Category Archives: Act Now!

Tell the Government that We Need Disaggregated AAPI Data Today

April 28, 2017
(Photo Credit: WHIAAPI)

The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is not a monolith.

Representing over 18 million people, AAPIs are a diverse, fast-growing population that includes Americans who identify with one or more of numerous East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander ethnic groups. Even the most populous of of AAPI sub-groups — Chinese Americans, Indian Americans, and Filipino Americans — individually comprise less than one-quarter of the total AAPI population.

And yet, the federal government still largely fails to collect data that reflect the diversity of the AAPI community; instead, most federal agencies follow an archaic standard — established in 1997 — wherein they lump together all AAPI into the two broad categories: “Asian” or “Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander”. Such a generalizing approach misses the nuance of the AAPI community, and washes away the specific socioeconomic challenges faced by AAPI sub-groups.

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Activists Organize Against Border Patrol Plans to Scrutinize Social Media of Chinese Travelers to US

April 21, 2017
A customs declaration form from US Customs and Border Protection.

Last month, US Customs and Border Protection announced a proposal to institute a “voluntary” social media check of Chinese travelers to the United States. The proposal would add an “optional” question requesting account information for an applicant’s social media accounts to the Electronic Visa Updates System (EVUS), the system that foreign visitors use to manage their visa applications to the United States.

A mandatory social media check policy is already proposed or in place for travelers from several Muslim-predominant countries, and those practices have already been widely criticized as unreasonable and unjust. It is unclear how voluntary the proposed “voluntary” social media check of Chinese travelers will be in practice.

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Support the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) in Protesting Against anti-LGBTQ Legislation

April 18, 2017
Screenshot of an AAAS GoFundMe fundraiser campaign page. (Photo credit: GoFundMe)

This past weekend, I made a whirlwind trip to Portland, Oregon to speak at my first-ever Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) conference, the nation’s largest academic conference of Asian American Studies scholars. I was honoured to be included as part of a round-table discussion on Asian American feminism, sexism, sexual violence, and toxic masculinity; and, I was deeply moved by the fact that such a difficult subject attracted a full room of young scholars, academics and activists at 9:45am on a Saturday morning. I was even more excited to learn that the AAAS community is seeking to revive a focus on AAPI feminism at upcoming conferences.

I’ve already made many arguments about why we need AAPI Studies. The engaging, thoughtful, and supportive environment at AAAS is only the latest reason that I believe our community desperately needs to do more to support our Asian American Studies academics and scholars.

This past weekend, I attended my first AAAS conference; I certainly hope it will not be my last. For one thing, I am particularly impressed by the announcement this week that the AAAS board has decided to take a stance in support of the LGBTQ community, and to withdraw their 2018 conference from Tennessee where the state legislature has attempted to pass a spate of anti-LGBTQ legislation in the past year.

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Why I Will Join Thousands of Women as we March on Saturday

January 19, 2017

When I first heard about a planned march to amass the nation’s women to highlight women’s rights and in protest against the Trump administration on the day after his inauguration, I was initially hesitant. In originally billing the event as the “Million Women March” and advertising it as the first street protest of its kind, organizers overlooked the original “Million Woman March” successfully organized by Black feminists two decades ago. When this appropriation of Black feminist history was pointed out by feminists of colour, event organizers were dismissive of (and even hostile to) the critique. Instead, (White feminist) event organizers and early supporters offered the same familiar, callous, and white-washing refrain: that feminists of colour were being divisive in raising the spectre of race, and that we should put aside racial differences to provide a united feminist front in opposition to the misogyny of Trump.

Never mind, of course, that we were being asked to rally in unity under the banner of White feminism, which too often overlooks and deprioritizes women of colour and other marginalized women through its uncritical universalization of the lived experiences of Whit straight abled cis-women. Over the years, I have been lectured at countless times by White feminists who resent and reject my brand of non-white feminism; I had no interest in voluntarily exposing myself to that kind of toxic and intolerant space yet again.

