June 2012

June 28′s Fact of the Week: Smith Act

Jun 28 2012
By: diane.wong
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog, Fact of the Day
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Amidst fears of espionage and conspiracy, the Smith Act, or Alien Registration Act of 1940, enacted on June 28. The Act was a discriminatory pre-cursor to the numerous internment policies that would soon follow with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, especially towards Japanese Americans. Publicized as a national security measure, the Act mandated the registration and fingerprinting of all non-citizens, or aliens, in and entering the United States older than 14-years-old. In addition, the Act monitored movement such that non-citizens had to report changes to address within five days before facing criminal charges. In the subsequent months, nearly five million registered at post offices around the country. Although the alien registration forms have been destroyed, the Act stands out as a representation of distrust that would be critical in fuming the wartime hysteria that followed.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

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June 26′s Fact of the Week: Taxi Dance Halls

Jun 26 2012
By: diane.wong
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog, Fact of the Day
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During the height of Filipino migration to the United States in the 1920s and early 1930s as agricultural laborers, service workers, and students, taxi dance halls flourished. An escape from their rigorous lives, whether it was “stoop labor,” unfair working conditions, or loneliness, many Filipino men visited taxi dance halls in their leisure time to exchange dimes for dance tickets. The tickets were then exchanged for dances with women and each ticket was worth a dance for the full length of a song. In order to ease their troubles and stress, Filipino men used their wages and earnings from work to find companionship and acceptance. Outside, however, they faced animosity and discrimination from the community that labeled them as moral and sexual threats after news spread that Filipino men had danced with white women. Hostility fueled by the ethnic antagonism escalated into violence. One instance happened in Watsonville, California and became known as the Watsonville Riots. In 1930, a mob of five hundred white men attacked a taxi dance hall and pulled and beat Filipino men. As the riots escalated and increased, the mob would also attack and burn homes owned by Filipinos in the neighborhood and form “hunting parties.”

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June 21′s Fact of the Week: Balbir Singh Sodhi

Jun 21 2012
By: diane.wong
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog, Fact of the Day
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Parallel to the death of Vincent Chin, on September 15, 2001, Balbir Singh Sodhi was murdered from a hate-crime that targeted Arabs and South Asians in an incident four days after the World Trade Center fell. Born in Punjab, India, Sodhi immigrated to the United States to chase after the American dream. After working two jobs at a convenience store clerk and as a taxicab driver, he made enough money to send back home to support his family and also to own a gas station in Mesa, Arizona. After the September 11 attacks, however, tensions arose in the community. Frank Roque was an aircraft mechanic at the time who was deeply flustered and angered. He wanted to enact revenge by “shooting some towel-heads” and stereotyped through appearance and dress attire. As a result, on the day of the murder, Roque drove to the gas station owned by Sodhi and singled him out for his turban, beard, and clothing. He fired his handgun from his truck and hit Sodhi five times killing him instantly before driving off to another gas station to continue his hateful attack. Sodhi represented the first of many hate-crimes that sprouted after the September 11 attacks. More than ever, after the shooting the community moved to educate and fight against racial profiling, hate-crime, and xenophobia, to prevent similar incidents from ever happening.

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June 19′s Fact of the Week: Vincent Chin

Jun 19 2012
By: diane.wong
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog, Fact of the Day
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Thirty years to this date, on June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin abruptly lost his life from a racially motivated attack in Detroit, Michigan. Only at 27-years-old, he was targeted at his bachelor’s party for a hate-crime based on his ethnicity. Although Chin was Chinese-American, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz stereotyped him as Japanese and blamed him for the decline of the American automobile industry to Japanese automakers. What had first started as a verbal exchange of racial slurs, quickly escalated into a brutal physical altercation that ended when Ebens and Nitz repeatedly bashed Chin over his head with a baseball bat. Before Chin slipped into a coma, his last words were “It’s not fair.” Four days later, he died from his injuries. Ebens and Nitz only received three years of probation and a $3,000 fine for the hate-crime and second-degree murder, a controversial light sentence that put into question the legal system’s integrity towards Asian-Americans. Most importantly, Chin’s death sparked an outrage within the Asian-American community that called for justice. The 1980s political awakening emerged closely connected with his death in the struggle for justice and laws against hate-crime. Subsequent campaigns and activism promoted self-awareness and rights for minorities. Today, remembering Chin remains an important reminder about the violence of racism.

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The 1882 Project needs your help!!

