On this month’s South Asian spotlight, we celebrate India’s Supreme Court’s historic decision striking down Section 377, an archaic Colonial law that criminalized homosexuality. We talk to a feisty Desi lesbian couple Priti and Mads about their new ice cream business, a venture that has helped them dream and live outside the box in many ways!
We also hear from Thanu Yakupitiyage from 350.org, about the ongoing climate actions in resistance to Governor Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, and why climate change is also a South Asian issue; and the piece de resistance: a sneak peek into a brand new storytelling podcast by APEX Express’ Preeti Mangala Shekar!
Tune in to a special green edition of APEX Express, featuring a film from the San Francisco Green Film Festival, a film on whaling, and spotlighting the upcoming Solidarity to Solutions Week happening September 8 to 14.
We interview Soumyaa Kapil Behrens about her new film Nail House and Megumi Sasaki about her film Whale of a Tale. We also talk to Thuy Trang about the Asian contingent at the upcoming Solidarity to Solutions week, and the march on Sep 8!
To end out the month of May PowerLeeGirls Miko Lee and Jalena Keane-Lee speak with storytellers who are making waves. We speak with An Excess Male Author Maggie Shen King. And hear from two of the culinary activists behind the Rooted Recipes Project. We talk with Heather White whose poignant documentary Complicit focuses on migrant electronic factory workers in China.
Tonight, we chat in studio with community leader Alvina Wong, about a coalition working to prevent the Oakland A’s from building a new ballpark next to Oakland Chinatown. And we hear from the survivors of the Gwangju Uprising and how this movement changed the course of Korean history in a piece by APEX producer Marie Choi. Peppered throughout the show, we hear from Tony Robles, an SF native and housing activist, who shares poems from his new book, Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike.
Alvina Wong from APEN and the Stay the Right Way coalition speak out against the proposed Oakland A’s stadium in Chinatown.
Joining us in studio is Oakland Organizing Director Alvina Wong from Asian Pacific Environmental Network, who is working to stop the proposed development of a new Oakland A’s stadium near Oakland Chinatown and Laney College. Alvina and the Stay the Right Way coalition organized and delivered a petition with 1,700 signatures opposing the development.
We also play Marie Choi’s powerful piece about the Gwangju Uprising, a pro-democracy uprising against the U.S. imposed military dictatorship in South Korea. This piece was produced by Marie Choi for Making Contact.
And we have poetry by Tony Robles. In 2016, a group of five San Francisco activists held a hunger strike to protest the racist killings committed by SFPD earlier that year. The 16-day strike inspired poet and housing activist Tony Robles to write “Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike.” Fingerprints is a collection of poems about displacement, police brutality, and resistance in the city that he loves.
November 18th – Greg Watanabe will be telling the story of Gordon Hirabayashi and his impact on civil rights through a dramatic concert reading of “Hold These Truths” by playwright Jeanne Sakata. Tickets are available at fortmason.org and proceeds will go to San Francisco JACL’s Arts and Activism program.
Tonight, we head back to school and look at some amazing programs preparing young people to engage in the fight for justice.
WALC hiking up Yosemite’s Mist Trail towards Nevada Falls
APIENC’s POP Camp, a training camp for LGBT, API high school youth
ACT4CUSD speaking at the Cupertino Union School Board
First we hear from high school teachers Rachelle Urzua and Jody DeAraujo. They work with the Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative, a small learning community that teaches high school curriculum through a lens of environmental stewardship.
Then we speak with Sammie Ablaza Wills from API Equality- Northern California, an API LGBTQ organization in San Francisco training and building a youth-led movement.
And we’ll hear from Medha Asthana with ACT4CUSD who is working to make sure public schools in the South Bay have comprehensive sex education that covers important things like consent and uses inclusive language around gender expression and sexual orientations.
On Labor Day, there’s a strike and march in Oakland in support of organized labor. Fast food workers in 300 cities and in the UK will be on strike to demand a liveable wage. Meet at 1330 Jackson St, Oakland Monday morning.
On Tuesday, the Parkway Theater screens “And Then They Came for Us.” The documentary features actor and activist, George Takei and many other Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War 2. This screening includes a post-show discussion.
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.
We talk with writer, chef, and environmental activist, Aileen Suzara. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas I. Yamashita Prize, which goes to a social change activist/scholar whose work serves as a bridge between the academy and the community.
Collaborating with Filipino Advocates for Justice, Aileen supported the launch of Bahay Kubo. Bahay Kubo is a garden in Union City where youth have hands-on experiences in growing and sharing healthy Filipino food. She is an advisory member to FACES, the Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity, and an eco-culinary educator with Sama Sama Cooperative, which works to “reclaim language, culture, and land-based traditions.” She is hard at work on Sariwa, a sustainable Filipino foods business that connects traditionally-inspired diets and entrepreneurship as a tool for change.
We also give thanks to the cultural workers out there and feature music from our community. We’ll play tracks from the 18 Million Rising Voices of Our Vote compilation. It features 32 politically empowering tracks by an eclectic mix of Asian American musicians. We also play songs off of Anakbayan Long Beach’s May Day Mixtape fueled by hip-hop.
To download the audio, click here.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,172-mile conduit which will carry crude oil from North Dakota to southern Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux, a Native group whose source of drinking water will be crossed multiple times by the pipeline filed a lawsuit to block construction this summer. A spirit ride on the Standing Rock Reservation launched the protest against the pipeline in April. Since then, thousands of allies from other tribes and communities from across the country and internationally have arrived at Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
As the water protectors put their bodies on the line in direct action to pipeline construction, response from private security, Morton County Sheriffs, and other law enforcement agencies called in from other counties, escalated to use of dogs, tanks of pepper spray, and rubber bullets.
Before many people made it to the polls on Tuesday, allies of the water protectors blocked traffic at a major intersection in San Francisco. Banners read, “What they do to the water, they do to us,” which is just one of the messages allies brought back from Standing Rock.
Two women who journeyed to Standing Rock, joined me in studio: Pam Tau Lee, and Cece Carpio. Pam visited STanding Rock in late September, Cece in late October, and Barbara will be heading out there next week. Also joining us is Barbara Mumby who will be heading out to Standing Rock with her daughter next week.
There are many ways for you to engage with this struggle. As Pam mentioned, it’s getting cold out there and winter gear is needed. Also, word about an anonymous donor contributing funds to bail out the water protectors is simply not true and funds re still needed for the legal defense.
For those who want to get involved more directly, there’s a national day of action on Tuesday, November 15. The Bay Area action starts at 6:30 a.m. at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. This sunrise ceremony and mass nonviolent direct action is to stand together in the BAY AREA in solidarity with the peoples of Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota and against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The demands to the US Army Corps of Engineers are to 1) Deny Permit to Bore Under the Missouri River, and 2) complete a Full Environmental Impact Statement.
Tune into APEX Express on KPFA every Thursday at 7 pm. On Thursday, October 15 we talk with community advocate Davis Price about the ongoing resistance to defend the sacred mountain of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. Then, we continue our coverage on the Syrian refugee crisis in conversation with Southeast Asian refugees. We go to Kashmir—the most densely militarized land on earth–and talk with advocates about recent police brutality and allegations of sexual violence perpetrated by the police in the city of Poonch. Plus find out about exciting feminist films at this year’s 3rd i South Asian Film Festival happening in San Francisco from Oct 22-25 and in Palo Alto on Nov 1. We have all that and more—tune in to APEX Express on KPFA, bringing you an Asian and Asian American view from the bay and around the world. This week’s show was hosted and produced by Tara Dorabji, Momo Chang and Preeti Shekar.