Reappropriate’s Top 5 for #GivingTuesday 2015 (and This Year’s Master-List of AANHPI Non-Profits)

Posted By Jenn


This year marks the fourth annual Giving Tuesday, a national day to reject the crass consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #NotOneDime, a grassroots movement to boycott both consumer-based “holidays”,  is credited with a projected loss of $1 billion dollars in revenue this year compared to previous years. Instead, Giving Tuesday encourages charity and goodwill through small (or large) donations 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. This year is no exception: after the jump you’ll find 2015’s updated list of great AANHPI-focused non-profits.

Before we get to the full list, however I’m going to give you my personal top five picks for 2015. This is, of course, a tough list to make since I think every organization in the larger list deserves our charitable support.

Reappropriate’s 2015 Giving Tuesday Top 5:

  • CAAAV: Organizing Communities is one of my favourite local-level, community organizing non-profit groups. Founded in 1986 in response to a spate of anti-Asian hate crimes, the group has metamorphosed into a powerhouse for NYC-area community organizing, with a specific focus on interracial and interethnic coalition-building for fair housing and tenants’ rights. Not only does CAAAV do essential grassroots work, but I’m particularly struck by their unapologetic framing of their work as part of a larger fight to combat institutionalized anti-Blackness and anti-Asian racism.
  • APIA Vote is one of the nation’s foremost non-partisan AANHPI groups focused exclusively on civic engagement. The AANHPI community has notoriously low voter registration rates, and the mission of APIAVote is to do something about it. As the all-important 2016 presidential election approaches — and in a field where Rightwing xenophobia and (anti-Asian, among others) race-baiting is par for the course — APIAVote’s work is particularly necessary, and a donation to them right now will have enormous impact.
  • The Sikh Coalition  is one of several groups that have done stellar work this year highlighting instances of anti-South Asian (and, often, anti-Muslim) hate crimes, and advocating for victims and their families. I choose The Sikh Coalition for particular attention given how I have personally relied on their campaigns this year to keep me abreast of news on this front; other noteworthy groups also doing this work include SALDEF and SAALT.
  • 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.
  • Boggs Center was given a place of honour in my 2014 Giving Tuesday list, but I feel it necessary to once again include it in this year’s Top 5, in memory of Grace Lee Boggs whom we lost earlier this year. Boggs’ legacy of social justice and activism indelibly changed the modern Asian American Movement, and the Boggs Center continues to do important community work in the Detroit area.

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 2015 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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Anti-Indictment Rallies for NYPD Officer Peter Liang Draw Smaller Than Expected Crowd in NYC

Posted By Jenn

Protesters march across the Brooklyn Bridge protesting the indictment of NYPD officer Peter Liang, who fatally shot unarmed civilian Akai Gurley in November 2014. (Photo credit: Tom Miuccio / PIX11News)
Protesters march across the Brooklyn Bridge protesting the indictment of NYPD officer Peter Liang, who fatally shot unarmed civilian Akai Gurley in November 2014. (Photo credit: Tom Miuccio / PIX11News)

After over a month of build-up, a “National Day of Protest” that organizers said would involve coordinated rallies opposing the indictment of NYPD rookie police officer Peter Liang occurred last Sunday. Officer Liang was indicted earlier this year by a grand jury on manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges after he fatally shot unarmed civilian Akai Gurley in a darkened stairwell during an unsanctioned vertical patrol late last year.

Last month, thousands of Chinese Americans took to the streets to oppose Liang’s indictment, claiming that the criminal charges against Liang were unfair, and a form of “racial scapegoating”. However, many other Asian Americans (including myself) support Officer Liang’s indictment as a necessary outcome if we are to expect greater police accountability and an end to racial profiling and police brutality. Last week, the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) organized an open letter of support for Officer Liang’s indictment and solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement; over 50 AAPI organizations (including this blog) and more than 200 AAPI individuals — including several community leaders — signed on.

Over the weekend, anti-indictment protesters were scheduled to rally in cities ranging from New York to Los Angeles. In the wake of the growing coverage of incidents of police brutality — including the recent shooting death of unarmed civilian Walter Scott which resulted in criminal charges for the police officer in charge — I was curious to see what impact these recent events might have on Liang’s supporters, whose rhetoric appeared to hinge largely on the assertion that police officers should have the unmitigated right to shoot unarmed Black men and women without consequence.

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Reappropriate joins dozens of AAPI organizations in open letter seeking #JusticeForAkaiGurley

Posted By Jenn

Asian Americans demonstrate in support for justice for NYPD shooting victim, Akai Gurley.

Last month, the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) helped to organize a social media-based selfie campaign to create visibility for Asian Americans who support justice for NYPD shooting victim Akai Gurley, who was killed earlier this year by rookie police officer Peter Liang. Liang, who shot Gurley during an unsanctioned vertical patrol and who failed to perform life-saving procedures in the minutes after Gurley was wounded, was indicted by a grand jury on manslaughter charges in Akai Gurley’s death.

