November 12's Fact of the Week

In the struggle for Asian American Studies, students vehemently organized hunger strikes, sit-ins, and protests in demand for the institutionalizing of Ethnic Studies programs in their curriculum. However, in some instances, these same students have had to endure racist backlash from their own community. In March 1993, Pomona College students from the Claremont Colleges painted Walker Wall, a popular site for semi-sanctioned student graffiti, with the message “Asian American Studies Now!” in support for more Asian American Studies courses and faculty. Overnight, however, the painting was defaced and altered to read “Asian Americans die Now!” sparking anxiety and shock for many Asian Americans on campus. The incident was investigated as a hate crime and motivated the greater need for awareness and understanding about Asian American issues. In the following year, students would take over Alexander Hall, closing the building due to “racism” and demand that the campus administration support the need for a larger Asian American Studies program.