi.pngAmy Sueyoshi is Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies with a joint faculty appointment in Race and Resistance Studies and Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University.  She has received numerous awards for her scholarship in queer history and for her community engagement and advocacy.

Stan Yogi is an award winning author of several books and his essays have appeared in newspapers and academic journals. He has co-curated traveling exhibits on civil liberties.  He is Co-Chair of Okaeri, a Nikkei LGBTIQ+ Community based in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

 


Cooking Live: Filipino Adobo (Chicken or Tofu)

If you've always wondered how to make this famous and traditional dish from the Philippines, try this delicious and easy recipe! Filipino Adobo (Chicken or Tofu) with Coconut Milk & Rice (PDF)