Category Archives: Civil Rights

10/5/17 Direct Action

Tonight, we talk about the significance and practice of direct action from Asian Americans who believe that this tactic is crucial to our movement. We look at the history of Asian Americans doing direct action, notable examples, and most importantly, how direct action is being used by Asian Americans today.
Tonight’s show will feature brilliance and wisdom from Sabiha Basrai from Alliance of South Asians Taking Action and Sarah Lee from Asians 4 Black Lives. We have special guest hosts from API Equality – Northern California, Spam and Spam and the Cynthisizer.

Guest hosts Sammie Ablaza Wills and Cynthia Fong. Photo by Brooke Anderson.

Our first guest is Sabiha Basrai from Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, also known as ASATA. ASTA is a San Francisco Bay Area all-volunteer group working to educate, organize, and empower the Bay Area South Asian communities to end violence, oppression, racism and exploitation within and against our diverse communities.

Our second guest is Sarah Lee from Asians 4 Black Lives, a diverse group of Asian voices based in the Bay Area that came together in response to a call from Black Lives Matter Bay Area and the larger Black Lives Matter movement. Asians 4 Black Lives is not an organization but they’re are organized; they believe in embracing frontline leadership, organizing our folks, and striving to use a diversity of tactics.

We’re very excited to have Sabiha from ASATA and Sarah from Asians 4 Black Lives here because today, we’re just going to have a conversation about direct action as Asian Americans in the movement.

Community Calendar

  • APAture is happening throughout the month of October. Support Kearny Street Workshop, the Bay Area’s hub for Asian Pacific American arts, by a multi-day, multidisciplinary arts festival featuring a lineup of some of today’s most exciting emerging artists from the San Francisco Bay Area. We’ll hear more about the festival on APEX Express, next week.
  • Just a few weeks shy of the October 10 hearing, the Trump administration announced its third iteration of the Muslim Ban. Join the resistance on October 9th at Civic Center Plaza in SF, to band together against Trump’s Muslim Bans and their impact on our communities – no Muslim ban ever!
  • On Indigenous Peoples’ Day this Monday, join Indigenous people in ceremony by participating in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz.
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Call to Action for Ny Nourn


Greetings, my name is Danny Thongsy I am a Yuri Kochiyama Fellow at Asian Americans Advancing Justice/Asian Law Caucus. I am deeply inspired by Ny Nourn. Her strength and resilience speaks to the spirit she carried which defied so many odds and obstacles. The trajectory of her life – migration-school-prison-detention/deportation pipeline – disclosed the results of our nation’s militarism/capitalism and its failure to help immigrants and disadvantaged members within our community. Her life has raised so much awareness regarding this and domestic violence issue.

Ny Nourn (center)

I can empathize with Ny, being a child refugee of parents who escaped war and the Khmer Rouge genocide only to resettled in an impoverished setting, and I only imagine how difficult it truly was for her and her family; in addition, to the trauma of war she and her family carried and the challenges of acculturation. Also, as a young lady she was shackled in an abusive relationship with a man who is older than she is and to escape seems detrimental. As a results of this toxic relationship  she was later accused by our failing criminal justice system for a crime her abuser committed and then she was branded with a prison number and given a life sentence.

However, regardless of her circumstance, after a decade and numerous years of being warehoused and separated from her family and her community, she persevered and attained her freedom but only to face, once again, a threat of being  separated from her family and her community through deportation. The question is: when is enough enough especially for a domestic violence survivor who served an unjust sentence for a crime her abuser committed and all she wants is to forgive him, bring healing to her community, and be reunited with her family.

Once again as she perseveres through this challenge, we at the Asian Law Caucus and other organizations and community groups are supporting her by advocating for her release.  

By Danny Thongsy, Yuri Kochiyama Fellow
#FREENYNOURN

Yuri Kochiyama Fellow Danny Thongsy with Ny’s Attorney, Anoop Prasad.