The House Resolution 683 (previously H. Res. 282) will be on the House floor at 4:00 pm, EDT, on Monday, June 18, for action, please tune in on CSPAN. We need your help to reach out to your members of Congress to ask for their support within the next 24 hours, but no later than12:00 noon on Monday. You will be helping make history by putting a closure to these Chinese Exclusion Laws. Please pick up your phone to call now.

Learn how to take action!

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June 14′s Fact of the Week: Bataan Death March

Jun 14 2012
By: diane.wong
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog, Fact of the Day
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Following General MacArthur’s departure, Bataan fell in the Philippines to the Japanese military on April 9, 1942. Tens of thousands of Filipino and American soldiers surrendered as prisoners of war. In an event subsequently known as the Bataan Death March, Japanese soldiers brutally forced the prisoners to first march to San Fernando under inhumane conditions. Thousands died along the way from starvation, heat exhaustion – especially from the sweltering heat, sickness, and dehydration. Often times the Japanese soldiers would arbitrarily beat, bayonet, and kill those that fell behind and could no longer continue or stepped out of the line. Once at San Fernando, the prisoners were crammed into overcrowded trains, forced to stand still in a suffocating small space with rampant disease and death. When the trains reached Capas, they would then march the final few miles to Camp O’ Donnell. At the internment camp, conditions remained similar. Many more would not survive as they continued to face malnourishment especially from the lack of food and shortage of water, deteriorating health conditions and treatment, forced physical labor, and hopelessness.

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June 12′s Fact of the Week: 1906 San Francisco School Board Incident

Jun 12 2012
By: diane.wong
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog, Fact of the Day
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The 1906 San Francisco School Board Incident embodied an early case of anti-Japanese nativism in California. With the onset of Japanese immigration to the United States, anti-orientalist regulations sought to ethnically segregate Japanese students to attend separate schools. In a blatant intrusion on equal opportunity in education and rights, the Japanese government protested the segregation to ensure that Japanese immigrants were treated fairly in the United States and given the same education as other American children. The incident subsequently instigated the 1907 Gentleman’s Agreement. For Japan to preserve their reputation and image in a bitter contrast with Chinese immigrants at the time, the agreement aimed to reduce discrimination and segregation caused by tensions between the two countries against Japanese immigrants in the United States, allowing Japanese students back into public schools, although in support of exclusion and restrictions.

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Looking for Development Interns!

Jun 10 2012
By: melinda.wang
Categories: Blog, Uncategorized
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Have experience in grant-writing and finance? Interested in applying those skills to a growing and developing nonprofit organization? Apply to become an intern for ECAASU National’s Development Team. We are looking for individuals who are interested in working on grant writing and fundraising efforts. As an intern, we expect

-Understanding of grant-writing or an intense interest in doing so

-Developing fresh fundraising ideas

-Ability to work responsibly independently

If you are interested, please send your CV and a statement of interest to melinda.wang@ecaasu.org. Thanks!

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June 7′s Fact of the Week: Victory Varsity Volunteers

Jun 07 2012
By: diane.wong
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog, Fact of the Day
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Much unbeknownst to many people, before the decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team was established in World War II, second-generation Japanese Americans or Nisei in Hawai’i founded the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV). After Pearl Harbor, many Nisei took up arms and enlisted with the Hawai’i Territorial Guard, but faced considerable racial prejudice and exclusion that barred them from continuing their military service. In an effort to demonstrate their loyalty to the United States, defend what they thought was their home, and distinguish themselves as trustworthy and patriotic American citizens that wanted to help with the war efforts at all costs, the Nisei formed the VVV that illuminated their usefulness through extensive community service and labor. From their show of dedication, eleven months later they would opt to disband the VVV and be allowed to participate in military service.

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June 5′s Fact of the Week: Linguistic Diversity

Jun 05 2012
By: diane.wong
Categories: Blog, Advocacy, Blog, Fact of the Day
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According to the 2009 American Community Survey of the United States Census, 2.6 million people 5-years-old and older spoke the Chinese language at home, representing the second-most prevalent non-English language spoken after the Spanish language. In the United States, among the languages most commonly spoken at home and above a million people include Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. With 3.8 million Chinese Americans, they represent the largest Asian American group above Filipino Americans at 3.2 million, Indian Americans at 2.8 million, Vietnamese Americans at 1.7 million, Korean Americans at 1.6 million, and Japanese Americans at 1.3 million. Gradually, the Chinese language is climbing to become the second-most influential language in the world following the English language.

Source: http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb11-ff06.html

 

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