Monday, July 30, 2007

APAs for Progress Announces Wrap Up, Outcomes of National Townhalls on Hate Crimes

In follow up to our posting from June... we've posted a short item on the Village summarizing some of the follow-up reports from APAs for Progress about the summer series of "townhall" events addressing hate crimes and commemoratig the 25th anniversary of the Vincent Chin's murder.

In the end, events featuring expert panel discussions and screening of the film Who Killed Vincent Chin? were held at 14 sites, sponsored by APAP and partners including many leading local and national groups, and reaching an estimated 1,000 attendees.

While the size and scope of the events varied widely from place to place, the good news is that it created opportunities for diverse Asian Americans to spotlight a scourge affecting all of our subcommunities, to build coalition with other groups targeted for hate discrimination, and to commemorate Chin by discussing issues of social justice in a fresh, contemporary context. In fact, although the series was to officially end by July 19, additional groups in more cities have contacted APAP regarding their interest in hosting townhalls well into the fall. APAP board members also said that the summer's events were filmed, so with luck, some form of the proceedings may some be accessible to much wider audiences who were unable to attend the first time around.

For more bacgkround, see our longer post at the Village, or go directly to the APAP site at

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Secret Asian Man Comic Strip Gets National Syndication

Beloved strip considered the first syndicated strip to feature Asian-American lead character

The editors at Asian-American Village are thrilled to announce that our own hometown boy, Secret Asian Man, created by longtime Village contributor Tak Toyoshima, has officially entered the BIG TIME, having been picked up for national newspaper syndication by United Features Syndicate!

According to the UFS release, the move makes SAM the first Asian American lead character of a nationally syndicated strip, joining the ranks of such icons as Charlie Brown, Marmaduke, and Dilbert.

For SAM fans, the best news is that Tak will have to step up the pace, making two versions of the strip available -- as a daily strip and as a weekly/Sunday full color strip. He talks about his observations of the shift to the big leagues on the Secret Asian Man blog.

Editors interested in picking up SAM can go to the UFS FeatureBank for details.

Read the full story about SAM's syndication, and check out this week's bonus SAM strips while you're there!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Villager response to NAM Article by Mai Der Vang

Editors' Note:

It is inherent in the effort to publish to the highly diverse collection of people known as "Asian Pacific Americans" or APIAs that every so often, a hot-button issue or provocative article reveals the fact that there can be as many differences among us as there are commonalities, and that trans-Pacific conflicts can remain real divisions between ethnic groups here in the U.S.

We've written widely on the topic of "just what is an Asian American?" in the past on the Village, and will likely do so again as the definition and demographics of our community keeps shifting.

Meanwhile, we continue to occasionally receive and post reader messages that respond to controversial topics in articles by various newswires and contributing sources that appear on the Village, especially when they seem to introduce opportunities for substantive discussion on serious topics that affect our communities. Most recently, we have been publishing stories covering the accusation that General Vang Pao and a number of associates plotted an overthrow of the Laos government, and follow-up analyses of how the case is having a significant impact on the wider Hmong American community.

The following reader letter was sent sepcifically in response to the article, "Vang Pao Case Highlights Hmong Community's Losses," by a writer for New America Media. We post it here and encourage engaged readers to post their own follow-up comments as well.

--- LETTER ---

My response to Mai Der Vang, New America Media
on her article "Vang Pao Case Highlights Hmong Community s Losses"

I just saw this article and I would like to share my opinion:

Hmong are hill people. They live in the hills of Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. Hmong also live in China where they have a long history there. link to article about Hmong
history in China.

I was born in Laos but I am not Hmong. I am Laotian, meaning I speak Lao, practice the culture and I am Buddhist.

Hmong people's primary language is Hmong, they practice a hmong culture and their religion is shamanism. The only thing that makes a hmong person laotian is that they live in Laos.

There are about 256,00 Hmong in Laos and they are a minority. The Lao are the single largest ethnic group in Laos.


I was very shocked to learn that Vang Pao attempted a coup on a country that
historically is not there. The historical ties of Hmong are really in China and
they have not had onwership claims to any country in for centuries. I am also
offended at Hmong people who claim to be Laotian yet don't practice the
language, culture or religon. The Hmong in America have mis-represented
themselves to the American culture by claiming to be Laotians when in truth,
they are hill people who have never been associated with any country they have
lived in.

I constantly have to correct many American's that I am not Hmong when I tell them I am from Laos. I also educate them that Laos is primarily Laotian. I don't condone the Lao Army or goverment practicing genocide as Laos is a country with many different ethnic groups in addition to the Hmong. The recent attempt of Vang Pao to overthrow the Lao goverment only angers Laotians particularly when they have made no attempt to learn or adapt to the Lao culture.