I was deeply saddened to learn last night from Phil of YOMYOMF (via Byron Wong of bigWOWO) that the Asian American blogosphere has lost one of its oldest members. Last week, Keon Enoy Muneduoang — who wrote under the moniker the Minority Militant — died at the age of 35.
Deeply protective of his anonymity and known to his online readers as the Militant or “TMM”, TMM occupied a corner of the Asian American blogosphere that had little overlap with my own. Nonetheless, the Asian American blogosphere is very small and close-knit. Regardless of our political disagreements, we typically pull together, support one another, and defend each other in our work and our advocacy. Even if we may not know one another offline, we remain consistently unwavering colleagues and allies. This is, above all, a community, and — because it is a very small one — Asian American writers and bloggers always have one another’s backs.
Today, the entire community mourns the passing of one of our own.
Pioneering AAPI Studies scholar and beloved community leader Professor Emeritus Dr. Don Nakanishi passed yesterday afternoon, according to a Facebook post by his family. He was 66.
Born in East Los Angeles to former incarcerees of Japanese American concentration camps, Nakanishi earned undergraduate and doctorate degrees in political science from Yale and Harvard before dedicating his career to the study of Asian American political participation and civic engagement. Publishing over a hundred books over a storied academic career at UCLA, Nakanishi was the first to demonstrate through his research the now widely accepted conundrum of low AAPI voter registration and turnout. Prior to his retirement in 2009, Nakanishi also served for 20 years as Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, the largest and most widely-renowned AAPI studies department in the country.