Exploring Politics Within Politics With Community Organizer Tonia Bui

Tonia Bui, founder of Politics Within Politics and a community organizer in Montgomery County. (Photo credit: Tonia Bui)

By Reappropriate Intern: V. Huynh

Where are women of color in politics? Are they in the decision-making engines? In local city or county councils? On the Hill? Most importantly, are women of color represented in positions where we have actual impact? And if not, why not?

Tonia Bui, creator of Politics Within Politics, incites readers to confront these questions in approaching our own local and national politics. By recounting personal and anecdotal experiences that stem from her extensive career at the Capitol and her current work running a local campaign in Montgomery County, Maryland, as well as the stories of other local women of color, Tonia bravely defines what it means to be an Asian American woman within politics.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Tonia about the beginning of Politics Within Politics, the issues women of color experience in the political world, and Asian American feminism as a framework within politics. The following is a transcript of our conversation, edited for flow and clarity.

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Building Asian American Feminism: In Conversation with the Asian American Feminist Collective

(Photo credit: Asian American Feminist Collective)

By Reappropriate Intern: V. Huynh

Serving as a new and exciting Asian American feminist coalition-building effort, the Asian American Feminist Collective (AAFC) launches September 19th with an official launch party at  6pm – 8pm at Ode to Babel (772 Dean St Prospect Heights, NY 11238). The members urge anyone and everyone to come and show solidarity! Non-NYC folks can also subscribe and stay tuned for future online initiatives.

I asked members of the Collective — Senti Sojwal, Tiffany Tso, Rachel Kuo, and Julie Kim — to discuss their definitions of and ideas around Asian American feminism. The following is a transcript of collected responses and conversations between myself and some of the Asian American Feminist Collective’s members, edited for length and clarity.

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Exploring Asian American Feminism in Conversation with Asian American Feminist Collective’s Julie Kim

Julie Kim for Equal Means Equal campaign (Photo credit: Patrick Randak)

By Reappropriate Intern: V. Huynh

We are not “docile”, “obedient”, “exotic”. We know that the challenges for disabled, LGBTQI+ women of color are undoubtedly difficult to grapple with. For many Asian American feminists, the question of what Asian American feminism even is and why it is needed thus often arises. To Julie Kim, founding member of the Asian American Feminist Collective, Asian American feminism is a framework she often refers to and that she aims to cultivate with the Asian American Feminist Collective initiative. In New York, Julie describes the circumstances for how she personally became politicized as an Asian American feminist.

The following is a transcript of a conversation between myself and Julie, edited for length and clarity.

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In Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Daniel Henney Proves That Asian Men Are Cool (and Hot, Too!)

CRIMINIAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS - "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders" stars Daniel Henney as Matthew. ( Photo Credit: ABC Studios/Kharen Hill)
CRIMINAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS – “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” stars Daniel Henney as Matthew. ( Photo Credit: ABC Studios/Kharen Hill)

I have a confession to make: I am a huge fan of Criminal Minds. So, I was thrilled to learn earlier this month that CBS had developed a spin-off show called Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, which would focus on a new group of FBI profilers who travel the world rescuing Americans missing overseas. My excitement was compounded when I discovered that Beyond Borders would feature the incredibly talented (and also incredibly easy-on-the-eyes) Daniel Henney.

Born in Carson City, Michigan, Henney worked as an international model before breaking into the film and television industries overseas. Soon, Henney developed a massive fan following in Korea and other parts of Asia for his roles in such television dramas as My Lovely Sam-Soon, Hello Franceska, and Spring Waltz. More recently, Henney has appeared before American audiences in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and as the voice of Big Hero 6’s beloved big brother, Tadashi Hamada.

With Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (premiering on CBS on March 16 at 10pm EST/9pm CST), Henney tackles his first leading role for American primetime television, and it seems like show and actor could not be better matched.

Henney will appear in Beyond Borders as Matthew Simmons, a military veteran and war hero who boasts a virtually unparalleled proficiency with weaponry as well as split-second profiling skills. Henney appears alongside a diverse cast of fellow profilers including team leader, Jack Garrett (Gary Sinise, Forrest Gump, CSI:NY) as well as cultural anthropologist Clara Seger (Alana De La Garza, Law & Order), technical analyst Russ “Monty” Montgomery (Tyler James Williams, Everybody Hates Chris, Dear White People) and medical examiner Mae Jarvis (Annie Funk, A Most Violent Year).

I had the opportunity recently to sit down with Henney and chat a bit about Beyond Borders. That interview appears after the jump, and Henney’s answers have been edited for clarity and length.

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2 Girls | 1 Asian, all awesomeness!

2girls-1asian-noodles

Aspiring actresses Kelly Colburn (@KellyColburn) and Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin (@KaeMeiShing) are burning up the internet right now with season one of their webseries “2 Girls | 1 Asian”, a semi-autobiographical dramedy following the romantic and professional trials of best friends and roommates, Caela and Kelliye as they navigate the “social muck of being ‘ethnically ambiguous’ in the arts”. Both Colburn and Garvin, along with their semi-eponymous alteregos, are biracial and Asian American.

Indeed, 2 Girls | 1 Asian has set their sights to the stars, and in so doing are pushing the boundaries of how the internet is advancing progressive independent media. They write:

2 Girls | 1 Asian is devoted to diversity, gender equality, and tackling topics that aren’t readily addressed in mainstream entertainment today.  Our series passes the Bechdel test, presents characters outside of Asian-American stereotypes, and features young independent artists of all races, backgrounds and disciplines–including the musicians whose songs we showcase weekly on our soundtrack.

Between the series’ dedicated focus to elevating the stories of Asian American women (the show passes the Bechdel test in spades) and exploring biracial identity, the show is nothing if not courageous. Colburn and Garvin are pushing boundaries artistically as well as politically: the two have tackled all the steps from script to screen, and one recent episode was even an all-musical episode.

Recently, I had a chance to interview Colburn and Garvin about their 2 Girls | 1 Asian project. Check it out after the jump.

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