The East Coast Asian Student Union (ECAASU) condemns President Donald Trump’s executive order which restricts the entrance of citizens from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.Read More
The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) stands in support of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and urges its continuance under the current threat of President Trump repealing the program.Read More
The East Coast Asian American Students Union (ECAASU) unequivocally condemns the racist and anti-Semitic beliefs and actions of white supremacists across the nation and specifically within Charlottesville, Virginia.Read More
The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU), a 501(c)(3) student-run nonprofit organization, stands in firm support of the Asian American Studies Working Group at Duke University, and their fight for the creation of Asian American Studies (AAS).Read More
The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU), a 501(c)(3) student-run nonprofit organization, stands in firm support of the Asian American Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board of University of Pennsylvania and their fight for the preservation of Asian American Studies (ASAM).Read More
For Immediate Release
January 30, 2017
ECAASU CONDEMNS PRESIDENT TRUMP’S ISLAMOPHOBIC EXECUTIVE ORDER
NEW YORK – The East Coast Asian Student Union (ECAASU) condemns President Donald Trump’s executive order which bans the entrance of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries to the United States of America. ECAASU believes that this order is Islamophobic, unconstitutional, and inhumane.
Today is the birthday of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American who challenged President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The order forced Korematsu and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans into internment camps after the Pearl Harbor attacks, solely for having Japanese ancestry. Seventy five years later, history is repeating itself. As Asian Americans, we recognize that this act of xenophobia by the United States government has existed long before President Trump.
ECAASU has not turned a blind eye to the fact that America was built upon federally-backed acts of discrimination and hate. We cannot forget the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment camps, or the post-9/11 surveillance and registry of Muslims. Nor can we forget the 2.5 million people who were deported during Obama’s presidency. These are indicative of a systemic issue within our country, a country that has always operated on racism and xenophobia. However, America is a country of the people. The marginalized have always challenged oppression from our government. ECAASU is dedicated to continuing the American tradition of organizing and resisting, for the benefit of our national community.
Among our constituency are refugees and immigrants who were forced to flee their home countries due to U.S. intervention throughout Pan Asia. We recognize that the recent executive orders are an attack on our community, specifically our South Asian constituents. Thus, ECAASU firmly stands with Syrian refugees and with the international Muslim community.
Dear friends, advocates, and community members,
ECAASU is committed to protecting our conference attendees and creating an inclusive space for all identities. In recent months, North Carolina has become a battleground for marginalized communities and people may feel unsafe coming to our conference located in Raleigh. With issues ranging from HB-2 to voter restriction laws to talks about a Muslim registry, North Carolina has created a political climate aimed to suppress and silence our voices. Comprised of a diverse group of students within the state, the conference team has experienced and witnessed the oppression and discriminatory actions of the state government. With that understanding of concern for our fellow attendees, the conference team has implemented several safeguards and strategies.
Our vision for this year’s conference is to show up and support our local communities, and create a space in North Carolina where we hope conference attendees will feel loved, welcomed, and safe. We are integrating the following initiatives and programs into the 2017 ECAASU Conference:
- Gender-neutral bathrooms at the conference center
- Pronouns will be suggested as an optional write in option on all name tags
- All entrances excluding the main door to the conference center will be secured and locked
- Anyone entering the venue must pass the front desk to get inside
- All conference attendees will be required to wear nametags and lanyards to identify them as attendees
- No one without a nametag or credentials will be allowed into the conference center
- Participants will have a direct line to NCSU campus police. Phones at the McKimmon Center’s front desk and throughout the building will go straight to campus police; this guarantees a faster response than dialing 911. The conference committee will also always be on hand to address concerns for those who don't feel comfortable or would rather not call the police.
- A designated safe space for conference participants
- A confidential reporting system through our conference app. Reports will be addressed immediately once received.
- As per the code of conduct, the conference team reserves the right to remove anyone who is caught harassing other attendees or is otherwise deemed problematic
In addition, the 2017 ECAASU conference is being held at the McKimmon Center at North Carolina State University (NCSU). NCSU has publicly addressed HB2 and their commitment to protect the LGBTQIA+ community. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) and Duke University are also supporting the conference and have also released statements about HB2 that can be found here and here.
Why ECAASU? Why here, in North Carolina, the heart of some of the oppression and exclusion of marginalized communities in America?
ECAASU’s mission is to inspire, educate and empower those interested in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) issues. The conference brings thousands of students, community leaders, and national organizations to address the relevant issues facing our community today through the lens of students and youth. The conference sparks the passion within our students to bring about change in North Carolina and across the country to increase engagement amongst our fellow AAPI students to be advocates for our community and the advancement of social justice.
