Trial Against NYPD Officer Peter Liang Begins With Dramatic Opening Statements, Arguments Over Emotional State

January 26, 2016
NYPD officer Peter Liang, accused of manslaughter in the killing of Akai Gurley, at the first day of his trial. (Photo credit: Twitter)
NYPD officer Peter Liang, accused of manslaughter in the killing of Akai Gurley, at the first day of his trial. (Photo credit: Twitter)

The manslaughter trial against Peter Liang — the police officer accused of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Akai Gurley, an unarmed Black man killed when Liang opened fire with his service weapon in a darkened stairwell — began yesterday with opening statements by both the prosecution and the defense, and the calling of two witnesses. Liang’s case has been viewed as one of several examples of state violence against Black bodies in recent years, and several activists (including myself) have rallied in support of the Gurley family in calling for Liang and all other police involved in suspicious shootings against unarmed Black citizens to face criminal accountability. Late last year, news media reported that Liang had elected to face a jury trial in the case against him, and in the last week, jury selection resulted in a juror pool consisting of only one African American jury member and no Asian Americans.

Although many Asian Americans — including signatories of this open letter organized by CAAAV — have sided with Black Lives Matter activists in seeking #JusticeForAkaiGurley, Liang’s case has also attracted a surprising reaction from some within our community. Some Chinese Americans have come out in defense of Liang’s actions, arguing that Liang’s trial is evidence of systemic racial bias and demanding that the charges against him be dropped.

Liang’s supporters seemed largely unswayed by the details that have emerged about the fateful moment in the stairwell of Louis H. Pink Houses in late 2014 that left Akai Gurley dead by the police officer’s hand.

Continue Reading

43 Years after Roe v. Wade, Reproductive Rights Still Matter to AAPIs | #Roe43

January 22, 2016
I wore a lot of pink and stood on a street corner and chanted for an hour today. (Photo credit: Jenn / Reappropriate)
I #StandWithPP. (Photo credit: Jenn / Reappropriate)

43 years ago today, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that would serve as an important foundation principle for the establishment of reproductive rights for women. In a 7-2 decision, the Justices ruled that the government had no right to interfere with a woman’s decision to seek (or not seek) an abortion for non-medical reasons; this choice, they declared, was protected by our constitutional right to privacy.

Since then, Roe v. Wade has had an incredible impact on women, enabling an unprecedented social, political and economic mobility for women in general.

Continue Reading

#DontAllLookTheSame: Benedict Wong vs. Chin Han Edition

January 22, 2016
Chin Han (left) and Benedict Wong (right)
Chin Han (left) and Benedict Wong (right)

One of these men played the unscrupulous Hong Kong money man in The Dark Knight. The other was a noble if frazzled scientist in The Martian. Both are fantastic actors, but only one is slated to appear as Wong opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the upcoming Dr. Strange.

But, I guess, according to The Hollywood Reporter, these two men are one and the same.

Continue Reading

BREAKING: Daniel Holtzclaw Sentenced to 263 Consecutive Years in Prison

January 21, 2016
Daniel Holtzclaw, in a booking photo.
Daniel Holtzclaw, in a booking photo.

Disgraced former police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who was convicted late last year for rape and other crimes related to the sexual assault of thirteen Black women, was sentenced today by a judge to serve the full prison term recommended by the jury that found him guilty of 18 of the 36 counts against him.

Continue Reading

APIAVote Seeking Summer Interns for 2016!

January 20, 2016
Photo credit: APIAVote
Photo credit: APIAVote

One of my favourite non-profits — APIAVote — is seeking summer interns for 2016! APIAVote is one of the nation’s premier non-partisan AAPI-focused voter registration and civic engagement non-profit group.

If you’re an AAPI student with an interest in social justice, you should definitely take advantage of APIAVote’s summer intern program, particularly this year as the nation approaches a major presidential election wherein the AAPI vote is likely to be unprecedentedly influential. Already, the Clinton campaign has taken the early lead in trying to appeal to the Asian American vote with other candidates likely to follow suit. APIAVote’s summer internship program will grant you the opportunity to get into the heart of this year’s political action (and I could not be more jealous).

More details after the jump!

Continue Reading