CA Secretary of State Building to be Renamed for March Fong Eu

March Fong Eu (Photo credit: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times)

California’s first female Secretary of State and the first Asian American woman publicly elected to a state constitutional office, March Fong Eu, will be memorialized when the California Secretary of State building complex is renamed in her honour.

Eu died last week at the age of 95 after a long and storied career in public service.

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L. Song Richardson Named UCI Law School Dean, Becomes Only Woman of Color Dean of a Top-30 Law School

L. Song Richardson (Photo Credit: UCI Law)

Earlier today, the UC Irvine School of Lawranked within the top 30 of the nation’s law schools by US News & World Reports, and ranked 10th among public universities — announced that Professor L. Song Richardson has been named the school’s newest dean, succeeding UCI Law’s founding dean, renowned constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky.

Dean Chemerinsky had served as UCI Law’s dean for nearly ten years since the school’s founding in 2008 before accepting the position of dean at UC Berkeley School of Law this past summer. Richardson had been serving as interim dean since Chemerinsky’s departure, but with today’s announcement now becomes the second dean in the school’s history. Richardson — who is mixed race Black and Asian American — is also the only woman of color to currently serve as dean of any top-30 law school, and she may also be the first Asian American woman to be named dean of a major American law school. (I would welcome reader corrections if I am in error on this latter point.)

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“Highlighting” the Fight Against Ebola

Kevin Tyan, Jason Kang, and Katherine Jin, founders of Kinnos. (Photo credit: Columbia Engineering/Tim Lee Photographers)

By Guest Contributor: Andrew Cha

In 2014, the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone suffered the worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus since the disease’s discovery in 1976. Due to local poverty and the lack of public health infrastructure, the pandemic spread quickly, with one thousand new cases every week, twenty-eight thousand cases in total, and over eleven thousand deaths.

The Ebola epidemic triggered a worldwide response. The United States committed to the largest sum for assistance and relief efforts of any country with its appropriation of 5.4 billion dollars to fight the outbreak. The US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Center for Diseases Control (CDC), and the Department of Defense were all mobilized to set up a response infrastructure on the ground to contain the outbreak. At the international level, the United Nations and the World Health Organization coordinated a global response to the Ebola outbreak, designating it the “number one global crisis for the United Nations.” The World Bank also pledged a two hundred thirty million dollar aid package for affected countries in West Africa.

The sheer scale of the US and UN response to the Ebola crisis was critical to getting the pandemic under control, but some of the most innovative and beneficial proposals to combat the epidemic arose from the minds of some innovative Asian-American millennials. The United States Agency for International Development sponsored a “Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge,” in 2014 in which citizens from across the nation could propose new ideas to battle Ebola. Three Columbia University students, Jason Kang, Kevin Tyan, and Katherine Jin, were selected from over fifteen hundred applicants, for their invention called “Highlight.”

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Sign this petition to honour Yuri Kochiyama with a US Postal Stamp!

Photo credit: 18MillionRising
Photo credit: 18MillionRising

Last week, America lost a civil rights legend in Yuri Kochiyama. Kochiyama’s work inspired a generation of young activists — including many Asian American women like myself — towards social justice work.

Today, 18MillionRising is launching a petition that will be sent along with a formal written proposal to the US Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, asking that Yuri Kochiyama be commemorated in an official stamp. This form of memorial seems meaningful; Yuri Kochiyama strongly believed in the power of mail as a form of political outreach, and reportedly only wanted to receive stamps on holidays so she could continue to send flyers for her many political and social justice causes.

 Act Now! If you agree that Kochiyama belongs on a commemorative stamp, please sign 18MillionRising’s petition requesting that the US Postal Service issue a commemorative Yuri Kochiyama stamp and share the petition with your friends!

One Asian American victim, another an Asian American hero, in SPU shooting

Paul Lee, 19, in a photo posted on a class website.
Paul Lee, 19, in a photo posted on a class website.

Yesterday marked another grim incident in this nation’s ongoing litany of gun violence. A man, identified as 26-year-old former LA Fitness janitor Aaron Ybarra walked into Seattle Pacific University’s Otto Miller Hall and opened fire with a shotgun at point-blank range, killing one person and wounding three others.

When I first heard about the incident yesterday, I scoured the web, hoping that the victims or the perpetrator were not Asian American. Something about Elliot Rodger — who is biracially Asian American — and his deadly shooting spree in Isla Vista had me hyper-sensitive. I just couldn’t help thinking: “no, please, our community can’t take any more tragedy”.

I wish I had been right.

Yesterday’s single fatality at SPU — who was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center — has now been identified as 19-year-old Paul Lee, a Korean American freshman from Portland who reportedly enjoyed dancing and “eating delicious food”. Friends and family remember Lee as a “lively” person who made the classroom fun.

On Facebook, Albert Lee, Paul Lee’s brother, posted about his anguish:

“At a time when we feel a level of loss, grief, and pain we couldn’t have ever imagined, we are so overwhelmed by all of the thoughts and prayers from the community.

“At this moment all we can ask is to continue to remember Paul and all that he has left behind for us. Thank you all for blanketing us with your kind words, we will thank you all individually in due time.

“Paul, you handsome shekki, we miss you and love you more than you know. Keep dancin’ in heaven.”

The term “shekki” is an expletive in Korean, but between friends it’s used as an endearment.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Lee family. The loss of yet another young man — barely older than a child — by gun violence, wounds deeply. That he is now the fourth Asian American man to die in relation to a mass shooting on a college campus in the span of two weeks is unfathomable and senseless.

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