It is easy to inadvertently disengage from those working to create change as well as those who live in NC by turning our heads away from North Carolina in boycott. However, this is harmful — we must directly engage with issues if we want any change to be made. How can we stand in solidarity if we’re not even present? Stand with ECAASU in solidarity and support local, grassroots organizations that work on the ground in North Carolina. The narrative of what it means to be AAPI does not often include the experiences of those living in the South. In fact, it often excludes AAPIs with the common misconception that the South is a racial binary. We must fight the erasure of marginalized and forgotten communities, no matter where they are.
ECAASU believes in the power of students, our generation of leaders, to change this country and the world. We recognize the power and strength that comes from bringing together all the unique voices and experiences and resources of students from different universities. We want to build coalitions and elevate the voices of people who are at the margins of even the AAPI community. The AAPI community in the Triangle and in the South often feels more disconnected and isolated than in other regions of the country; we want to change that. We want to show AAPI students in the South, and especially in North Carolina, that they are not alone. What is incredibly powerful is that we always continue to stand up and fight for our rights as humans and people who belong in this country. We hope that by hosting the ECAASU conference in North Carolina this year, AAPI students, especially those in the South and in North Carolina, will be able to find support and hope among each other, as well as learn strategies to better stand in solidarity with other marginalized communities.
Samantha Lin, Conference Director
Kathryn Quintin, Executive Director
June Kao, Chair, Board of Directors
The East Coast Asian Students Association (ECAASU) condemns Fox News for their segment on “Watters' World” which used racist, orientalist tropes with the intention of characterizing Asians/Asian Americans as apolitical. Despite Fox News’ full-hearted attempt, Fox News’ thesis ultimately fails. Asians/Asian Americans have an erased history of being activists and political leaders, which traces back to Chinese railroad workers going on strike for higher wages in 1867. However, instead of highlighting the true Asian/Asian American political opinion, Jesse Watters chose to bully immigrants who couldn’t respond instead. Fox News’ disregard of the Asian Americans’ legacy of political engagement is a conscious choice to perpetuate the silent model minority myth among its conservative, white viewers.
Furthermore, we stand in firm opposition to the xenophobic manner in which Asians/Asian Americans were depicted in the segment. Fox News’ use of subtitles for accents that were easily understandable, as well as employing video clips/sound effects with the intention to mimic, as well as the use of racist stereotypes to condescend to interviewees, contribute to the false idea that Asians/Asian Americans are ‘perpetual foreigners.’ The segment pigeonholes Asians/Asian Americans as subservient immigrants whose lives are limited to running massage parlors, corner stores, and practicing martial arts. Fox News does not see Asians/Asian Americans as true Americans, and thus, undeserving of a voice to fight back. However, as the rising millennial generation of Asian/Asian American activists and organizations demonstrate, that could not be farther from the truth.
Written by Daniel Hoddinott
Following the announcement from the the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri to not indict Officer Darren Wilson, the East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) issues the following statement:
As a social justice organization, ECAASU is extremely disappointed that no indictment was brought against Officer Darren Wilson for his shooting and killing of Michael Brown. We believe that this decision brings no justice, no peace, and no accountability for Michael Brown and his family. We urge that a further investigation be done by the Department of Justice. We believe that police violence and racial profiling have no place in today’s society. The unarmed shootings and violent deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless other individuals by those who have been responsible for our protection and safety are unfortunate reminders of the daily injustices faced by People of Color. The system of justice has once again failed us and we are calling for change.
Until change comes, we will continue to serve as allies and stand against racial injustice, and stand in solidarity with our fellow Americans for whom racial injustice is an everyday reality. We urge people to continue to protest the decision peacefully. We want to continue to honor what The Brown family said, “Let’s not make noise, let’s make change.” We urge the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to come together and work with other communities to make a difference in preventing these tragedies from happening again.
Written by Nicole Fink
The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) commends the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision to reaffirm the University of Texas at Austin’s he U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision to reaffirm the University of Texas at Austin’s undergraduate admissions policy that uses race as a factor. This decision ensures diversity, which is integral for the learning experience on college campuses.
In June 2008, a Texas student named Abigail Fisher, a white student, was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin and filed suit against the university. She filed suit because she felt that she had been a victim of racial discrimination due to students of color with less impressive credentials than hers had been admitted. Last summer, the Supreme Court voided the lower appellate court’s ruling in favor of the university and remanded the case, holding that the lower could did not apply the proper standard of strict scrutiny.
Since ECAASU was founded, we have stood in solidarity with traditionally underrepresented communities. In 2013, ECAASU signed on as amici to an amicus brief submitted by Asian Americans Advancing Justice in support of diversity and utilizing race as a factor in college admissions. A fitting explanation of why ECAASU is in favor of this ruling is best explained by the President of UT-Austin, Bill Powers. “This ruling ensures that our campus, our state and the entire nation will benefit from the exchange of ideas and thoughts that happens when students who are diverse in all regards come together in the classroom, at campus events and in all aspects of campus life.
