Friday, November 07, 2008

Amerasia and AAPI Nexus Journals Go Online

Good news for researchers in this release by UCLA:

Los Angeles-The UCLA Asian American Studies Center has launched an internet site for its two academic journals, Amerasia and AAPI Nexus. Starting November 2008, subscribers will be able to access Amerasia Journal and AAPI Nexus articles online.Both journals are recognized core publications in Asian American Studies.

Since its inception in 1971, Amerasia has been the leading interdisciplinary journal in the field. "Amerasia Journal," states Ethnic Studies Professor Yen Le Espiritu (University of California, San Diego), "continues to be an indispensable resource for scholars, students, and the broader community interested in issues affecting Asian Americans.""Amerasia articles contain information and perspectives difficult or impossible to locate elsewhere," adds Serials Review. "This journal is highly recommended for all academic collections and for large public libraries." The searchable, full-text database enables subscribing institutions and researchers access to over thirty-five years of Amerasia articles.

Amerasia's online database features over 900 articles on topics ranging from diaspora and empire, U.S.-Asia relations, and religion to legal/political/civil rights issues, sexuality and queer studies, and multiracial Asians. Library Journal has thus described Amerasia as "a scholarly journal which considers almost every aspect on the role of the Asian Americans" and "an absolute must for universities." In 2003, the Center launched AAPI Nexus Journal: Policy, Practice & Community, the most cutting-edge journal focusing on applied social science research for and on the diverse and growing Asian American and Pacific Islander community. AAPI Nexus draws from professional schools, applied social science scholars, and practitioners, with the explicit goal of reinvigorating Asian American Studies' traditional mission of serving communities and generating practical research."AAPI Nexus Journal is the nation's trusted voice for Asian American and Pacific Islander public policy debates, community-based research, and action-orientated advocacy," said Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development.The AAPI Nexus database includes articles covering civil rights, health, and art and cultural institutions from an Asian American perspective. In addition to research and resource articles, AAPI Nexus also features practitioner essays, where professionals and community leaders draw from their experiences to offer discussions and strategies regarding policy issues facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

The new online databases for Amerasia Journal and AAPI Nexus are valuable resources for libraries and research institutions. Access to the databases will be included as part of a new or renewed yearly subscription. The subscription prices are as follows:

o Amerasia Journal - $445 for institutions; $99.99 for individuals
o AAPI Nexus - $175 for institutions, $35 for individuals

For more information or to place subscription orders, please contact Ying Ming Tu, Distribution Manager, AASC Press, at (310) 825-2968 or aascpress@aasc.ucla.edu. or see: http://www.aasc.ucla.edu

Asian American Village Post-Election Debriefings

Added to the Village our "Post-Election 2008 Asian-Pacific American Round-up," a series of quick capsules debriefing the elections from throughout the Asian-Pacific American community. Who voted for whom? Who turned out and who didn't? Which Asian American candidates won and lost their races? What are the final words from the winners and losers among the candidates' outreach teams? Which Asian Americans will be in the presidential transition team?

The jury's still out on an awful lot of results in-community, but this is where the editors will be posting the capsules as they come in.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Editorials: Hapa Obama and Diversity; Florida's Shame

There is much to be celebrated on the momentous occasion of Barack Obama's election as the first non-white (or "half-white, half-black") Commander in Chief. As the editors were working on our elections debriefing yesterday and this morning, though, we found a mix of both good and bad in-comunity news that will be updated on the Village with snippets posted here on the Asian American Village blog.

The first blend of good and bad news from election night comes AALDEF - the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which coordinated its largest multipartner, multilingual poll monitoring and exit survey campaign to date. AALDEF's findings this year were that turnout by Asian American voters was up, with still-fuzzy but record numbers of us showing up at the polls, including many new citizens and first-timers. The bad news, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that "many encountered barriers at polling places, ranging from inadequate language assistance, improper requests for identification, and missing names on voter rolls". Taking the long-range view, AALDEF has announced that the toll-free, multilingual voter problem report hotline will be kept active to allow community members to continue reporting any election day obstacles or irregularities.

So, did we live up to our much-vaunted promise as an "awakening giant" able to powerfully and disproportionately affect the outcome? Exactly how many of us showed up and how did we vote? Well, no doubt media pollers and political strategists will be teasing that out for a long time to come. At least one early claim, from The Nation, found that in addition to our record turnout, Asian Americans continued our collective leftward trend to support Obama by 63%, joining a number of other demographic "majorities":

Obama's many majorities are, in some, the measures of a unity not seen in some
time. Obama won with overwhelming support from African Americans (96 percent), Jews (77 percent), gays and lesbians (71 percent), first-time voters (68
percent), Latinos (67 percent), Asians (63 percent), voters under 30 (66
percent), union members (59 percent) and women (55 percent). But, in key
battleground states, the Democrat was taking one in 10 votes cast by
Republicans, one in five cast by conservatives, one in three cast by evangelical
Christians.

This "coalition of diverse majorities" is a line of exploration we also took in an IMDiversity editorial, Barack Obama, Diversity and the New Real America, providing our reflections on the relationship between unity and diversity in light of Obama's victory strategy.

But what is also clear is that with coalition-building around a central common goal come compromises. As Florida's Shame and the Limits of Change observes, Obama's coalition was enough to "turn Florida blue" on Tuesday, but his coattails appeared to be limited.

As far as Asian Americans are concerned, "'change' in Florida looks to have been a case of 'two steps forward, one step back,'" as the majority of voters in that actively opted for discrimination on a couple of ballot initatives. A mere 47.9% of the state's voters bothered to support the repeal of an outdated, unenforceable, "Yellow Peril-era" amendment to the state constitution, one of a series of Asian Land Laws created specifically to prohibit Asians from buying land or real estate. Let's say that again: A majority of voting Floridians actively decided to maintain the last last vestiges of the Asian land laws, enshrined in their constitution.

More election debriefing posts will follow as we work our way through the pile. Meanwhile, though, maybe rethink that planned vacation to Disneyworld this winter...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Follow-Up: AALDEF Asian Language Voter Help, Protection Today

In addition to the previous post from APIAVote, this last-minute re-announcement from AALDEF is worthy of noting, keeping with you, and sharing with limited-English friends and acquaintances. -- THE EDITORS

ASIAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE FUND TO POLL 15,000 ASIAN AMERICAN VOTERS
AND DOCUMENT VOTING PROBLEMS IN 11 STATES ON ELECTION DAY
* * *
Multilingual Voter Hotline: 800-966-5946
* * *

New York City...The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 34-year old national civil rights organization, announced that it will dispatch over 1,300 attorneys, law students and community volunteers to 11 states to document voter problems in the November 4th elections. AALDEF will also conduct a nonpartisan multilingual exit poll in 12 languages to get a snapshot of Asian American voting preferences, in light of the surge in newly-registered voters and expected high turnout in this Presidential election.

Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, said: “We want to ensure that all eligible Asian Americans can participate in the electoral process and have their votes counted in this critical Presidential election.”

She said that AALDEF plans to poll 15,000 Asian American voters on Election Day in 11 states with large Asian American populations: New York, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.

POLL MONITORING
AALDEF will monitor over 130 poll sites for compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act. These polling places are in areas with large numbers of newly-registered Asian American voters; jurisdictions in which Asian-language assistance is provided; and sites where Asian Americans have reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections. Volunteer attorneys will check to see whether Asian-language voting assistance has been provided (such as ballots, interpreters, signs and voting materials), whether voter identification requirements are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner, and whether provisional ballots are offered to voters whose names are not in voter lists. Attorneys will also monitor settlements in recent lawsuits against New York, Boston, and Philadelphia for past violations of the Voting Rights Act.

Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF staff attorney, said, “In the 2006 midterm elections, Asian Americans had to overcome numerous obstacles to exercise their right to vote. AALDEF volunteers identified mistranslated ballots, interpreter shortages that led to Asian American voters being turned away, and poll workers who made hostile and racist remarks about Asian American voters. AALDEF will guard against the disenfranchisement of new citizens and limited English proficient voters.”

MULTILINGUAL EXIT POLL
AALDEF will conduct a nonpartisan exit poll of Asian American voters in 12 languages: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Tagalog, Khmer, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and Gujarati. Voters will be asked their preferences in the Presidential and local races, top reasons for their choices, party affiliations, whether they are first-time voters, use of Asian-language voting assistance, and specific problems encountered at the polls. The AALDEF exit poll reveals vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys. In the 2004 Presidential election, AALDEF polled 10,789 Asian American voters in 8 states--the largest poll of its kind in the nation. AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988, noting the steadily increasing numbers of new citizen and first-time voters.

