Black and Filipino Solidarity has a Long History Many Forgot

Photo by VAZHNIK on Pexels.com

By Rohan Zhou-Lee

When a Filipina American woman in upstate New York was brutally attacked on March 11 this year, many Stop Asian Hate activists, particularly Filipinos, were in uproar. After yet another year of heightened anti-Asian violence, we were fed up. Filipinos were rallying in late March in New York City, and I was invited to collaborate. 

As an experienced Filipine American organizer who led The Blasian March, which has spawned multiple local chapters across the country, and received national coverage, I immediately said yes and was eager to contribute. This rally, set for March 30, united young and old, liberal and conservative, and varying genders. This intersectionality energized me. I did behind-the-scenes labor, wrote the press release and created the hashtag and new title, #FilipinosRiseUp, centered on uplifting Filipina women and LGBT folk. 

Soon after, I was nominated to be a speaker, but when it came time for the rally, that invitation was rescinded. The leadership no longer wanted to include me or any other Black Filipinas; they said they wanted to “aim for what is feasible.” 

What is unfeasible about me? I’m Queer/Nonbinary. I’m Filipino. The only difference between me and the other speakers was that I am Black. 

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Asian American Cowboys and Native Erasure

Cowboy riding across grassland with moutains behind, early moring, British Colombia, B.C., Canada.

By Guest Contributor: Dr. Beenash Jafri

In 2021, a prominent billboard featuring the photos of three Asian cowboys was erected in Norwalk, Los Angeles, next to the busy Santa Ana I-5 freeway. It was emblazoned with the declaration: “Asians have been here longer than cowboys.” 

The image was created by the activist coalition Stop DiscriminAsian (SDA) in collaboration with artist Kenneth Tam, and commissioned by For Freedoms. The supplementary analysis by prolific artist Astria Suparak drew necessary attention to Asian migration in the context of larger and longer histories of labor, empire and trade. It concluded by stating that: 

Asians are more American than apple pie, which is derived from an English recipe featuring a fruit that originated in Central Asia. And the iconic cinnamon and nutmeg flavors? Courtesy of Sri Lanka and Indonesia. 

The billboard and text were powerful public reminders that Asians are wrongly perceived to be perpetual outsiders to the US. Yet, a crucial fact was left by the wayside: the billboard was erected on Tongva (Gabrieleno) land. As freeway drivers glanced up at the billboard, they were invited to reflect on Asian American history – but absent in that reflection was any discussion of how it relates to Native peoples and their sovereignty. 

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Becoming Asian in America

The Next American Revolution by Grace Lee Boggs and Scott Kurashige

By Guest Contributor: Michelle Lyu

The article was originally published on the Organization for Positive Peace blog

History is changing and the minds of Asians are bending as they search for a world beyond whiteness. The crises of 2020 exposed America’s moral failure to regard its own people as human. Meanwhile, despite tremendous Western propaganda, China has not perpetrated the kind of imperialistic wars which have marked centuries of rule by the West and is instead seeking to govern on the civilizational value of peace. As America slips from dominance as the world’s predominant military, economic and political superpower, China is poised to take its place as the new global power with a new leadership, guided by moral principles rather than sheer might. 

Within America, Asians are on average the most successfully integrated immigrant group into the dream of white elite life. Young, educated Asians are placed at the helm of productivity and expertise within prestigious American universities and corporate business. Liberal media and institutions celebrate the inclusion and visibility of western-thinking Asians in the name of diversity. Many young Asian Americans achieve ultimate material success early in their careers as academics and professionals yet they live in spiritual crisis, unable to reconcile their place, purpose and identity as people who have subsumed the damaging ideals of the west. In reality, an Asian who has ‘made it’ is strategically positioned by the American ruling class to serve as a bulwark of American empire by defending and propagating western ideology, which assumes dominance and exploitation of the darker nations of the world. 

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On The Urgency of Solidarity

Asian American protesters march in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in New York City in July 2016. (Photo Credit: Unknown / Twitter)

By Guest Contributor: Daniel Yu

Asian America is confronted at this moment with a grave responsibility: the responsibility and absolute moral obligation to speak out in support of black lives.

Asian Americans, particularly those of East Asian heritage, exist at an intersection of privilege and marginalization. A person like myself — a middle-class Chinese American and a son of educated immigrants — faces distinct challenges from structural racism. Acknowledging this does not relinquish the validity of our own struggle nor does it dismiss the injuries we endure from white supremacy. Instead, it recognizes that the project to dismantle white supremacy requires us to stand against white supremacy, which threatens us as well as the very existence of our Black and Brown brethren.

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Solidarity is Love: Taking Asian Diasporic Feminists Back to Black and Asian Feminism in the ’60s

The cover of the Sept-Oct 1972 issue of 'Triple Jeopardy'.

By: Victoria M. Huỳnh

Nearly eight months into 2020, and there is so much to grieve. We are amidst a global pandemic leaving Black, Indigenous, incarcerated, and immigrant communities most vulnerable. Black-led uprisings in the imperial core enraged by the white supremacist murder of George Floyd should have shaken the world awake again: the US internally robs and exploits Black life in duty of its imperialist project that is the US empire. Worldwide, the US empire continues to manifest its devastation in crippling US economic sanctions amidst the bombing of Lebanon, ongoing US-backed Israeli occupation of Palestine, impending US imperialist aggression to China towards a Cold War 2.0, and more. 

To locate this moment, as non-Black Asian diasporas in the imperial core seeking solidarity with Black and other Third Worlded peoples, is to know this moment is fraught with deep struggle since times before ours. It is also yet a testimony to the urgency of committing to Black revolutionary praxis in their fight for a new world— knowing no Black life should have been lost to US empire in the first place. If we fall back on bell hooks’ reminder that, love is profoundly political. Our deepest revolution will come when we understand this truth,” we are forced to rethink what is so necessarily meant by “love” in and beyond these times. And if solidarity is love, we should be pushed to pursue a solidarity that is not just conscious of being against white supremacy, US imperialism, patriarchy, or global capitalism [wrongfully marketed] as separate systems– but a solidarity for an anti-imperialist, socialist, decolonized world that necessitates Black liberation– and which knows we must take down the US empire in its entirety to achieve so. 

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