In 2015, the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag swept through social media around the paltry amount of roles for actors of color on the screen, but behind the scene is no different. Mina Morita is artistic director for Crowded Fire, a theater company in San Francisco. She’s in a creative leadership position in a field with very few directors of color and even fewer women directors.
But local playwright Philip Kan Gotanda and artistic director of the Center Repertory Company, Michael Butler, chose Mina to revive Philip’s play, Sisters Matsumoto.
Sisters Matsumoto focuses on three sisters who return to their farm in Stockton, California after two years in a World War 2 internment camp. Written before the Patriot Act, Special Registration, or this new Muslim Ban, the play takes on a renewed urgency as the characters bring to life the real life aftermath of racist scapegoating.
Before delving into a discussion about the play, guest producer Robynn Takayama asked director Mina Morita about her home base with San Francisco-based theater company, Crowded Fire.
The play is on view at Center REPertory Company in Walnut Creek from now through April 29. Visit centerrep.org for tickets. And to follow Mina Morita’s work as artistic director of Crowded Fire, visit crowdedfire.org.
We’ll be in conversation with author Thi Bui about her debut graphic novel, “The Best We Could Do,” which offers a haunting and intimate portrayal of one family’s journey from war torn Vietnam. Then, we’ll hear from the lead petitioner seeking justice for the Shibayama brothers, who continue to demand that the US government be accountable for its ongoing failure to provide redress for war crimes perpetrated against them as children during World War II. We will round out the hour in conversation with contributors of the newly released South Asian American Issue released by the Chicago Quarterly, guest edited by Moazzam Sheikh, who explains that “The new South Asian American writer is a wild beast.” We’ll delve into that wildness. We have all that and more, so tune it.
Tonight, we reflect on the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066. Issued by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, this order forcibly removed 110,000 people of Japanese descent from the west coast to inland detention centers.Continue reading →
Trial of 63 Japanese American draft resisters from the Heart Mountain Relocation Center
We also hear from Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. In addition to the forced relocation away from the west coast, we hear from the draft resisters who rose up from within the camps.
We sprinkle holiday music throughout the show. Songs include a flashback to 2014 when the Colorful Mamas of the 99% went caroling with their children for love and liberation in Oakland for Black Lives Matter. We also share holiday tunes from Digital Crafts Night and Largesse.
Tonight on APEX Express, Saira Hussein, a staff attorney at Asian Law Caucus, talks about how we prepare for a Trump administration. She goes over special registration for Muslims, what to do if ICE shows up at your door, and what we can do to protect the Dreamers who came out as undocumented to take advantage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
After our interview, Saira added: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee drafted a letter that 199 organizations (including ALC) signed on to asking President Obama to rescind the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) or special registration that was enacted after 9/11. Moreover, folks can sign on to petition likes this one at MoveOn asking for the dismantling of NSEERS.
In addition, there has recently been increased reporting of FBI visits to Muslim community members. We recommend that people call ALC or the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and seek an attorney before speaking with the FBI.
Tyson Walker, 2nd year UCSF Pharmacy student and citizen of the White Mountain Apache Tribe
We also talk with Punjabi American Rupa Marya with the Do No Harm Coalition and Tyson Walker, second year Pharmacy student at UCSF who is White Mountain Apache. They are working together and with a consortium of UCSF providers and students, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe traditional healers, National Nurses United, Changing Woman Initiative (indigenous midwifery group) and Global Health Care Alternative Project to provide free care to all people on tribal land in the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
Tonight on APEX Express, we have two guests hosts: Melissa Hung and Vida Huang. We’ll learn about Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus’s new Yuri Kochiyama Fellowship for formerly incarcerated Asian Pacific Islanders. We talk with young, radical, community members who have spoken about anti-black racism with their families and tried to move them towards solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives. And we hear from Justin Lin, director of Star Trek Beyond, from back when he was just starting out and taking his film Better Luck Tomorrow on the festival circuit.
On Saturday in San Bruno, Halau o Keikiali’i perform their Songs of Hilo and Tribute to Hawaii’s songbird, Lena Machado. This takes place at Capuchino High School. Doors open at 4 p.m. with Hawaiian arts, crafts, and food for sale. Performance is at 6 p.m.
Next week on August 16, you can hear a conversation with movement leader Pam Tau Lee and Steven Bingham, moderated by Steve Williams. Pam founded the Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Chinese Progressive Association, and is a member of Asians 4 Black Lives, so she’ll have lots of knowledge to drop. This celebration of Movement Warriors organized by Hospitality House takes place at the Kelly Cullen Community in San Francisco.
And the Anti Police-Terror Project General Meeting is next Wednesday, August 17 atEastside Arts Alliance. The Anti Police-Terror Project is a project of theONYX ORGANIZING COMMITTEE that in coalition with other organizations working to develop a replicable and sustainable model to end police terrorism in this country
Tune in tonight for our monthly South Asian edition of APEX Express. First we bring you a critical discussion with Dalit artivist Thenmozhi Soundararajan from the South Asian Histories for All coalition, on the ongoing California Textbook Campaign; on the struggle to keep ancient Indian history curricula in middle school history textbooks, as- it-happened, and not how a well-funded group of Hindu fundamentalists would like it to be. Then we discuss with Lisa Sangoi, a lawyer with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Purvi Patel’s case, where we find out the status quo of a young Indian American woman who was unjustly thrown in jail for 20 years, for having a late term abortion. Produced by: Preeti Mangala Shekar and Justine Lee