MULTILINGUAL VOTER HOTLINE: 800-966-5946
Multilingual volunteers will be at poll sites to take complaints from voters about election irregularities and other barriers to voting. Voters can also report Election Day problems to AALDEF’s toll-free Election Day Hotline at 800-966-5946, or by e-mail at votingcomplaints@aaldef.org.

ELECTION PROTECTION WEB CAMPAIGN: http://www.aaldef.org/vote2008
AALDEF has launched a new web campaign with tools to encourage voter participation and to recruit volunteers across the country to serve as nonpartisan voting rights monitors in AALDEF's Asian American Election Protection Project. They include a new Asian American Election Protection homepage, http://www.aaldef.org/vote2008; videos on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/user/aaldef, and a new Facebook group: http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23872961251. AALDEF's new election blog, http://aaldef.blogspot.com, will also be updated with reports of voter problems and the preliminary results of AALDEF's multilingual exit poll.

AALDEF voting rights coordinator Bryan Lee said: "AALDEF will be expanding all of these new web services with more information about our Asian American Election Protection project on Election Day and beyond."

AALDEF is partnering with 57 national and local groups to mobilize volunteer attorneys, law students, college students and community activists on Election Day:

National Co-Sponsors:
Asian Pacific Islander American Vote
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Korean Amer. Service and Educ. Consortium
North American South Asian Bar Association
Organization of Chinese Americans
South Asian Americans Leading Together

Legal Co-Sponsors:
AU Wash. College of Law, Human Rights Clinic - DC
Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago - IL
Asian American Bar Association of New York
Asian American Lawyers Association of MA
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Greater DC
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of PA
Asian Pacific American Lawyers Assoc. of NJ
Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center – DC
Greater Boston Legal Services: Asian Outreach Unit
Indian American Bar Association of IL
Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater NY
South Asian Bar Association of DC
South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey
South Asian Bar Association of New York
South Asian Bar Association of Michigan
U. Penn. School of Law, Public Interest Office
Temple U. School of Law, Public Interest Office - PA

Local Co-Sponsors:
ACCESS - MI
Asian American LEAD - DC
Asian American Society of Central Virginia
Asian Community Development Corporation of Boston-MA
Asian Pacific American Agenda Coalition – MA
Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia - PA
Conference for Asian Pacific American Leadership – DC
Chinatown Voter Education Alliance – NY
Chinese American Voters Association – NY
Chinese Progressive Association – MA
Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia
Committee of 70 - PA
Filipino American Human Services Inc. – NY
Hunter College/CUNY, Asian American Studies Program
Korean American Coalition – DC
Korean American Voters’ Council of NY/NJ
Korean American Resource & Cultural Center - IL
Korean Community Service Center of Greater DC
Maryland Vietnamese American Mutual Association – MD
Mass VOTE - MA
National Association of Korean Americans - DC
One Lowell - MA
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation - PA
Sikh Coalition – NY
South Asian Youth Action! – NY
U. Maryland Asian American Studies Program
Vietnamese-American Initiative for Development - MD
Vietnamese American Mutual Association - MD
Vietnamese American Young Leaders Assoc. of New Orleans - LA
YKASEC:Empowering Korean American Communities–NY
# # #

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that
protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education and
organizing. AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.

Last Word from APIAVote to Help Voting Today

The editors have been working on posting the IMDiversity.com Election Night Results and Protection section, whittling down the crazy array of info out there to compile live coverage streams, a shortlist of places to locate coverage, as well as a detailed section of resources (some ethnic- or language-specific) for identifying, reporting, and getting assistance confronting any voter intimidation, obstruction or other problems today.

Meanwhile, we are posting this succinct, helpful eleventh-hour reminder sheet from the noble folks at the non-patrisan, non-profit APIAVote.org.

FROM APIAVOTE:

As we count down the final hours of this historic election, our board members and staff of APIAVote are urging you to vote if you have not already voted. The action doesn't stop there, the following are three things you can do to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders tomorrow:

1.Bring your friends/family/colleagues with you to the polls.
2.Go through your phone book and call/text your family and friends to go to the polls.
3.Forward this email as a reminder to your family and friends.

Before you vote, keep in mind the following:

1.Double check your polling place before you vote: http://maps.google.com/vote.
2.You are allowed to call or bring a friend with you into the polling booth.
3.You may vote by provisional ballot if your name is not found on the voter records.
4.You may ask for assistance from a poll worker if you have any questions or problems.
5.If you have any problems voting, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

APIAVote's partners are in 14 states working hard for last-minute pushes to get the AAPI vote out as well as protect the voters through election monitoring and exit polling. Over the past several months, APIAVote partners have sent out educational mailers to 100,000 AAPI voters, have knocked on 10,000 AAPI household doors and counting, have had 85,000 live conversations, and robo-called 70,000 AAPI households.

APIAVote partners in conjunction with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) are at AAPI-heavy polling sites to make sure AAPIs are given a fair chance to vote. In addition, APIAVote and its partners are working with AALDEF conducting exit polls.

The election of our lifetime is happening TODAY, and we are asking you one more time to extend yourselves by urging your friends, neighbors, and colleague to invest in the future of our country by casting your ballots. Our children's futures stand on the outcome of today's election, and you can take part in determining this outcome.

Our coalition partners and organizers have energized our communities to get out the vote, and the thousands of voters we have contacted daily is a testament of our community's electoral growth. We are very excited about the results of hundreds of volunteers who were able to register voters, educate voters, and today will push hard to get our AAPI voters to the polls. Your active participation by voting TODAY will keep our AAPI community and especially our leaders accountable to the democratic process, which is both a right and a privilege that must be nurtured and protected.

Together, our vision, our voice, and our votes will make the difference. Remember, "no vote, no grumble."

-Vida Benavides, Executive Director on behalf of the APIAVote family

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Features focus on Vietnamese Support for McCain

This morning's Weekend Edition Sunday program on National Public Radio aired a segment exploring how the national trend of Asian Americans leaning heavily for Barack Obama is being bucked by large portions of the Vietnamese American community. While most national Asian American organziations and the largest proportions of polled APAs from diverse ethnic groups and regions are continuing their leftward trend in 2008, Vietnamese Americans have collectively remained Senator McCain's most stalwart supporters among Asian Americans.

Reporting from Little Saigon in Orange County, Ca., NPR interviews supporters explaining a strong connection they feel for the candidate, in lagre measure out of respect for his serving years in a North Vietnamese prison camp. Online audio for this story will be available at approx. 12:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, as more detailed coverage by the Associated Press' Amy Taxin observes, the "special tie" many Vietnamese Americans feel for McCain has carried over from his time in Southeast Asia to his service in Congress. McCain's subsequent "efforts in Congress on behalf of Vietnamese refugees is being repaid" Taxin writes, in her report from a campaign office in a strip mall in Westminster, which she describes as "ground zero for efforts by Vietnamese-Americans to elect the Republican presidential candidate and, at the same time, increase their political influence."

On the Vietland website, a commentary attributed to Shandon Phan suggests that this sense of connection is not lost even on younger Vietnamese Americans, who may be at a generational remove from the war.
"As young Vietnamese Americans, some of us grew up listening to our parents
tell us bedtime stories of the war...Some may call it a burden, but we take
pride in treasuring that part of our history," Phan writes.

This recognition of the community's history carries a feeling of obligation and gratitude for many voters.
"As Vietnamese Americans who believe that Senator John McCain is uniquely
qualified to lead our nation, we have been handed an unprecedented opportunity
to express our gratitude for his sacrifices. Recognizing this opportunity also
demands us to act," Phan says.

A number of commentators are also watching the Vietnamese American vote closely this Tuesday, seeing it as significant not only for McCain in particular, but also as an indicator of the community's clout. In recent years, much has been written and forecast about the rapidly swelling political influence of Asian American voters overall, and of the growing California Vietnamese community in particular.

However, California's VietAms faced some bracing setbacks in the 2006 elections. As Andrew Lam of New America Media observed, the midterms left Vietnamese Americans "mulling a poor showing byVietnamese American candidates" and "asking why only three out of 18 Vietnamese candidates from California [all incumbents] won their races for city, state and national offices...What happened to the growing political clout of the state's Vietnamese community?"

The community suffered the further blow of scandal, as a scare-letter campaign targeting Latinos dogged O.C. congressional candidate Tan Nguyen well after losing his election effort, and gave rise to a stigma that seemed to unfairly mark the wider community and its candidates. Even though the state AG cleared Nguyen of intending to intimidate voters, the feds charged him with attempting to impede the investigation itself. Nguyen was indicted by a federal grand jury on an obstruction-of-justice charge just last month, and on Oct. 14 entered a not-guilty plea in advance of his December trial, according to the Orange Country Register.

