Beloved Community Mural in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo Defaced by Graffiti

In October of 2005, twenty hand-painted wooden panels were framed and mounted onto the east-facing wall of Los Angeles Little Tokyo’s Japanese Village Plaza to form the “Home is Little Tokyo” community mural. Nearly three years in the making, the mural is truly a community project: commissioned by a large coalition of local residents, businesses, and service organizations, “Home is Little Tokyo” was designed by local artist Tony Osumi based on numerous ideas offered by the local Japanese American community. Each panel was lovingly painted by Osumi and fellow artists Sergio Diaz and Jorge Diaz, along with nearly 500 volunteers who worked together to contribute over 5000 volunteer hours during open painting days.

“It is our community mural,” says Kristin Fukushima, Managing Director of the Little Tokyo Community Council, which represents businesses, cultural groups, religious organizations, and other Little Tokyo stakeholders and which originally helped to fund the mural’s creation. Fukushima notes that the mural is one of the rare public art projects in Little Tokyo that underwent the democratic, consensus-building process characteristic of the community and its residents. “The mural is symbolic, inclusive, and broad, and it is reflective of the history of our neighborhood,” she says. “It tells our story in the ways that we want to tell our own story and our own history.”

The deep significance of the “Home is Little Tokyo” mural for the Little Tokyo community is why many were shocked, heartbroken, and devastated this week to find that an anonymous person had defaced the entire lower half of the mural with spray-painted graffiti in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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American Militarism and White Empire: Thoughts on Peace on the Korean Peninsula

By Guest Contributor: Ju-Hyun Park (@Hermit_Hwarang)

A month ago, I woke up to news I thought I might never hear in my lifetime: the leaders of North and South Korea had, after meeting at an historic summit in Panmunjom at the DMZ, announced their intention to formally end the Korean War and lay plans for reunification.

I accomplished nothing I’d intended to that morning. I called my mother and sister to talk about the news. I read and reread the declaration and watched whatever clips I could find. I celebrated and speculated over group chat with Korean friends. And, I cried. A lot.

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Asian Americans Run for Something: Tara Sreekrishnan | Candidate for CA Cupertino, City Council

This year, a record number of Asian Americans are running for public office at the local, state, and national level. Reappropriate has partnered with Run for Something — a non-profit launched in 2017 to support grassroots campaigns to elect progressive candidates — to profile these progressive Asian American candidates for higher office. Check back at Reappropriate throughout 2018 to learn more about these candidates and find out how you can get more involved in their campaigns.

What is your full name?
Tara Sreekrishnan

What office are you seeking?
CA Cupertino City Council

When is the election date?
November 6, 2018

What is your party registration (if any)?

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The Jeremy Lin Effect: Breaking Asian Stereotypes in the South

By Guest Contributor: Noah de la Rosa

“You’re out!” The umpire exclaims. I think to myself, “Geez Christian, calm down it’s only intramurals.” Student referees take their job too seriously

It was the third straight time of the season that I struck out while starting off at bat. There’s probably a better way of saying that but I’m not acquainted with baseball/softball terms; which is another way of saying, I don’t like baseball. So, why do I keep playing? If anything, I’m only perpetuating the stereotype of the unathletic, socially-awkward Asian. I keep playing because they don’t think we can.

Who is “we”? Who is “they”?

I go to a small private university in the South. Population 4,377. Population of Asians and Pacific Islanders: 45. Population of Asian Americans? 1. Me.

Safe to say that “they” are white people. “We” is myself, the lone representative of the Asian American community.

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The Other Asian

This essay was originally posted to Desis for Progress.

By: Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed (@tazzystar)

I first learn I am Asian when in the 3rd grade, I’m handed a standardized test. The first page, under my name asks me to mark one of the following?—?“White, Black, Hispanic, Asian or Other.” I raise my hand and ask my teacher what to fill out. She asks me what I am, and that I don’t know. She marks me as “Other.”

I go home and ask my Mom what I am. She doesn’t understand what I’m asking, or why I’m asking, or why this would be asked of me. She emphasizes that we are Bangladeshis. ‘But that’s not an option,’ I scream, frustrated. ‘Well, Bangladesh is next to India. So I guess you can put down Indian.’ ‘But that’s not an option either,’ I tantrum through tears. I am upset that a question so easy to answer for my classmates is so difficult for me. Mom looks at the options to choose from — ‘Since Bangladesh is on the continent of Asia, so that makes you Asian. That is technically accurate.’ I simmer down, and reflect on this statement. I don’t look like the other Asians in my school. I am skeptical of this statement.

The next day at school, I go to the globe and look for Bangladesh. Sure enough, I find it on the continent of Asia. So I guess that makes me Asian. My classmates tell me that I don’t look Asian, when I tell them. I show them the globe, and they are skeptical, too.
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