We hope to see continued strides in the direction of diversity and inclusion throughout all institutions of academia.
Written By Lorenzo Paglinawan
On January 19, 2013, Mr. Kang Chun Wong, an 84-year-old man, was viscously beaten in a case of police brutality in broad daylight in New York City. Mr. Wong had lived a block away and crossed the same intersection at 96th and Broadway many times before. In this particular incident, a police officer stopped Mr. Wong for jaywalking, held him against a wall, and issued a $250 citation. Although signs demonstrated that Mr. Wong did not understand the officer because of a language barrier, the officer used force to constrain Mr. Wong as he was thrown to the ground and beaten for struggling. Mr. Wong was dazed, bloodied, and suffered cuts and bruises. He was surrounded by officers, handcuffed, and taken to the hospital for four stitches for his head wounds.
Police brutality and sheer misconduct are far from being unprecedented. We can recall Peter Yew who, in 1975, was beaten and arrested by the police during a minor traffic altercation in New York’s Chinatown. Thousands of protesters marched the mile from Chinatown to City Hall to protest against police brutality and called for change. In 2008, police threw an Asian student on the ground at Columbia University in addition to yelling racist insults at him for holding an open beer can. The incident led to racial sensitivity training classes at the local NYPD precinct. New York City has had its own run with “stop-and-frisk” policies and harassment that have discriminated against minorities, particularly the AAPI community. The incident with Mr. Wong stands as a reminder that the need for reform has been long overdue. No other person should have to endure the pain that Mr. Wong faced that day.
The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) is committed in demanding greater accountability by the NYPD for this case of police brutality. We firmly stand against acts of unnecessary degree of violence, discriminatory stop-and-frisk laws, and senseless abuses of authoritative power. Moving forward, we must ensure officers are able to work with those who are limited-English proficient or faced with a language barrier. Lastly, we call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to hold the officers responsible for their actions against Mr. Wong to deliver him the justice he deserves. Our allies at 18 Million Rising have created a petition demanding accountability from Mayor de Blasio. Please sign and share the petition: http://act.engagementlab.org/sign/18mr_kangwong_nypd/#campaigns
Written by Diane Wong
ECAASU commends ABC News for issuing a formal apology following the “Kill all the Chinese” comment aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live during its “Kid’s Table” skit on October 16th, 2013. The unscripted jab from a 6-year-old suggested that in the face of the recent government shutdown, we should “kill all the Chinese” to avoid paying our debt to China. The comment was repeated by Kimmel, and reiterated in a group discussion with other children parodying US politicians. This distasteful, offensive rhetoric has outraged numerous Asian-Americans, as well as Chinese communities around the world.
“We would never purposefully broadcast anything to upset the Chinese community, Asian community, anyone of Chinese descent or any community at large,” read a statement signed by ABC Entertainment executive vice-president Lisa Berger. Tim McNeal who is in charge of ABC’s talent and diversity branch made note that ABC has removed the particular section of the segment from all social media platforms and that the comment has been edited out for all future airings of the episode.
While publicly apologizing to 80/20 protestors in person and during his show on October 28th, Jimmy Kimmel made it clear that he did not intend to appear in agreement with the “Kill all the Chinese” comment. He apologized for any hurt feelings that were caused by the remark and expressed deep remorse for the incident. Although Kimmel and ABC Network apologized, we hope that going forward, the show will provide culturally sensitive material and take heed many of the sound suggestions that have been made from fellow organizations and individuals.
Written by June Kao
The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) stands in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, his family, and the many others who have called for his killer to be brought to justice. George Zimmerman’s acquittal is reflective of a system that, time and time again, has failed to protect the rights of individuals targeted as a result of discrimination. It is a reminder that we need to continue to work harder to ensure that prejudice has no place in our legal system and society.
While some have claimed that this case has nothing to do with race, we do not live in a post-racial society. Trayvon’s story plays into a larger narrative of discrimination and racial imbalance across the country today, as racial profiling is institutionalized through biased application of “stand your ground” and other laws. Trayvon’s death and the failure of the legal system to bring him justice are not isolated incidents, but symptoms of a pervasive problem in our society.
As advocates for the AAPI community, we are responsible for challenging prejudice and racial profiling within our society regardless of whom it is leveled against. We will not forget Trayvon Martin, and will do our best to ensure that his fight for justice is not over.