All of these setbacks may be only so many "growing pains," however, as Andrew Lam wrote in his midterms follow-up, "Big Politics in Little Saigon". In the event of a McCain victory on Tuesday, the profile of Vietnamese Americans as a voting bloc could be raised considerably. This would likely position the community to have an important role within the Republican Party, which has otherwise seen a continuing mass-abandonment by other Asian American ethnic groups over several cycles now. As such, it could play also be positioned to play a large role in representing the wider Asian American community itself.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Reminder: MIAAC Film Festival NYC - Nov. 5-9

MAHINDRA INDO-AMERICAN ARTS COUNCIL (MIAAC) FILM FESTIVAL
NOVEMBER 5-9, 2008

Planning to be in New York on November 5 and hung over from the elections?

The full MIACC Film Festival schedule is published, with chock-a-block programming at venues throughout the NYC area after an apparently huge red carpet opening event followed by the NY premeire of Deepa Mehta's Heaven on Earth.

Film buffs -- be there or be square!

Follow-up: SAALT Webinar Recorded Online

For those who missed the SAALT Webinar mentioned in our previouis post, no worries: South Asian Americans Leading Together has made its audio/video presentation available for viewing at your own pace here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Response: Attack on JA Woman in WI

This came in this week:

Anonymous has left a comment on your post: "Japanese American Woman, 58, Beaten While Canvassing in Wisconsin":
I feel bad for her, but she needs to know people are upset on both sides and she
has to take that risk when she goes canvassing in an area she's not familiar
with. she took the chance to root for Obama and has to be aware that that's part
of the territory;, there are many, including myself that don't trust Obama; and
I'm an Asian Pacific ; I also don't believe McCain is a racist at all; he and
his wife have adopted kids of different races, has Obama thought of adopting a
white disadvantaged European child if he's truly not racist himself.


The editors struggled with the decision of whether or not leave up this comment, recently posted to our item about the assault on Nancy Takehara earlier this month. We were sorry but unsurprised that the poster opted to remain "Anonymous". Finally, we determined to leave the post up, even though we fully and forcefully disagree with its logic and sentiments. But we have always tried to create a forum for our readers conducive to frank dialogue about Asian American community concerns, even when we don't share every view or, as in this case, when we oppose them.

Anonymous' logic aptly illustrates what we believe has gone so very wrong in the home stretch of this 2008 presidential campaign, where race is the elephant in the room that no one seems to want to address in the complexity it deserves.

We reject the argument that being physically assaulted is "part of the territory," to be an expected byproduct of "rooting" for a particular candidate. It stinks of "blaming the victim," similar to those who say a woman who is raped "brought it on herself" by being outside at night or dressing attractively. It is disgraceful.

We further refute the notion that violence should be an acceptable -- much less expected -- condition of civic engagement in a civilized society. Citizens should not have to endure assault for their political views, and for participating as citizens in the most important activity that is at the very root of what makes us Americans. This should be beneath us as a country, but apparently it's not in this most tense campaign fraught with racial anxiety.

We also don't understand the logic that views and dismisses this attack based upon John McCain's views about race, one way or the other. The fact of the McCain family's transracial adoption seems a singularly odd litmus test for determining racism; it's rather like people who say "I can't be a racist because I have a Black friend" (or "an Oriental wife"). More baffling still is implying that someone else might be a racist by virtue of having not-adopted a child (of any race).

More to the point, whether or not McCain has adopted an Asian child, or Obama has Asian brothers and sisters, is surely the most superficial possible way of judging their characters and trustworthiness as leaders, and it is also utterly irrelevant to the question at hand. The issue is not John McCain's racism or lack thereof; the issue is the attacker's sentiments, and the ugly, divisive rhetoric that drives them.

What did the attacker mean when he reportedly started screaming that the canvassers were "not his people," grabbed Takehara by the hair and began pounding on the back of her head? Let us venture a guess.

What Asian American has not had the experience of being challenged as foreign, different, alien, not belonging, not deserving, not "real American" enough. Or of people expressing surprise that you speak English, or grilling you about "where are you really from?" Who has not been told to "go back" where we came from?

In the same way that ex-Virginia George Allen sought to deride a Virginia-born, Indian American man at a campaign rally by referring to him as "macaca" and "welcom[ing] him to the 'real world' of Virginia and America," politicians try to score cheap points, stirring outrage among the mob, by casting Asians as essential foreigners. It was true in the late 1800s and remains true today.

And it will remain true as long as Asian Americans -- like "Anonymous" -- continue to kow-tow and make excuses for those who attack us.

See or respond to Anonymous' comment at the bottom of the Takehara posting here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SAALT Webinar on South Asians and Election 2008

This notice came in from SAALT.org. As we've recently written elsewhere, the non-profit, non-partisan South Asian Americans Leading Together has emerged as one of the most vibrant, active and impressive national Asian-Pacific American organizations around, of any focus, with a ton of great programming going on this year.

SAALT has issued a release announcing a Pre-Elections Webinar on October 30th, with a call-in teleconference and online component that anyone can join. SAALT is doing a grat job, and the editors can't recommend them highly enough. Anyone interested in a serious, nonpartisan discussion of policy issues facing the diverse South Asian American commuity should consider participating. Here are the details:

When: Thursday, October 30th at 2pm EST/1pm CST/11am PST
(The Webinar should last an hour and 15 minutes)

Why: South Asian political involvement has been on the rise over the past decade, and the run-up to the November 2008 elections shows that South Asians have been increasingly engaged in the presidential campaigns, voter mobilization efforts, and bids for state and national office. What could South Asian voter turnout look like? What does South Asian involvement in the 2008 elections signify in terms of the community's political maturity?

  • Who: South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), with special guests who will provide observations on South Asian political involvement, including:
  • Vijay Prashad, Professor of International Studies at Trinity College; author of The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World
  • Karthick Ramakrishnan, Associate Professor of Political Science at UC Riverside; principal investigator on the first large-scale national survey of Asian American politics (2008)
  • Ali Najmi, Desis Vote (New York)
  • South Asian Progressive Action Collective (Chicago)
  • Seema Agnani, Chhaya CDC (New York)
To attend, you must register by Thursday, October 30th at 10am EST:

1. Please click the following link or copy into your browser:https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/684743079

2. You will then be asked to register for the webinar. After you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email from the webinar service which has a link; a call-in number; and a conference call-in code.

3. At the appointed time for the webinar (Thursday, October 30th at 2PM EST/1PM CST/12PM PST), please click the link provided in the confirmation email and call the dial-in number listed. When prompted on the call, enter the call-in code from the email. The computer-based portion may take a few moments to load so we ask you to go through this step at least ten minutes before the start of the webinar.

4. To ask questions during the webinar, simply type them into the "Questions and Answers" box on the right-hand side of the webinar interface on your computer screen. If you cannot attend the online visual portion of the webinar, you can still listen in to the audio portion by calling in to 616.883.8055 and entering 426-588-202 as the code.

Questions? Please contact SAALT at saalt@saalt.org.

Diwali Less Sweet in a Hard Year

A good pair of item from National Public Radio this morning reports on how recent bombings cast a pall over India's Diwali celebrations, with a terrific follow-up commentary bringing it home by New America Media editor and occasional featured contributor on Asian American Village, Sandip Roy.

In his audio commentary, Diwali Better Minus The Fireworks, Roy recalls celebrations of years past, both in India and in San Francisco, and how the fear of violence had cast a shadow them at times.

Adding to the gloom of this year's celebrations, a commentary on Reuters reports, is the shaky economic condition of the stock market.

"Diwali, the festival of lights, is here but do we see a pall of gloom with the
BSE Sensex crashing more than 50 percent since January 2008? Things have
come to such a pass that some people have simply stopped looking at their
portfolios. They think it’s too late now to cut losses."

Meanwhile, reports Gavin Rabinowitz of the Associated Press, it's another sign of the times that mithai -- the sticky sweet treats that are a traditional highlight of the festival of lights -- are also losing their allure.

In his article posted in the Asian American Village AP News Headlines section, Rabinowitz examines a heightened waist consciousness in an India whose "economy [is] booming, and its people's waistlines expanding."

"[Mithai] have long been central to this Hindu festival of lights -- sweet,
fudgy goodies rich with cardamon, pistachio and saffron, often coated with an
ethereal foil of pure silver. They are eagerly eaten, given as gifts, offered to
the gods. [But] increasingly, the nation's growing urban middle class wants
holiday presents that better reflect newfound wealth. And an explosion of
obesity and related health conditions has many Indians -- some 35 million of
whom are diabetic -- thinking twice about treats."

