“Uprooted From the Scenes” Film Screening Highlights Budding AAPI Filmmakers

June 29, 2016

Uprooted-From-The-Scenes

Visual Communications, a community non-profit which has focused on supporting AAPI filmmakers since its founding in 1970, will be holding its annual interns’ summer film screening this year on July 28th at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California.

This year’s program will include ten short films curated from Visual Communications’ Armed With a Camera (AWC) Fellowship program, as well as entries from the 32nd Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. The screening’s films will focus on filmmakers’ broad and diverse vision of AAPI and diasporic API identity.

“It’s always exciting to have different, non-Film Festival audiences experience the latest cinematic works that our communities’ artists are creating,” said Abraham Ferrer , Visual Communications’ Exhibitions Director . “I think that the reactions by the crowd we expect for ‘Uprooted From the Scenes’ will offer a true test of whether a work of cinema resonates with its audiences.”

Tickets for the festival are $12 for general admission ($10 for senior citizens, students and VC members with ID) available through this website. At the door ticket price is $15 for general admission ($13 for senior citizens, students and VC members with ID). More information for the screening can be found at its event page.

A preview of the short films that will be included in the screening this year is after the jump.

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California Turns Down Opportunity to Receive Federal Money to Disaggregate AAPI Data

June 27, 2016
Representative Judy Chu, who is among several lawmakers urging the State of California to apply for federal money for data disaggregation of AAPI demographic data.
Representative Judy Chu, who is among several lawmakers urging the State of California to apply for federal money for data disaggregation of AAPI demographic data.

Southeast Asian American and Pacific Islander advocates have said that data disaggregation is one of the core civil rights issues of our time. I believe this statement to be wholly true. I am also deeply frustrated that our legislators do little to prioritize the fight to disaggregate AAPI data, and reveal the deeply ingrained socioeconomic inequities that aggregated AAPI data mask.

It takes so little to disaggregate AAPI data. The cost to state and federal institutions are minimal, and the Census has already provided a clear road map for the kind of ethnic information that states can and should collect. Meanwhile, the payout for adding just a few more crosstabs to demographic data is astronomical: with disaggregated data, we can get a better sense of how certain AAPI groups are struggling, and what kinds of public policies should be enacted to best address those communities.

So, I need some help here: why the hell does data disaggregation still face such strong political resistance?

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Supreme Court Votes to Protect Abortion Access: Why It Matters for AAPI Women

June 27, 2016
The Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States

Today, the Supreme Court handed down another major decision. After they voted last week to protect affirmative action (yay!), but then were deadlocked on DACA and DAPA effectively killing the Obama Administration’s sweeping relief for undocumented immigrants (boo!), I wasn’t sure if I could take any more important SCOTUS decisions. Thankfully, the weekend offered a brief reprieve before today, when Justice Stephen Breyer announced the 5-3 majority opinion in Whole Woman’s Health v. Texas wherein the Court sided with reproductive health providers against the “undue burden” placed upon them by Texas legislators.

In the historic Roe v. Wade decision that first legalized abortion as a constitutionally-protected right, Supreme Court justices ruled that “abortion . . . is performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety for the patient.” However, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the majority of Supreme Court justices also established that “unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right [to access abortion procedures].” In Whole Woman’s Health v. Texas, the Supreme Court was challenged to decide whether newly passed regulations on the Texas’ abortion clinics — requiring that clinics have extra-wide hallways and that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals — posed an undue burden that unconstitutionally compromised abortion access for Texas’ women.

The regulations were passed in Texas as part of a concerted national effort by conservative anti-abortion activists and legislators to eliminate abortion access by enacting state-level Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws. In essence, the anti-abortion movement seeks to disenfranchise women by enacting laws state-by-state that make the constitutional right to access abortion procedures so practically tedious as to be essentially inaccessible for the vast majority of women.

TRAP laws have been highly effective in limiting abortion access. Since 2010, the number of state-level anti-abortion laws passed each year as more than tripled. In that same span, 1 in 10 abortion clinics have been forced to shutter their doors leaving at least five states with only a single clinic to serve the entire state’s population.

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‘Doesn’t Mean We Bang’: Reckless Criminalization and Monstrous Peril in the Case of Dylan Yang

June 27, 2016
Demonstrators seeking justice for Dylan Yang at a protest in Wausau, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: USA Today / TXer
Demonstrators seeking justice for Dylan Yang at a protest in Wausau, Wisconsin. (Photo Credit: USA Today / T’Xer Zhon Kha)

By Guest Contributors: Pao Lee Vue, Bee Vang, and Louisa Schein

Last March, Wausau resident Dylan Yang, 16 – who is Hmong American – was found guilty of “first-degree reckless homicide” for stabbing Isaiah Powell, a black Latino boy, then 13, in an altercation that happened in 2015. The case has raised a litany of issues that beg questions of how ongoing racial dynamics impact the Wisconsin justice system. Why might it matter that an overwhelmingly white collection of authorities – from teachers to school administrators, from counselors to cops, from jurors to judges – managed this case involving the death of a black Latino teen at the hands of a Hmong teen? What lies ahead for Dylan who now faces up to 60 years in prison? What is being done to diminish the uneven implementation of the law exemplified by this case?

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Supreme Court Reaffirms Race-Conscious Affirmative Action in College Admissions

June 24, 2016
Photo credit: LA Times
Photo credit: LA Times

The Supreme Court handed down their long-anticipated decision on Fisher v University of Texas II yesterday, eight years after Abigail Fisher (who is White) first filed suit challenging holistic review at the University of Texas. Fisher alleged that the University’s holistic admissions process, which includes race-conscious affirmative action, denied her admission to the school. The Court had previously heard Fisher’s case, and essentially punted it back to the lower courts asking them to take a second look. When the Fifth Circuit again ruled in favour of the University of Texas, the Supreme Court was once again challenged to weigh in.

There was a lot at stake with this decision in the case now known as Fisher II: a decision against the University of Texas’ admissions program could effectively dismantle affirmative action programs across the country.

But, in a 4-3 vote, the Supreme Court elected to reaffirm the Court’s earlier perspectives on affirmative action as outlined in the landmark Grutter case which first explicitly established the “compelling interest” of colleges and universities to address issues of campus diversity through the limited and narrow use of racial information.

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