But then, something about the event changed. In response to criticism, event founders re-named the march the “Women’s March on Washington” and invited prominent feminists of colour to organize the event. The Women’s March began to embrace a more intersectional framework for its feminism. Organizers acknowledged the March’s relationship to Black feminist history and took steps to acknowledge and commemorate the earlier work of Black feminists. White feminists were reminded that even within feminist spaces, they should do the work of being better white allies to feminists of colour; and that there is never a time when they can or should stop reflecting (and respecting) more and “whitesplaining” less. When some early White feminist supporters spoke against the efforts to make the event more inclusive of women of colour, they were actually told they were wrong!

With these developments, my fears were (somewhat) assuaged. It seemed increasingly clear that while White feminism still has a long way to go, the Women’s March on Washington (and its many satellite events in local cities) was taking steps to be a safe(r) space for feminists of colour and other marginalized feminists.

And so, I have made the (cautious) decision: I will march on Saturday in the Women’s March in New York City.

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Reappropriate’s Top 5 for #GivingTuesday 2016 (and This Year’s Master-List of AANHPI Non-Profits)

November 29, 2016

giving-tuesday-2016

One of my most popular posts each years is my Giving Tuesday post, which commemorates a national day to reject the crass consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by promoting charitable donations. Organized by #NotOneDime, Giving Tuesday encourages each of us to make small (or large) gifts to any non-profit organizations.

Giving Tuesday typically publishes a database of non-profit organizations that will receive your donations, but I’ve found in the past that AANHPI were woefully underrepresented. So, for the last several years, I have published my own (long, but not comprehensive) list of quality AANHPI non-profit organizations to support for Giving Tuesday (2014 | 2015). This year is no exception: after the jump you’ll find 2016’s updated list of great AANHPI-focused non-profits — all of which could use a donation from you this year.

Before we get to the full list, however I’m going to give you my personal top five picks for 2016. This is, of course, a tough list to make since I think every organization in the larger list deserves our charitable support. But, these are the groups I’ve decided to give a few if my dollars to for Giving Tuesday 2016.

Reappropriate’s 2016 Giving Tuesday Top 5:

  • NAPAWF is a national organization that focuses specifically on advocacy for AANHPI women, with one of their primary interest areas being reproductive rights. They have been very active in elevating the voices of AANHPI women in the current fight to defund Planned Parenthood, and even in the fierce urgency of the moment with regard to the fight to preserve abortion access, NAPAWF has done an excellent and necessary job injecting race into the national conversation, and I donate to them annually.
  • AALDEF has done critical work this year to champion and protect AAPI voters’ rights. This past year, they brought to the forefront the suspicious purging of thousands of names from New York City-area voter registration lists, disenfranchising predominantly AAPI and Latinx voters. AALDEF also lead a herculean effort to conduct an Election Night exit poll that contacted thousands of AAPIs voters casting their ballots in 14 states; that survey revealed how inaccurate national exit polls used by mainstream media — and which woefully undersample Asian Americans and other voters of colour — really are. With regard to voting rights, I also strongly support the work of APIAVote, which made my Giving Tuesday list last year.
  • SEARAC is a national organization that focuses predominantly on advocacy for Southeast Asian American communities such as Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Americans. This past year, their tireless advocacy resulted in the passage of The AHEAD Act in California, which provides crucial disaggregation of state-collected demographic data so that socioeconomic disparities that disproportionately impact Southeast Asian Americans can be identified and addressed.
  • EPIC is another of my favourite organizations, which focuses specifically on advocacy for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. EPIC also with SEARACH to champion The AHEAD Act  in California, along with their fellow co-sponsors of the legislation, CPEHN and APIAHF.
  • SAALT advocates for the South Asian Americans by connecting the community with elected officials in Washington D.C. on a variety of issues, including immigration rights, racial justice and gender justice. Last year, I also highlighted the work of The Sikh Coalition, which does fantastic work to represent the interests of the Sikh American community.

Also, I try to pick a local organization every year. I ran out of space in this year’s Top 5, but I’ve strongly supported the work of Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center for quite some time, and so also chose to donate to BCNC this year.

I encourage you to make a Giving Tuesday donation this year to one or more of the listed organizations in this post. You can either join me in giving to one of my 2016 Giving Tuesday Top 5 (above), or you can pick any of your favourites from the larger list of equally deserving organizations (after the jump)!

Don’t see your favourite organization on the list? Please leave a comment to have it added!

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