It's hard not salivate, though, over the accompanying sidebar recipe for Pista Badam Mithai (Pistachio Almond Sweets). The recipe, adapted from Tarla Dalal's Mithai, features a relatively modest dosage of honey, and promises a preparation time of 15 minutes start to finish.

A little sweetness may be just the thing to momentarily lift the spirits after what's been an anxious year everywhere.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Youmacon (Detroit, Michigan)

Youmacon: Detroit's Anime/Manga/Gaming/J-Music Convention
October 30–November 2, 2008
Hyatt Regency Dearborn, Dearborn, Michigan

Start your engines. Metro Detroit's first and only anime convention is returning for its fourth year, and it's bigger and better than ever. Here at Youmacon, thousands of otaku from Michigan and beyond meet anime voice actors face to face, compete for masquerade and cosplay trophies, and shop for treasures of their favorite fandom. Youmacon's original events immerse you in the experience of becoming a Japanese chess piece in a game of shougi, leading a team to the Star in a live action Mario Party battle, and being served by maids in a relaxing cafe. And the fun keeps going, because Youmacon provides nonstop 24-hour gaming, anime music videos, and video programming.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vicente M. Diaz “When Vessels Collide: The Revitalization of Traditional Canoes and Postcolonial Commemorations in the Pacific Islands”

University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities presents:
Remaking Heritage
Vicente M. Diaz
“When Vessels Collide: The Revitalization of Traditional Canoes and Postcolonial Commemorations in the Pacific Islands”
Tuesday, October 28, 12 PM, 202 South Thayer Washington Street, Room 2022, Ann Arbor, MI

This talk on the revitalization of traditional canoes in the Pacific Islands is part of series of brown bag talks on Remaking Heritage.

Vicente M. Diaz is Pohnpeian and Filipino, born and raised on Guam. He taught Pacific History and Micronesian Studies at the University of Guam from 1991 to 2001, before joining the faculty at the Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies unit, Program in American Culture, The University of Michigan. Diaz's research and teaching interests include Native Pacific Cultural Studies, Cultural Studies of Sports, Traditional Voyaging, and Pacific Film and Video Production and Studies.

Free and open to the public

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hula Soundings! A Lecture/Performance by Amy Ku’uleialoha Stillman

U-M Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments presents

Hula Soundings! A Lecture/Performance by Amy Ku’uleialoha Stillman
Sunday, October 26, 2-3:30 pm: Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave at William ▪ Ann Arbor

Witness and enjoy the richness of the Hawaiian hula tradition that few visitors to Hawai’i are privileged to see. This presentation includes performances with rarely-seen instruments such as ‘uli’uli, ‘ili’ili, ipu heke, and the most sacred instrument, the pahu drum.

Dr. Amy Ku’uleialoha Stillman is Associate Professor of American Culture and Music at University of Michigan. Born and raised in Hawai’i, she is a dedicated scholar of Hawaiian music and culture, and the author of Sacred Hula (1998) as well as numerous articles in international academic journals. Dr. Stillman is also Director of Great Lakes Hula Academy based in Ann Arbor.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Asian University for Women Launched; Seeks Inaugural Faculty

This just came up on the IMDiversity.com Asian American Village Jobs Center. The editors thought it of interest both as a major development in international women's education access and for scholars/educators possibly interested in participating in the enterprise from the ground-floor:

The Asian University for Women is inviting applications for its inaugural faculty of 16 positions to begin in Bangladesh in July 2009.

The AUW is being established as a leading institution of higher education for women across South and Southeast Asia. While international in its vision and scope, the University will remain rooted in a context unique to the diverse cultural, religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds of South and South East Asia. The civic and academic goal of the AUW is to better prepare disadvantaged women of high ability and potential through a world-class education that will encompass both the progressive liberal arts & sciences and requisite professional training in order to further the intellectual and professional development of eligible young women.

The AUW is currently advertising calls for faculty applications in three areas:
Review of applications begins this week. The AUW is being supported in the U.S. by a Boston/Cambridge-based Foundation.

The IMDiversity.com Asian American Village Jobs Center periodically highlights a shortlist of featured opportunities of particular interest to Asian American Village readers, culled from among the tens of thousands of job postings at the IMDiversity.com Career Center Job Bank.

‘NEW YORK-BOMBAY: Evening with Mira Nair and Suketu Mehta’

PRESENTED BY MOVING IMAGE AND INDO-AMERICAN ARTS COUNCIL
New York
November 7, 2008

Film director Mira Nair and author Suketu Mehta, two of the most prominent Indo-American cultural figures, will discuss their work and their perspectives on contemporary Bombay and New York City, in a special program presented in collaboration between Museum of the Moving Image and the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival. The event, New York-Bombay: An Evening with Mira Nair and Suketu Mehta, will take place on Friday, November 7, 2008 at The Times Center in Manhattan. The evening will include a conversation moderated by the Museum’s Chief Curator David Schwartz.

The program is part of the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival, November 5-9, presented by the Indo-American Arts Council. The festival features New York and US premieres of independent Indian and diaspora films, panel discussions, and special events. For more information and a full schedule, visit http://www.iaac.us.

AALDEF APA Election Protection and Polling Project Underway

AALDEF Announces Plans for Asian American Election Protection Project and 11-State Multilingual Exit Poll for November 2008 Elections
*******************
New Web Campaign Launched on Facebook and YouTube
Multilingual Voter Hotline: 800-966-5946
***********

New York City...The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a 34-year old national civil rights organization, announced details of its Asian American Election Protection Project
and nonpartisan multilingual exit poll for the November 4, 2008 elections. Attorneys, law students, and community volunteers will cover 200 poll sites in 11 states with these characteristics: 1) areas with a surge in newly-registered Asian American voters; 2) jurisdictions in which Asian-language assistance is provided; or 3) polling places where Asian Americans have reported voting barriers or intimidation in recent elections.

Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director, said: “We want to ensure that all eligible Asian Americans can participate in the electoral process and have their votes counted in this critical Presidential election.”

She said that AALDEF plans to poll 15,000 Asian American voters on Election Day in 11 states with large Asian American populations: New York, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.

POLL MONITORING

AALDEF will monitor 200 poll sites for compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act. Volunteer attorneys check to see whether Asian-language voting assistance is provided (such as ballots, interpreters, signs and voting materials), whether voter identification requirements are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner, and whether provisional ballots are offered to voters whose names are not in voter lists. Attorneys will also monitor settlements in recent lawsuits against New York, Boston, and Philadelphia for past violations of the Voting Rights Act. AALDEF will offer 25 volunteer trainings in 15 cities. Volunteers can sign up to attend workshops at www.aaldef.org/vote2008.

Glenn D. Magpantay, AALDEF staff attorney, said, “In the 2006 midterm elections, Asian Americans had to overcome numerous obstacles to exercise their right to vote. AALDEF volunteers identified mistranslated ballots, interpreter shortages that led to Asian American voters being turned away, and poll workers who made hostile and racist remarks about Asian American voters. AALDEF will guard against the disenfranchisement of new citizens and limited English proficient voters.”

MULTILINGUAL EXIT POLL

AALDEF will conduct a nonpartisan exit poll of Asian American voters in 10 languages: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Khmer, Hmong, Bengali, Arabic, Punjabi, Urdu, and Gujarati. Voters will be asked their preferences in the Presidential and local races, top reasons for their choices, party affiliations, whether they are first-time voters, use of Asian-language voting assistance, and specific problems encountered at the polls. The AALDEF exit poll reveals vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys. In the 2004 Presidential election, AALDEF polled 10,789 Asian American voters in 8 states--the largest survey of its kind in the nation. AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988, noting the steadily increasing numbers of new citizen and first-time voters.

MULTILINGUAL VOTER HOTLINE

Multilingual volunteers will be at poll sites to take complaints from voters about election irregularities and other barriers to voting. Voters can also report Election Day problems to AALDEF’s toll-free Election Day Hotline at 800-966-5946, or by e-mail at votingcomplaints@aaldef.org.

ELECTION PROTECTION WEB CAMPAIGN

AALDEF has launched a new web campaign with tools to encourage voter participation and to recruit volunteers across the country to serve as nonpartisan voting rights monitors in AALDEF's Asian American Election Protection Project.

Visit our new Asian American Election Protection homepage: http://www.aaldef.org/vote2008
See our videos on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/aaldef
Join our new Facebook group: http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23872961251
Get updates from our new election blog: http://aaldef.blogspot.com

AALDEF voting rights coordinator Bryan Lee said: "AALDEF will be updating all of these new web services with more information about our Asian American Election Protection project throughout the month of October."

