Deportations of Southeast Asian Americans: A Glaring Human Rights Issue in an Unjust Immigration System

Organizers in Tacoma. (Photo Credit: 1Love Movement)
Organizers in Tacoma. (Photo Credit: 1Love Movement)

By Guest Contributors: Chanida Phaengdara Potter (@LittleLaosBlog, @chanidanoy) and Mia-lia Boua Kiernan (@1lovemovement1)

Last week, war veterans, mothers, fathers, family, friends, and children held signs of pleas to stop deportations of their loved ones.

Organized by family members of those detained, and supported by a coalition of API advocacy organizations, people lined the streets of Minneapolis outside Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office to demand justice after almost a dozen Cambodian Minnesotans were detained for deportation. This isn’t solely in the Cambodian community. Just last year, the story of Lao American DJ Teace aka Thisaphone Sothiphakhak was in the Minneapolis City Pages.

“That’s the most frustrating feeling,” said Sothiphakhak at the time. “I went through the court system, and literally something 18 years ago came back and made me feel like I was less than human.”

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‘Quantico’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 1, ‘Kudlove’

She's back! Photo Credit: ABC/Giovanni Rufin
She’s back! Photo Credit: ABC/Giovanni Rufin

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)

When we last left Alex Parrish and the world of Quantico, our heroine was considering an unexpected job offer from the CIA.

But apparently Quantico‘s writers room didn’t think that plot twist was enough. Viewers who follow Priyanka Chopra or Quantico’s social media have seen our feeds filled with diamond ring emojis as the show tried to get us excited about the fact that Ryan was getting ready to propose during Sunday’s season two premiere.

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‘Designated Survivor’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 1, ‘Pilot’

Photo Credit: ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg
Kal Penn, Kiefer Sutherland, and Natascha McElhone in ‘Designated Survivor.’ (Photo Credit: ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@lakshmigandhi)

As with any recaps, please be wary of spoilers.

What would you do if you were an earnest civil servant who suddenly became President of the United States after a devastating terrorist attack?

If you’re Tom Kirkman — the Designated Survivor of the ABC show of the same name — you throw up. Repeatedly.

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Priyanka Chopra Has Some Interesting Views On Diversity. We Break Them Down.

Photo credit: ABC/Bob D'Amico
Photo credit: ABC/Bob D’Amico

By Guest Contributors: Lakshmi Gandhi (@lakshmigandhi) and Asha Sundararaman (@mixedtck)

We’re less than ten days away from the season two premiere on Quantico, which means that star Priyanka Chopra is currently making the interview rounds. As soon as I logged into Facebook Thursday morning, I discovered that many of my friends were sharing Refinery29’s splashy new profile of the 34-year-old star.

Unfortunately for Chopra, people weren’t posting about her stunning photos or their excitement over the return of the show. Instead, there was plenty of side-eye towards her views on diversity in Hollywood.

After reading the piece, I immediately reached out to my friend Asha Sundararaman, so that we could have one of our epic Gchat conversations breaking the piece down. An edited version of that conversation is below.

Lakshmi: Asha, what was your first thought once I sent you the new Priyanka profile?

Asha: That I wish Quantico were a better show!

Lakshmi: Don’t we all.

Asha: No actually, it was about the headline. When you say something like “I don’t want a label” (and yes, that might just have been the headline writer), you’re usually missing something fundamental about today’s global culture and the way it operates.

Lakshmi: Yes, I’m instantly wary of any celeb who tries to play that ‘don’t put me in a box’ game.

Asha: Definitely.

Lakshmi: Also, there’s the actual structure of the piece itself. We begin right with a reference to Hindu goddesses. “For eons, women have been told how to be or think or dress,” the quote reads. “I come from a part of the world where this debate is so heated, especially because we’re a country that has goddesses. We pray to women. But at the same time, we prey on them.”

She could have taken a moment to talk about the Indian feminists who have been working to change this. Or mention the current movement to police the way Muslim women dress in Europe and the outrage about that. Instead, we don’t get much.

Continue reading “Priyanka Chopra Has Some Interesting Views On Diversity. We Break Them Down.”

To Build a Name Brand of Chinese Americans

Pedestrians walk by a mural of the American flag in San Francisco’s Chinatown in February 2007. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Pedestrians walk by a mural of the American flag in San Francisco’s Chinatown in February 2007. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Editor’s Note: This post is an English-language translation of a Chinese-language essay that was widely circulated through predominantly Chinese-language social media outlets such as WeChat earlier this month. I had a chance to meet Steven at the inaugural U-C-A convention last week to discuss ways in which discourse may be improved across the political and generational divide within the Chinese American community. This essay reflects Steven’s thoughts on how Chinese Americans might shape our political future in America.

Download (.pdf): English | Chinese

By Guest Contributor: Steven Chen

This article is dedicated to the first United Chinese Americans convention which was held at Washington, D.C. on September 8th, 2016. During the convention, Chinese Americans from all over the cou­ntry gathered to lay out a road map for the future success of Chinese Americans. I wish for the success of the convention.

More than a hundred years ago, people from China came across the Pacific Ocean to America to escape from wars, famine, and poverty. For a very long time, Chinese Americans were discriminated against and treated unfairly. Yet, through the unremitting efforts of many generations, we have achieved remarkable success here in America.

We were hard laborers working in abandoned gold mines, now we are entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley;

We were coolies building the Transcontinental Railroad, now we are the engineers building information highways;

We were illiterates, now we are university professors and Nobel laureates;

We didn’t have the right to testify in courts, now we are lawyers and judges;

We didn’t have the right to vote; now we are Congress members, Presidential Cabinet members, and Governors;

We were stereotyped as degraded, exotic, dangerous, and perpetual foreigners; now we are highly educated, high-income model citizens.

The successes we have achieved today were due to the progress of American society and, more importantly, the hard work of all Chinese Americans in building up a good Chinese brand over the years.

Continue reading “To Build a Name Brand of Chinese Americans”