While many support Peter Liang’s grand jury indictment as a necessary first step in establishing accountability and oversight for police in the event of a suspicious civilian death, there are those within the Chinese American community who have interpreted Liang’s indictment as evidence of racism, comparing his indictment to the lack of an indictment for the White police officers in the shootings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

In the first week of March, an estimated two thousand Chinese American protesters marched in New York City in opposition to Peter Liang’s indictment. In the coming week, organizers hope to take those protests national, with a series of demonstrations protesting Liang’s indictment planned for cities around the country.

Not only is opposition to Peter Liang’s indictment frustratingly illogical, but these protests threaten to dominate coverage of Asian American involvement with what has become labelled America’s new Racial Justice Movement. Already, mainstream media outlets have generalized these protests as representative of all Asian Americans, erasing the sharp political divide within the Asian American community on this topic, and more specifically the countless Asian Americans who strongly support Peter Liang’s indictment and broader mechanisms of police accountability, and who stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

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Mark Wahlberg’s victim clarifies the record & forgives actor – but is it enough?

Posted By Jenn


In 1988, Mark Wahlberg plead guilty to assault for two related incidents wherein the actor attacked two Vietnamese American men while yelling anti-Asian slurs. As a teenager, Wahlberg spent 45 days in jail relating to the racialized assaults. Last week, the actor submitted a pardon request asking to have his criminal record expunged of that conviction.

Today, the Daily Mail published an interview with one of Wahlberg’s assault victims. Hoa “Johnny” Trinh tells the paper that he wasn’t aware that his 1988 assailant was a Hollywood celebrity, and he forgives Wahlberg for the attack.

Continue reading “Mark Wahlberg’s victim clarifies the record & forgives actor – but is it enough?”

NYC Chinatown in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy: Still Lacking in Food, Power and Electricity

Posted By Jenn


This photo by Ken Chen shows CAAAV volunteers distributing food and supplies to Chinatown residents still without food, power, or water after Hurricane Sandy.

Ken Chen of Open City Mag has a great piece out about the state of NYC’s normally bustling Chinatown a week after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Chen reports on the work by CAAAV, an established Chinatown community group, which has been on the frontline of Sandy relief efforts in Chinatown:

Hurricane Sandy has given Chinatown a Xanax. The first thing we noticed after coming over the Manhattan Bridge is how bucolic everything seemed. Driving down East Broadway, we found neither the Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic ghost town we’d expected, nor the vibrant, tumultuous, caffeinated pre-Sandy Chinatown of grandmas hawking faux-Louis Vuitton handbags and restaurant deliverymen revving up their electric motorbikes. This was the Thursday after Sandy hit on Monday night. People calmly strolled down the street. It was one of those whatever New York days in fall, when it’s sunny and chilly at the same time. Life was going on, a wobbly new equilibrium. We turned the corner and one of us yelped out, drolly, “Commerce is occurring!” A storeowner, we noticed, had attracted a small crowd of shoppers. We drove closer and saw that it was—that most traditional hoarder of nonperishable goods—a dry foods vendor, selling dehydrated squid, scallops, and mushrooms. We started to feel bad for not bringing more cash.

What we did bring was several gallons of bottled water. We unloaded them at a Hurricane Sandy relief event held by CAAAV, a longtime Chinatown community organizing group, outside their low-ceilinged headquarters at 46 Hester Street, which was currently lit only by a portable light hanging on a hook. This was CAAAV’s second day distributing water, fliers, food, and electricity to Chinatown residents.


Esther [Wang, director of CAAAV’s Chinatown Tenants Project] said, “These are small businesses and low-income immigrants living from paycheck-to-paycheck. Not being able to open your business for a week is devastating. They might not be able to pay their rent. Their landlord might evict them.” Esther was worried this kind of a systematic breakdown in the local Chinatown economy could lead to a fundamental change in the make-up of the neighborhood—just like after 9/11, when many Chinatown residents moved away after being put out of business for just one week.

In the two weeks after September 11, 2001, the neighborhood was cordoned off, with a major thoroughfare blockaded at Park Row in southern Chinatown—a blockade that remains today. As a result, almost three-fourths of Chinatown workers (24,500 out of 33,658) lost their jobs, according to an Asian American Federation Report, with the garment factories losing the entirety of their business volume. Sandy had left behind a weeklong blackout, Esther was telling me, but its economic effects could reshape the neighborhood for a generation. She didn’t want the post-Sandy relief monies to go to the same places they did after 9/11: towards development projects, like luxury hotels.

Read Ken’s full article here: Post Sandy, Day 4: Hester Street in Lower Manhattan

Here’s a video interview of Helena Wong, Executive Director of CAAAV, talking about the organization’s relief efforts.

For more information on CAAAV and their relief work, check out their website here or donate to CAAAV.