AALDEF is partnering with several groups to mobilize volunteer attorneys, law students, college students and community activists on Election Day:
****************************************************************
****************************************************************
AALDEF VOLUNTEER TRAINING SESSIONS
Asian American Election Protection Project
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008 – Chicago, IL
12 Noon – McDermott Will & Emery LLP, 227 West Monroe St., between Wells and Franklin
6:00 PM – Loyola University School of Law, 25 East Peterson St., at North Michigan Ave.

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008 – Detroit, Bloomington Hills and Ann Arbor, MI
12 Noon – Dickenson Wright LLP, 500 Woodward Ave., at Lamed St., Detroit
3:00 PM – Dickenson Wright LLP, 38525 Woodward Ave. (Route 1) at Lone Pine Rd., Bloomfield Hills
6:00 PM – University of Michigan, Michigan Union, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008 –Princeton, NJ
6:30 PM – Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, 502 Carnegie Center

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008 – New York
6:30 PM - Seyfarth Shaw LLP, 620 8th Ave., between 40th and 41st Strs.

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008 – Washington, DC
6:00 PM – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, 1152 15th St., N.W. at M St.

Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008 – Falls Church, VA
6:30 PM – Reed Smith LLP, 3110 Fairview Park Drive

For an updated list of training workshops, go to www.aaldef.org/vote2008.

Japanese American Woman, 58, Beaten While Canvassing in WI

This past weekend, WISN News in Wisconsin reported that Nancy Takehara, 58, was assaulted by a homeowner while canvassing for Barack Obama in the town of Caledonia, WI.

Takehara, a Japanese American from Chicago who had volunteered to canvass in the neighboring state, told WISN that the homeowner first became verbally abusive before the incident escalated to physical violence.

“The next thing I know he’s telling us we’re not his people, we’re probably with ACORN, and he started screaming and raving,” Takehara said. “He grabbed me by the back of the neck. I thought he was going to rip my hair out of my head. He was pounding on my head and screaming. The man terrified me.”

Takehara refused medical treatment, but the police were called in and have reported they are investigating the incident.

The attack comes at a time when the McCain/Palin campaign was been facing increasing criticism for using rhetoric that some see as coded race-baiting, inspiring xenophobic sentiments in its base. The repetition of phrases such as "Real Americans" and attempts to associate Obama with "terrorists" in the waning days of the campaign have recalled for many Asian Americans the 2006 midterms, when VA Senator George Allen similarly hailed "Real Virginians" in the "Real America" before losing his re-election bid after referring to an man of South Asian descent as "macaca" at a campaign rally.

“This negative stuff has to stop,” Takehara told WISN. “We’re all Americans. This is all about protecting our democracy, not about attacking each other.”

Takehara said she was comforted to have received a personal phone call from Barack Obama after the incident. “Senator Obama understood…," WISN quoted her as saying. "It was wonderful. It made me feel wonderful. It made me feel connected to this government again.”

On the Web

WISN Coverage of Assault

Google News Coverage: q=nancy+takehara

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vivien and The Shadows: Ong Keng Sen/Theatreworks World Premiere

Vivien and The Shadows: Ong Keng Sen/ Theatreworks (World Premiere)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 7:30pm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Memorial Hall

A soul-stimulating, post-modern spectacle, Vivien and The Shadows melds film/performance, race, gender and sexuality. Internationally lauded Singaporean director Ong Keng Sen gathers some of the best talents in global performing arts and transports us into the fantasy world of Vivien Leigh’s Blanche DuBois, inspired by the 1951 film, A Streetcar Named Desire.

With new texts by acclaimed Asian-American playwright Chay Yew; soundscapes by pioneering London electronica artist Kaffe Matthews; sizzling videos by CalArts media artist Brian Gothong Tan; and three virtuoso performers who witness, impersonate and accompany Vivien Leigh-Blanche DuBois to her transcendence: multiple Obie-winner Karen Kandel, art-burlesque star of the New York underground Julie Atlas Muz, and the charismatic Charlotte Engelkes from Sweden.

Vivien and The Shadows is commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts.

"Ong Keng Sen is one of Singapore's...cultural jewels."
- The Guardian, UK

Friday, October 17, 2008

WAYNE WANG'S "THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA"

CAAM'S PRODUCTION of WAYNE WANG'S "THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA"
PREMIERES FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17 AT 9:00PM PST
ON YOUTUBE'S® NEW SCREENING ROOM
www.youtube.com/ytscreeningroom


Acclaimed filmmaker Wayne Wang's new film THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA will make its world premiere on YouTube® on Friday, October 17, 2008. The free release will go live on YouTube's recently launched Screening Room, www.youtube.com/ytscreeningroom, a channel dedicated to premium film content.

In THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA, Sasha (Ling Li) is a foreign exchange student who finds herself pregnant. She's the new generation of China, unmoored to traditions and history. As she says, "In America I learned a new phrase, 'moving on.' Tomorrow I can start a new page." She travels from Nebraska to San Francisco to get an abortion, but in her exploration of the city in the next 24 hours she learns that turning a new page doesn't necessarily mean turning your back on the past.

THE PRINCESS OF NEBRASKA is adapted from a collection of short stories by award winning author Yiyun Li.

To learn more about the film, visit:
http://mediafund.asianamericanmedia.org/supported-projects/princess-of-nebraska/

Please use the link below to view/embed the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJISq4MyfKg

To download hi-res images please visit:
http://www.magpictures.com/presskits.aspx

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

NCAPA Platform for Asian Pacific Americans - National Policy Priorities for 2008

Once again, the nebulous but important National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a consortium comprising at least 26 major nonpartisan organizations representing widely diverse AA and PI communities, has issued the nation's most comprehensive AA/PI policy platform in advance of the national election.

This coalition regularly undertakes an enormous and often thankless "herding of cats" to compile and distill an accessible listing of the most significant, bottom-line legislative issues of concern to its participants, including most of the largest pan-Asian and ethnic-specific nonprofit and civil rights groups in the country. But this document serves as a vital community blueprint for current and aspiring officeholders, including the next President.

While there are scores of specific recommendations contained in the full document relevant to individual ethnic communities as well as women, LGBT, and other subgroups, a number of these are organized into main sections of general concern: civil rights, economic justice, education, health care reform, and immigration.

An excerpt from the introduction to the Executive Summary stresses some additional key issues "that are relevant to all of the public policy concerns and recommendations that are included in the main body of the Platform:"

1. Data: More accurate data about Asian Americans (AAs), Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders (PIs) must be collected and disseminated.

2. Access: All community members must have equal access to publicly supported Programs and services, regardless of English language ability and other
factors.

3. Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Congress must enact, and the President must sign into law, sensible comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together, provides and path to citizenship, and is fair and humane.

4. White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: The next Administration must support and further develop the Initiative and the Commission, which have worked to ensure that AAs and PIs can fully participate in all aspects of the federal government’s operation.

5. AA and PI Organizations as Resources for the Federal Government: The
next President must direct his or her Administration to partner more fully with
national and local organizations that are rooted in the AA and PI communities in order to most effectively formulate and pursue policies that are in the communities’ interest. NCAPA members stand ready to pursue this course of action with the next Administration.


Read the Executive Sumary and download the full NCAPA Call To Action: Platform for Asian Pacific Americans - National Policy Priorities 2008.

SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Goes Into Effect

Bipartisan Act Began October 1; However, Implementation Process Still Needs to Be Put in Place

Release by SERAC: Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

October 6, 2008

Washington, DC – On September 30, 2008, the President signed the Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act
which provides an additional two years of SSI for elderly and disabled refugees who have been cut off
from their SSI benefits because of the seven year time limit for refugees and other
humanitarian immigrants. This two-year SSI extension is set to expire in 2011.

The law was effective starting on October 1, 2008. However, please note that there is
not yet a process in place to implement this two year extension. This means that eligible
individuals will not yet be able to immediately receive this extension, but SEARAC will
be sure to announce when a process is in place and what eligible individuals need to do.

For many elderly and disabled refugees and other humanitarian immigrants, including
Hmong and Montagnards who fought honorably alongside American soldiers in times of
war, SSI provides the very basic means for survival. The SSI program pays minimal
monthly benefits to elderly and disabled adults and children who are low income and
have limited resources to maintain self sufficiency.

“This extension is a positive step to ensuring that elderly and disabled refugees are not
thrown into destitution, due in large part, to the barriers that they experience in attaining
their citizenship and ultimately losing their SSI after seven years,” states Doua Thor,
Executive Director of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

SEARAC commends the advocacy efforts of numerous national advocacy organizations,
local community partners and congressional offices, including sponsors, Senator Smith
(R-OR), Senator Kohl (D-WI), Congressmen McDermott (D-WA) and Congressman
Weller
(R-IL) as well as their staff in leading this cause.