7/6/17 South Asia Spotlight on #NotInMyName #NehaRastogi

On our bi-monthly South Asia spotlight, we highlight two critical issues – the #Notinmyname campaign that has gone viral in India in the aftermath of a series of brutal lynchings and murders of Muslims and Dalit communities in India. And we have an update from closer home here in California – the #NehaRastogi case and the pernicious issue of #domesticviolence and how it specifically impacts of immigrant women of color.

 

To listen to the full interview discussion with Zakia Afrin from Maitri (second half of the show), click on this link.

6/15/17 Crossing East: Relations

Tonight APEX Express has a very special presentation of next installment of Crossing East, the Peabody-awarded radio documentary series about Asian immigration to the United States. In this 10th anniversary since the original air date, Executive Producer Dmae Roberts, with the support of APEXer Robynn Takayama and Alan Monticello, created Crossing East: Relations.

Relations unravels the turbulent racial divisions in America. This isn’t a story about Black and White tensions, but about how marginalized groups have historically been pitted against each other. The documentary features a number of Bay Area voices including Malkia Cyril, executive director of Center for Media Justice; Anirvan Chatterjee, curator of the Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour; and Ellen Choy with Movement Strategy Center.

Together, they unpack systemic racism and describe a rich history of solidarity between Asian and Asian Americans and African Americans, including the Indian Independence Movement, Civil Rights Movement, and Black Lives Matter.

5/4/17 Immigration and Activism

Download the show here

Tonight on Apex Express Mother/Daughter hosts Miko Lee and Ayame Keane-Lee spoke to Yvette Felarca from By Any Means Necessary about taking direct action out into the streets and stopping the Trump ICE raids.  More information about an upcoming immigration forum is listed in the calendar below.

We spoke to Michelle Lee,  curator of Shifting Movements, Art inspired by Yuri Kochiyama, which opens with a big celebration tonight at SOMARTS Cultural Center and runs through May 25. Shifting Movements is part of the 20th Annual United States of Asian America Festival. Some of the art pieces are shown above, but go check it out in person to see how amazing the work is.

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Mari Nakagawa interviewed punk band Aye Nako who hits the Bay Area tonight and tomorrow night.

Poet Yujane Chan came into the studio and performed her erasure poem derived from her formal immigration papers. Ayame, also a youth poet, chatted with Yujane about her inspiration and process. Yujane performed this as part of Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam in April.

Chinese+Couplets+-+Felicia+Lowe

Miko spoke with award winning filmmaker Felicia Lowe’s about her latest work Chinese Couplets which is her personal tale about the Chinese Exclusion Act. They also discussed the big Rally for Inclusion that is happening this Saturday in Portsmouth Square Chinatown to acknowledge the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Find out more about the Rally and how to take action page here.

Community Calendar

May 4 -June 11, United States of Asian America, various locations

May 4 Aye Nako at the Luckyduck Bicycle Cafe located at 302 12th Street in Oakland.

May 5 Aye Nako at the STUD located at 399 9th St in San Francisco.

May 4-25, 2017  Shifting Movements: Art inspired by the life of Yuri Kochiyama

Venue: SOMArts Cultural Center, Main Gallery, 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco. Exhibition Dates:  Tuesday through Friday from 12-7pm, and Saturdays from 12-5pm.  Closing Reception: Thursday, May 25, 2016. 6-9pm.

May 6, 2017 noon Rally for Inclusion, Portsmouth Square, Chinatown

May 6, 2017:  Asian Pacific Heritage Festival, Asian American Alliance of Marin

May 9, 2017  Immigration Forum and Community Meeting, Bay Any Means Necessary 6-8pm, Manzanita Recreation Center, 2701 22nd Ave., Oakland, CA 94606

May 16 Asian American Bar Association presents – Lessons from Mass Incarceration

 

 

Mina Morita and Sisters Matsumoto

Carina Lastimosa, Keiko Shimosato Carreiro, Melissa Locsin in Sisters Matsumoto


Click here to download the audio.

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.

2/16/17 Thi Bui, Art Shibayama and Moazzam Sheikh

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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.

More information about the Campaign for Justice for Shibayama Brothers case here.

Information about the petition in support of the Shibayama Brothers here.

 

Download the show here.