CAAAV Calls on AAPI to Post Selfies to #JusticeForAkaiGurley

April 7, 2015

Akai-Gurley-Selfie

As readers of this blog no doubt are already aware, the indictment of Chinese American NYPD officer Peter Liang in the shooting death of Akai Gurley has divided the AAPI community. While progressive AAPI are largely in support of Officer Liang’s indictment as necessary accountability in the wake of the suspicious death of an unarmed Black civilian, some Chinese Americans are organizing nationwide rallies to protest what they perceive is the racial “scapegoating” of Officer Liang.

Recently, I was approached by an Asian American ethnic media reporter (who approached me off the record to express his own apprehension at speaking out, and thus whose identity I will protect) who was interested in possibly writing about the pro-Liang rallies. He said: “Anti-indictment people have taken the upper hand in voicing their opinions, and those who disagree with them have been branded as ‘traitors'”.

I was asked how — given this — I was able to write so openly in support of Officer Liang’s indictment.

Well, first of all, I think labeling people who disagree with you as “traitors” is an unforgivable tactic designed less to engage in honest and respectful debate and more to bully dissenting opinions into silence.

Any prominent issue such as this one should be expected to generate dissent. However, meaningful community-wide debate requires that we elevate the conversation above ad hominem attacks — such as calling those whom we disagree with “traitor — and instead that we focus on generating respectful points of disagreement.

As I’ve already written, I support the indictment of Officer Liang because I support the constitutional right of all citizens — Black, White or Asian — to due process. I believe Akai Gurley’s due process rights should have guaranteed him the right to not be deprived of life by an actor of the State without just cause. I believe both Akai Gurley’s and Officer Liang’s due process rights guarantee each the right to their day in court.

I support the indictment of Officer Liang because I believe that all law enforcement officers — regardless of race — should be held accountable by our criminal justice system in the event of a suspicious shooting on their watch.

As an AAPI, I am able to support Officer Liang’s indictment, because I believe his indictment is on the right side of equality and justice. As an AAPI, I am able to adopt this stance because I am not alone in this opinion. Councilwoman Margaret Chin recently joined thousands of AAPI around the country to support Officer Liang’s indictment.

“When an innocent person dies, as a police officer, you have to be accountable,” Chin explained.

Sadly, AAPI support for Officer Liang’s indictment has been far less visible than the Chinese American counter-movement, which has spawned several news articles. This may, in part, because mainstream news loves a good story about a manufactured race war, and Asian American opposition to Officer Liang’s indictment does little to ease tensions between the Black and Asian community.

Last week, the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) issued a challenge to the AAPI community, urging those of us who support justice for Akai Gurley to participate in a selfie campaign to raise the visibility of our broad and sweeping support for Officer Liang’s indictment, and to counteract this Cointelpro-like narrative that would pit the Black and Asian community against one another over Officer Liang’s indictment.

Here’s how you can participate:

1) TAKE A PHOTO OF YOURSELF HOLDING YOUR SIGN & UPLOAD it to social media using #JusticeforAkaiGurley. In addition please email your image to bettyyu21@gmail.com and we’ll make sure it goes up on CAAAV’s social media as well. (OPTIONAL: add a paragraph on your sign that reads — “I am a ___________, (e.g. Korean American woman, Asian comrade, etc) and I demand Justice for Akai Gurley because_____________.”

2) Please SHARE this action out on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

3) Finally, if you are having a meeting, event or action, please consider asking folks to take a selfie for #JusticeforAkaiGurley.

Many are adding the following hashtags to their signs: #JusticeForAkaiGurley, #Asians4BlackLives, #API4BlackLives and #BlackLivesMatter.

I urge you to join this selfie movement, and help show the faces of AAPI solidarity for #BlackLivesMatter and Akai Gurley. You can view the many selfies that have already been posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, if you’re not following or supporting CAAAV with donations, you should be. They are excellent.

Read More: I Dream Of Asian America #JusticeForAkaiGurley by Soya Jung of Racefiles

Comment Policy

Before posting, please review the following guidelines:

  • No ad hominem attacks: A person's identity, personal history, or background is not up for debate. Talk about ideas, not people.
  • Be courteous: Respect everyone else in this space.
  • Present evidence: This space endeavours to encourage academic and rational debate around identity politics. Do your best to build an argument backed not just with your own ideas, but also with science.
  • Don't be pedantic: Listen to those debating you not just for places to attack, but also where you might learn and even change your own opinion. Repeatedly arguing the same point irrespective of presented counterfacts will now be considered a violation of this site's comment policy.
  • Respect the humanity of all groups: To elevate the quality of debate, this site will no longer tolerate (racial, cultural, gender, etc.) supremacist or inferiority lines of argumentation. There are other places on the internet where nationalist arguments can be expressed; this blog is not those places.
  • Don't be an asshole: If you think your behaviour would get you punched in the face outside of the internets, don't say it on the internets.
  • Don't abuse Disqus features: Don't upvote your own comments. Don't flag other people's comments without reasonable cause. Basically, don't try to game the system. You are not being slick.

Is your comment not approved, unpublished, or deleted? Here are some common reasons why:

  • Did you sign in? You are required to register an account with Disqus or one of your social media accounts in order to comment.
  • Did your comment get caught in the spam filter? Disqus is set to automatically detect and filter out spam comments. Sometimes, its algorithm gets over-zealous, particularly if you post multiple comments in rapid succession, if your comment contains keywords often associated with spam, and/or if your comment contains multiple links. If your comment has been erroneously caught in the spam filter, contact me and I will retrieve it.
  • Did a comment get flagged? Comments will be default be published but flagged comments will be temporarily removed from view until they are reviewed by me.
  • Did you not play nice? You may have gotten banned and a bunch of your comments may have been therefore deleted. Sorry.

I monitor all comment threads, and try to address comments requiring moderation within 24-48 hours. Comments that violate this comment policy may receive a warning and removal of offensive content; overt or repeat violations are subject to deletion and/or banning of comment authors without warning.

I reserve final decision over how this comment policy will be enforced.

Summary:

Play nice and don't be a jerk, and you'll do just fine.