For more information, please contact Helly Lee at 202-667-4690 or helly@searac.org.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Much to Celebrate at TexAsia - Oct. 11 and 12

After surviving "Ike," we were thrilled to hear, the Houston-based crew from TexAsia are going full-steam ahead with their planned pan-Asian festival on October 11 and 12.

They write:

YOU and yours are invited to Celebrate ‘surviving Ike’ at our FREE Event
Oct. 11th & 12th at Houston City Hall!

TEXASIA magically transforms City Hall’s shimmering pond to a rare
reflection of the Enchanted Orient.

EXPLORE the colorful traditions of Opulent Opera, Lavish Lion Dances,
Taste-Tempting Cuisines & more!

ENJOY Dazzling Dance, Mesmerizing Music and Utterly Awesome Martial
Arts. Delicious delectables by Kim Son’s Sidewalk CafĂ© and luscious
libations of Pearl Teas, Tiger Beer and distinctive spirits by Martell Cognac
are offered to refresh.

PLAY Bungee Basketball & Pop-A-Shot with The Houston Rockets.
Houston’s American Diabetes Association hosts Pick-Up Ping Pong Games for fun
and prizes

DISCOVER mystical Tibetan temple Dzi beads, blessed by lamas, finding
their “ destined owners ” at TEXASIA. Intricate hand fans, masks,
hand-made jewelry of semi-precious gems and hand crafts will delight the
discerning collector.

EXPERIENCE Fun’s Cantonese Opera and Lion Dances of Texas with the arts
of Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, The Philippines, India, Thailand and the
Pacific Islands in this whirlwind tour of the Orient in The Bayou City.

ADMISSION IS FREE. Join us for this sparkling celebration!

From Deep in the Heart of Asian Art- TEXASIA Visit us online at
http://www.texasia.net

Our long-time readers may recall that a couple of years ago, the future of Houston Asian American Festival (HAAF) seemed shaky when its host backed out. But by all appearances, the festival seems to be stronger than ever in its new space, and with a new brand and website and wider regional draw. Area residents and visitors should definitely check out this free event with a great line up of acts and attractions!

Report: The State of Asian America: Trajectory of Civic and Political Engagement

The nonprofit organization, Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. has released its 5th public policy report: The State of Asian America: Trajectory of Civic and Political Engagement, and is backing it up with a series of roundtable events now traveling cross-country. The next two events are being held in:

Los Angeles October 7
San Francisco October 8

Through the report, LEAP seeks to provide community activists, policymakers and researchers with "a road map for Asian American civic engagement in two crucial ways: first, help readers understand what the future might hold for Asian American civic engagement; and second, stimulate and focus discussion on possible ways to intervene to take advantage of potential opportunities and to meet new challenges."

For a free electronic download of the book, click here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ashwin Madia Spars in Debate with MN 3rd Candidates


One of the season's big buzzes in House races has been the "improbable rise" and growing momentum of Ashwin Madia, an Indian American attorney and Iraq veteran seeking to replace retiring Republican Rep. Jim Ramstad in MN's 3rd District. It is widely viewed as an at-risk seat for the GOP, and Madia -- himself a former Republican who switched parties over the Bush Iraq policy -- has garnered support from a number of national networks among Asian Americans and progressive circles, and a good deal of attention from the national party.


In this week's debate reported on by MN Public Radio, Madia squared off against Republican Erik Paulsen, and Independence Party candidate David Dillon over taxes and foreign policy, and Madia's Iraq experience lent weight to his arguments on topics such as how to deal with Iran and the U.S. relationship with Israel.


He spoke frankly and at length in an interview for Rediff News this month about his background, family, the war, his policy views and the reception by Indian Americans to his candidacy.

Win or lose, Madia's made a strong performance in the race, and is emerging as one of the young Asian American politcians to watch this year and beyond.


Learn more about him at the Ashwin Madia for Congress website.
Image: Ashwin Madia at the Democratic National Convention with former Cabinet Secretary Norman Mineta.


Study: Asian American Undecideds May Play Key Role Nov. 4

The 2008 National Asian American Survey, released at a Washington, D.C., press conference this morning, paints a portrait of an Asian American electorate still largely "up for grabs" due to an uncommonly high proportion of "non-partisan," undecided likely voters.

While the findings show that the continuation of a decade-long leftward trend among Asian Americans, with 41 percent likely to favor Obama versus 24 percent supporting John McCain, researchers point out that a key finding of their study is the high numbers of undecided Asian American likely voters: 34 percent, compared with 8 percent among the general population reported in national, post-convention polls.

The researchers suggest that Asian American voters stand to play "a significant role" in not only those battleground states such as Virginia, Nevada and Washington where they account for 5 percent or more of the population, but even in states such as Colorado, Ohio and Florida, where they can still theoretically provide the margin of victory.

The study was conducted by researchers from four leading universities: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley); University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside); and University of Southern California (USC).

For the complete release details, see the posting, Study: APA Undecideds May Play Key Role Nov. 4

S.D. Asian Film Festival Coming Up in October


RELEASE: SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL BACK FOR ITS NINTH YEAR

(2008-09-15)

The San Diego Asian Film Festival presented by Toyota Matrix has announced its ninth season, taking place at the Mission Valley UltraStar Cinema at Hazard Center, OCTOBER 9-16, 2008. As San Diego’s largest Pan Asian cultural event, more than 20,000 attendees will experience over 130 short and feature films from a record 17 countries including the Canada, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong , Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and the U.S. The complete program schedule will be released in September online at www.sdaff.org

Highlights include:

Opening night film on Thursday, October 9 with the theatrical premiere of Academy Award Winning director Jessica Yu’s first narrative feature, PING PONG PLAYA, a hilarious comedy about a young man trying to fight for his family’s ping pong dynasty

Closing night film on Thursday, October 16 - ALWAYS 2: SUNSET ON THIRD STREET, directed by Yamazaki Takashi, sequel to a heartwarming post-war Japanese film that swept Japan’s version of the Academy Awards.

U.S. premiere of the most sought-after martial arts froms from Thailand, CHOCOLATE, directed by Prachya Pinkaew, who also directed “Ong Bak”; plus Premiere of Korean thriller hit PUBLIC ENEMY RETURNS directed by Woo-Suk Kang

Controversial documentary, DIRTY HANDS: THE ART AND CRIMES OF DAVID CHOE directed by Harry Kim

Free Films at Four series, offering free films to public at 4PM October 13-16

Twelve short film programs including the popular all-animation program ANIMATION: THE ILLUSION OF LIFE and REEL VOICES, a free short documentary showcase by local high school students


Film festival organizers will also encourage attendees to register to vote through a REEL IN THE VOTE campaign to address why Asian Pacific Islanders have the lowest voter turnout and lowest political participation.


Along with screening PSAs encouraging voter participation, the festival will present a free REEL IN THE VOTE films program on Tuesday, October 14 at the Hazard Center UltraStar.

Boat People SOS Calls Seeks Aid for Ike Survivors

Are you in the Gulf Coast? Have time or language skills to donate to a good cause? Consider this plea from organization, Boat People SOS:

Boat People SOS Meeting Urgent Needs Today, Empowering Vietnamese Communities for Tomorrow:

"Urgent! BPSOS Seeks Houston-Area Volunteers to Help Hurricane Survivors

September 19, 2008: The Gulf Coast's Vietnamese Americans need your help! Ike and Gustav hit the Gulf Coast even harder than Katrina, and we are working to connect evacuees to urgently-need services. On Thursday and Friday alone, BPSOS-Houston staff and our fantastic volunteers helped 226 people deal with the disaster!

You can make a difference, especially if you are bilingual. Join us at the office to record people's needs and contact information, and refer them to the right services! Houston is the focus now, but we are collecting information about areas that are safe to deploy volunteers.

To volunteer in Houston, or at locations to be determined, call (281) 530-6888, or email info@bpsos.org."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No Joke: George 'Macaca' Allen Featured in Minority Outreach Rally

Yes, that's what we said...

In the "What Were They Thinking?" category, the Washington Post reports that none other than ex-Virginia Senator George Allen was tapped by Northern Virginia Republicans to be a headliner at this weekend's "ethnic unity rally" ostensibly planned to " to increase their appeal with Northern Virginia's large minority population."

And yes, it's that George Allen, who was just two short years ago ousted from his Senate seat by Jim Webb during the 2006 midterms, in no small part because of the backlash to his videotaped use of the macaca ethnic slur, and follow-up investigations of his pattern of such racial attitudes, not to mention his controversial fondness for the Confederate flag.

