Why and How Asian Americans Must Mobilize for Black Lives

Asian American protesters march in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in New York City in July. (Photo Credit: Unknown / Twitter)
Asian American protesters march in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in New York City in July. (Photo Credit: Unknown / Twitter)

By Guest Contributor: Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin (@KaelaMeiShing)

Black lives matter.  Full stop. Any discussion of police violence against American lives must begin and end with (and consist of) the experience of black and brown people in our country.  If we are to end police brutality, that must be our main focus. It’s not for us to make metaphors, excuses, or pander to nonblack people.  Black and brown people are being gunned down in the street, and our job as citizens must be to center on the issues; our activism must not center on our own guilt or our own lives but those of others.

I, however, am a hypocrite.  I’m about to pander in a big way.

This week, I attended a protest in New York City which started at Union Square, organized by NYC Shut It Down, “a multiethnic, multigenerational group of anti-heteropatriarchal activists who fight against militarized policing and racial injustice,” in their own words. “Don’t waste your time arguing with people who don’t believe in the cause,” a speaker had told us at the beginning of the night, “but mobilize your own people.” I paraphrase: words were swallowed in the crush of people, but I was deeply struck by this sentiment.

So this essay is for my people: the well-meaning Asian, white, and racially “other” liberals like me, liberals with our hearts and minds in the right place and our actions slow to catch up.   It’s for us pandering, guilt-motivated people who cry watching yet another video of police brutality, post “Black Lives Matter” on facebook, and then go about our day, the pain of what we saw dissipating as the hours accumulate.  It’s not for people who don’t care about black lives; it’s for those who do.  If you don’t already believe in dismantling the system, in righting its institutional wrongs, you can feel free to look away now, to return to your life of ignorance; you are not my people.

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The Long Road Ahead: Why Black Lives Matter For a Muslim American Woman

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By Guest Contributor: Anisa Khalifa (@anisakhalifa_)

After the killings of this past week, it feels on some level as if words have dried up. As though we have cried and screamed in outrage, for justice, for so long that we have nothing left to say. As if our words are no longer weapons, but lie useless and mute in our hands. As with physical illness, there is a numbness that comes after one has experienced so much pain that the brain and the body become overloaded, and can no longer process what is happening to them.

But this is a long road, one that many have walked before us, and we cannot give up and collapse by the side of the road now.

The Civil Rights Movement was a revolution in its time, and its heroes and martyrs achieved great things, but their work is still unfinished; it has become our work. We have a moral obligation to take on our long history of white supremacy: the violence perpetuated upon black and brown bodies without accountability; the erasure of the suffering and injustice faced by victims of police violence in favor of white people’s “fragility”; the inextricable way that gun violence and the gun lobby is interwoven with a mainstream culture that approves of arming white people and killing black people, and yet putting disproportionate numbers of black people in jail.

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Dear Black Folks

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By Guest Contributor: Stacy G

Dear Black folks

I don’t know what it’s like to question authority because I had the privilege of never having to do so
I don’t know what’s it’s like to have an authority figure see you as a threat before seeing you as a child
Demonizing you before they get to know you
I donft know what it’s like to watch your classmates be called overzealous
While you do the same, and your teachers send you to detention and call you rebellious

Dear Black folks
I don’t know what its like to be followed around a store
Or to feel like a suspect as soon as you walk through the door
I don’t know what’s like to have to tell my future son to fear the police because anything he might do
Might be construed
As a threat and force them to shoot

Dear Black folks
I don’t know what it’s like to live a lifetime of anger and frustration because of what happened to your community
What happened within your community
I don’t know what it’s like to have your tongue ripped out by having a bullet
Strike your heart before you have the chance to have your voice heard

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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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