The rally was held at Edison High School in Alexandria, and was reported to have attracted several hundred supporters -- falling short by about half of the expected turnout.

View the full report at The Washington Post.

Indo-American Arts Council NYC Playwrights' Week

Release

INDO-AMERICAN ARTS COUNCIL AND THE LARK PRESENT PLAYWRIGHTS’ WEEK 2008

NEW YORK, NY – The 15th Annual Playwrights’ Week as presented by the Indo-American Arts Council and the Lark Play Development Center will take place from September 22nd – 28th at the Lark Studio in midtown. This year’s writers include: Mark Borkowski, Kathleen Cahill, Steven Gridley, David Jenkins, Lila Rose Kaplan, Ismail Khalidi, Motti Lerner, Dano Madden, James McLindon, Allison Moore, and Lina Patel.

In addition to the readings of these new plays, there will be three events to help celebrate Playwrights’ Week 2008. To start off the festival will be Meet The Writers with host Morgan Jenness (Abrams Artists) on Monday, September 22 at 8pm, where each writer will talk a bit about themselves and read an excerpt from their play.

On Tuesday, September 23, following the reading of Motti Lerner’s BENEDICTUS, there will be a panel moderated by Catherine Coray (hotINK International Festival Director) entitled “A Discussion About Intercultural Collaboration” with the playwright and his collaborators Dr. Mahmood Karimi-Hakak, Roberta Levitow, Torange Yeghiazarian, and Daniella Topol (Director).

To celebrate the close of the Playwrights’ Week 2008 on Sunday, September 28th, the Indo-American Arts Council will host a celebration following the reading of Lina Patel’s SANKALPAN (Desire), which will also feature the announcement of the 2008-09 Indo-American Arts Council - Lark Playwright-in-Residence. All Playwrights’ Week 2008 readings and events are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule and reservation information, please visit: www.larktheatre.org.

The Playwrights’ Week selection process started in November of 2007. Hundreds of scripts were submitted through the Lark s open submission policy. Finalists were chosen through a rigorous process involving the Lark’s Literary Wing, comprised of dozens of theatre artists and community members. The final eleven playwrights were selected by a group of esteemed industry professionals including: Catherine Coray, John Clinton Eisner (Lark Producing Director), Suzy Fay (Lark Associate Program Director), Daniel Jaquez (Calpulli Danza Mexicana), Morgan Jenness , Katori Hall (playwright, HOODOO LOVE), Miles Lott (Lark LitWing Chair), Aroon Shivdasani (Indo-American Arts Council), and Rob Urbinati (Queens Theatre in the Park), and Jose Zayas (Immediate Theater Company).

Playwrights Week 2008 is generously supported, in part, with public funds by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and with major support from Jerome Foundation, NYC Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Time Warner’s Diverse Voices Fund and MetLife Foundation. Playwright fees are supported by The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation.

A laboratory for new voices and new ideas, the LARK PLAY DEVELOPMENT CENTER provides playwrights with indispensable resources to develop their work. The Lark brings together actors, directors, playwrights and the community to allow writers to learn about their own work by seeing and hearing it, and by receiving feedback from a dedicated and supportive community. The company reaches into untapped local populations and across international boundaries to seek out and embrace unheard voices and diverse perspectives, celebrating differences in language and worldviews. The Lark also plays a leading role in advancing unknown writers and their works to audiences through carefully stewarded partnerships with a host of theaters, universities, community-based organizations, and NGOs, locally, nationally and globally. The Lark is led by Producing Director, John Clinton Eisner and Managing Director, Michael Robertson. For more information, www.larktheatre.org or www.iaac.us.

Plays developed at the Lark regularly go on to full productions at theaters across the country. This past year Theresa Rebeck’s MAURITIUS was produced on Broadway by Manhattan Theatre Club, and David Henry Hwang’s YELLOW FACE premiered at Center Theatre Group and at the Public Theater. Rajiv Joseph’s BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO will be presented at Center Theatre Group this spring.

INDO-AMERICAN ARTS COUNCIL is a registered 501(c) 3 not-for-profit, secular service and resource arts organization charged with the mission of promoting and building the awareness, creation, production, exhibition, publication and performance of Indian and cross-cultural art forms in North America: in the performing, visual, literary and folk arts. The IAAC supports all artistic disciplines in the classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. IAAC works cooperatively with colleagues around the United States to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding. IAAC’s focus is to work with artists and arts organizations in North America as well as to facilitate artists and arts organizations from India to exhibit, perform and produce their works here. The IAAC presents annual festivals of Art, Dance, Playwrights & Film as well as several book launches and individual concerts and readings. For more information on the Indo-American Arts Council, visit: www.iaac.us.

All events take place at The Lark Studio
939 8th Avenue (btw 55 & 56) 2nd Floor
1, A, B, C, D, to Columbus Circle
N, Q, R, W to 57th Street

For information: visit www.larktheatre.org or call 212-246-2676, x24

BECAUSE OF THE DEVELOPMENTAL NATURE OF THIS WORK, THESE PRESENTATONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW. FOR A COMPLETE SCHEDULE, VISIT
WWW.LARKTHEATRE.ORG

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Disappearing Number at University of Michigan

A Disappearing Number
Complicite
Conceived and Directed by Simon McBurney
September 10 to 14, Power Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
University Musical Society

How often are you going to find a play about both an Indian character abroad and Math? Not that we APAs are all Math geeks, but, well, you know...

Following its triumphant production of The Elephant Vanishes in 2004, the theater company Complicite (pronounced kum-PLIH-si-tay) returns to Ann Arbor for the exclusive US presentation of its award-winning hit, A Disappearing Number.

In the chilly English surroundings of Cambridge on the cusp of the First World War, the English mathematician GH Hardy unexpectedly receives a letter filled with mathematical theorems from a young Indian visionary, Srinivasa Ramanujan, whose idiosyncratic and creative approach to mathematics ultimately led to some of the most complex and beautiful mathematical patterns of all time.

Complicite’s innovative, multimedia approach frames past, present, and future simultaneously, with the Hardy/Ramanujan collaboration serving not only as a central aspect of the narrative, but more so as a window into a larger world of ideas: about the awesomeness of infinity and its relationship to human mortality, about the beauty of science and our quest for meaning and knowledge, about who we are and how we connect to one another — and ultimately about what is permanent and what disappears forever.

“With touching emotion and unnerving disquietude, A Disappearing Number forces the spectator to consider the facts of love, death, and belonging, within the space of his or her own personal universe.” (New Statesman)

Related Activity: UMS Book Club: The Indian Clerk
Sept. 8, 7 pm, Ann Arbor District Library (343 S Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor, MI)

In David Leavitt’s The Indian Clerk, the English mathematician G.H. Hardy unexpectedly receives a letter filled with mathematical theorems from a young Indian visionary, Srinivasa Ramanujan, whose idiosyncratic and creative approach to mathematics ultimately led to some of the most complex and beautiful mathematical patterns of all time. UMS is assembling U-M experts on math and literature to explore the themes in David Leavitt’s breathtaking novel. This event is an excellent primer for those attending the UMS presentation of the theater company Complicite’s A Disappearing Number, which draws on the relationship between Hardy and Ramanujan as a central story line in the play.

University Musical Society www.ums.org.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Michigan APA Leadership Summit

Asian Pacific American Leadership Summit VI, Michigan

Saturday, September 13, 2008 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
East Lansing Hannah Community Center
819 Abbott Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823

Council of Asian Pacific Americans' (CAPA's) annual APA Leadership Summit focuses on building bridges and fostering growth within the Asian Pacific American community and with other communities to bring about positive social change. With a united voice, we can improve the lives of APAs in Michigan. Online registration and payment at www.capa-mi.org

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Mee Moua, Minnesota State Senator
State Senator Mee Moua was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in a special election in January 2002. She is the nation's first Hmong American elected to a state legislature. Senator Moua chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary and is a member of the Tax Committee, Public Safety Budget Division, and the Transportation Budget and Policy Committee.

Workshops: Economic Growth, Healthcare Access, Justice and Advancement, Civil Rights, and Voter Empowerment of Asians

Sponsored by Council of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA) in collaboration with Governor's Advisory Council on Asian Pacific American Affairs, Asian American Center for Justice/American Citizens for Justice, Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, APIAVote-Michigan, Asian Professionals Organization, Asian Victims Relief Fund, Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Asian Indian Women's Association, Association of Chinese Americans, Filipino American Community Council, Great Lakes Hmong Association, India League of America.

Also, join APIAVote and special out-of-state guests Senator Mee Moua (invited) and Glenn Magpantay (confirmed) at a special reception following the conference, beginning at 5:30 pm at Soup to Nutz Bistro, 123 E. Kalamazoo, Lansing!

check out apiavote.org and capa-mi.org for more info.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Added for the Weekend at the Village

After a somewhat quiet summer working on other things, the editors have been back at work on the Village, and will resume updating the homepage, departments and blog with new features.

Fresh this week:

Unprecedented AAPI Presence at Democratic Convention

By Stewart David Ikeda

On a new prominence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders seen in Denver, from floor to podium. Part of an occasional series that will look at the position of AAPIs in the fall's elections.


Q&A: David Mura on Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire

By Alexs Pate

Interview with the noted author of Turning Japanese and Where the Body Meets Memory, on his new book and first novel, published in September


AAJC Urges LGPA Sponsors to Withdraw Support

Asian American Justice Center calls LPGA's policy requiring foreign players to speak English discriminatory. (Now that's a sporting way to get rid of unwanted competition!)


Other items from the AP: D.C. statue of King Kamehameha to be moved; Wounded Iraq vet Duckworth rips Bush, McCain; Dems support Native Hawaiian self-determination; Study: NFL has slightly more Asian, Latino players; Analysis: Dems' convention floor is ... democratic

Opportunities: Indo-American Arts Council Internship in NY; Tenure Track Position in History - Asian Studies, East Stroudsburg, PA; others.

Indo-American Arts Council (NY) Internship Opportunity

Release by IAAC about Internship Opportunities

Indo-American Arts Council is looking for skilled, dedicated, well organized individuals for fall internships. Interns will have the opportunity to work on our Eighth Annual MIAAC Film Festival, our Eighth Annual Playwrights Festival, preparations for our 2009 Erasing Borders Dance Festival and Art Exhibitions, and will also get involved with the day to day operations of the organization.

All internships require persons with initiative, dedication, and the ability to think outside the box. Internships are unpaid but come with university credit (if applicable)and the ability to learn event organization and management in a hands-on, exciting, stimulating atmosphere. If interested, please email your resume and cover letter to Nikita at admin@iaac.us immediately.
Our office is located at 146West 29th Street, Suite 7R3, New York City. Phone: 212 594 3685.

For information about the IAAC and our activities, please visit www.iaac.us.

The Indo-American Arts Council is a 501 ©3 not-for-profit arts organization passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of South Asian artists in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. For information please visit www.iaac.us

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Soetoro-Ng talks ohana in Denver | starbulletin.com | News | /2008/08/26/

Soetoro-Ng talks ohana starbulletin.com News /2008/08/26/:

Soetoro-Ng talks ohana
Sister weaves together family, dreams
STORY SUMMARY » DENVER » Hawaii teacher Maya Soetoro-Ng took center stage yesterday at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, making the transition to sought-after political speaker.

The half sister of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, gave the Hawaii delegation a shaka yesterday at the Convention.

"In her speech, Soetoro-Ng repeatedly came back to Obama's central theme of wholesale change for the political system, saying that the upbringing provided by her and Barack's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, led the way."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Record APIAs to Participate in Dem Convention

With the general buzz surrounding the opening of the convention in Denver, some pretty big in-community news has been floating about that you won't see on CNN, but is still a good sign of a growing Asian American and Pacific Islander political engagement and clout. We thought we'd share this release for now, but expect views and analyses to follow, or feel free to leave your own here on the blog to get us started.

-- The Editors

-----------


RECORD NUMBERS OF ASIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER AMERICANS TO PARTICIPATE IN DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION ACTIVITIES FOR THE FIRST-TIME

Official Democratic APIA Communications Center To Get Party's Message Out To Asian and Pacific Islander American Communities


DENVER, COLO. - The Democratic National Convention's APIA Communications Center today announced details for Asian and Pacific Islander American events scheduled at this year's convention.

Thousands of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans will participate in this week's activities,
charting the community's greatest involvement in American political convention history.




DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

ASIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER AMERICAN

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS



MONDAY, AUG. 25



9:15 a.m. - Democratic leaders brief media representatives covering the convention.

Colorado Convention Center Rm. 601, 700 14th St.

**NOTE: Listen-only dial-in phone number 866-847-7859.**



10 a.m. - Asian and Pacific Islander American Democratic leaders hold an

official party caucus to outline the campaign's strategy to reach voters.

Colorado Convention Center Four Seasons 4, 700 14th St.



2 p.m. - AAA-Fund holds a discussion with Asian and Pacific Islander

American Democratic activists called the "power hour."

Marriott Hotel City Center, 1701 California St.



2 p.m. - Indian American Leadership Initiative holds a news conference to

announce their community's plans to mobilize voters this year.

Denver Athletic Club, 1325 Glenarm Pl.



3:30 p.m. - Indian American Leadership Initiative holds a reception with

Indian American Democratic elected officials and political appointees.

Denver Athletic Club, 1325 Glenarm Pl.



8 p.m. - APIAVote holds a gala reception to celebrate Asian and Pacific

Islander political leadership.

Marriott City Center, Main Ballroom, 1701 California St.





TUESDAY, AUG. 26



9:15 a.m. - Democratic leaders brief media representatives covering the

convention.

Colorado Convention Center Rm. 601, 700 14th St.

**NOTE: Listen-only dial-in phone number 866-847-7859.**



2 p.m. - Asian and Pacific Islander American grassroots leaders hold a

training and strategy session.

Colorado Convention Center, Korbel Ballroom 3A, 700 14th St.





WEDNESDAY, AUG. 27



9:15 a.m. - Democratic leaders brief media representatives covering the

convention.

Colorado Convention Center Rm. 601, 700 14th St.

**NOTE: Listen-only dial-in phone number 866-847-7859.**



10 a.m. - Asian and Pacific Islander American Democratic leaders hold an

official party caucus to kick-off the largest mobilization of APIA voters in

history.

Colorado Convention Center Four Seasons 4, 700 14th St.



2 p.m. - APIAVote holds a briefing on grassroots strategies to engage Asian

and Pacific Islanders in the political process.

Marriott City Center, 1701 California St.





THURSDAY, AUG. 28



7:30 a.m. - Civil right leaders hold a breakfast commemorating 45th

anniversary of "I Have A Dream" speech.

Colorado Convention Center Korbel Ballroom, 700 14th St.



9:15 a.m. - Democratic leaders brief media representatives covering the convention.

Colorado Convention Center Rm. 601, 700 14th St.

**NOTE: Listen-only dial-in phone number 866-847-7859.**



# # #



**NOTE: Multimedia materials from Asian and Pacific Islander American events will be made available at www.demconvention.com

Friday, July 25, 2008

China Travel Series for the Olympic-Bound

Got the Olympic bug?

This week we're running a China Travel Focus Series, featuring special pieces from the AP Beijing bureau with tips on travel planning and (of course) food, including sightseeing, restaurant recommendations, a round-up of the best travel guides, and more. Just for fun, the section also includes a recipe of the day, with a new dish representing a different region and cooking style every day. In keeping with the general theme, the section will also highlight select jobs and employers from the IMDiversity Career Center database that are related to working in or travel to China, or where employers have specified that candidates with Chinese language skills or international experience are desirable for the post.

Friday, July 11, 2008

SF Chronicle Voting on Secret Asian Man

"Your vote on comics will count"

An exercise in democracy is underway at the San Francisco Chronicle, where the paper is asking its readers which of a series of new comic strips it's been testing out this week should be picked, and which ones should be "dumped".

It's a sign of the times, maybe, when a little-strip-that-could such as our own Secret Asian Man by Tak Toyoshima could conceivably oust old stalwarts like "Blondie," "Dennis the Menace," or even -- gasp -- Classic Peanuts!

But then, where does the country's most-beloved and first nationally syndicated Asian American cartoon star belong, if not in the major daily of America's most-Asian city?

Show SAM some love by voting for him in the Chronicle!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

LA Times: ‘Dancing With the Stars’: Kristi Yamaguchi fulfills her destiny

This hyperbolic note from the L.A. Times:

‘Dancing With the Stars’: Kristi Yamaguchi fulfills her destiny : Show Tracker : LosAngeles Times:
"After 10 weeks, we’re all tired here, so let’s cut to the chase:
Kristi Yamaguchi and her partner Mark Ballas, the highest scorers in the history
of the show (or at least the U.S. version) took home the trophy. Jason Taylor and
Edyta were the runners-up"

Well, seems that becoming one of the premiere figures and most widely recognized, early ambassadors for her sport might have ranked somewhere on the chart of 'fulfilling her destiny,' but there's no doubt that Yamaguchi's gracefulness translates easily off the ice. She's a great athlete and, we know, also a terrific dancer.