For the whitehouse.gov petition calling for prosecution of George Zimmerman by the Department of Justice, follow this link: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/civil-rights-prosecution-george-zimmerman-united-states-department-justice-death-trayvon-martin/LkGHz0VH
For the NAACP petition for the Department of Justice to file charges against George Zimmerman, follow the link below (Currently crashed due to heavy traffic, will update if it is back up): http://www.naacp.org/page/s/doj-civil-rights-petition
The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) is deeply saddened by the Supreme Court Decision to strike down key a provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In a 5-to-4 vote on Tuesday, the Supreme Court effectively invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act which now allows states and local governments to pass voting laws without federal approval.
As evidenced from the recent election cycles, a number of state and local governments have introduced restrictive voting laws that include mandatory photo identification procedures, massive voter purges, shortened early voting periods, proof of citizenship mandates, and other preventative measures veiled in an attempt to prevent voter fraud. It is undeniable that these restrictive voting laws disproportionately impact the elderly, minority, low-income, disabled, and other traditionally underrepresented groups. We encourage our advocates to continue to educate our communities to ensure that all voters are protected.
The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) applauds the Supreme Court’s historic decision on June 26, 2013 to strike down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples who are legally married in states they reside. We also applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down California’s Prop 8 ban on gay marriage. Both of these decisions reverberates the dreams and promises of justice, civil rights, and equal treatment for all people to be treated the same–regardless of whom they choose to spend their lives with. ECAASU hopes that these decisions stand firm as a landmark precedent for continued support and recognition of same-sex marriage and couples and LGBTQ rights. Now is the time to stand in solidarity for marriage equality and to continue pushing forward this critical movement.
The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) applauds the Supreme Court’s decision to send the case Fisher v. University of Texas Austin back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In an nearly unanimous decision (7-1), the Court argues that the admissions policy of University were not assessed properly by the lower court, and therefore must be re-evaluated. ECAASU hopes that with this re-evaluation, the lower courts can deem this policy as being essential to promoting diversity, and breaking down social boundaries on campus. Since our founding, ECAASU has stood in solidarity with traditionally underrepresented communities to support affirmative action.
The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) applauds President Obama’s recent immigration reform proposal, which primarily aims to create a more efficient pathway to earned citizenship – especially for the student population.
Encouraging undocumented youth to gain citizenship, the proposal allows young DREAMers who serve two years in the Army or earn a college degree to go through an expedited citizenship process without punishment. Students with a STEM Master’s and PhD degrees who have found employment in the U.S. will also be granted green card status. President Obama also seeks to reward entrepreneurship by giving “startup visas” and the chance to remain permanently to create more jobs for the American economy.
Given that almost two-thirds of all AAPIs today are born outside of the United States, President Obama’s educationally focused pathways to citizenship rewards talented AAPI students who can help grow the U.S. economy, job market, and competence in STEM fields. President Obama also prioritizes the preservation of families through the recognition of same-sex marriage in the family-sponsored immigration system. However, those who knowingly entered the U.S. without documentation must pay a series of fines and undergo a series of background checks before they are legally allowed to work.Although President Obama’s plan does not specify the amount of penalty fees, paying them all before gaining legal provisional status to work can certainly prove difficult for many families, even outside the AAPI community. As a result, it is our continued responsibility to help the AAPI community overcome the hurdles the imperfect immigration system still poses.
See the fact sheet on President Obama’s immigration reform proposal.
ECAASU is committed to advancing the social equality of minorities by eliminating prejudice and discrimination, defending human and civil rights, and bringing awareness regarding issues affecting the AAPI community.
The courtroom itself wasn’t at all too special. The high paneled walls extended over our heads, six lamps curved like raindrops hung from the walls, and the spectator seats were packed with Asian Americans. There was one main difference though: there was no jury. Only a stoic judge who, in a soft but stern voice, presided over the course of Offutt vs. The United States, the second case prosecuting those who had contributed to the abuse, hazing, and finally, the suicide of Private Danny Chen who was only nineteen years old when he took his own life with his pistol while on guard duty, with the words “Tell my parents I’m sorry” hastily scribbled on his forearm.
Although the meticulously researched evidence stacked up against Specialist Ryan Offutt was beneficial for the prosecution’s argument, the tactics used in the trial were disconcerting. While the defense called upon five witnesses to testify how Specialist Ryan Offutt’s actions deviated from his character that had supposedly existed before his deployment to Afghanistan, to explain how Offutt had to pay child support for his ex-wife, and to elaborate on the less privileged background that he had grown up in, the prosecution focused mainly upon the fact that Chen’s punishments he served were abusive, excessive, and had “no real military purpose.” It was an apt summary of cruel actions which constituted as hazing, but there was no counter to the defense’s claims that Offutt had a life to lead—Private Danny Chen wasn’t even allowed to begin his life due to the actions of his superiors. The court used Danny like a prop, ignoring the human element haunting the entire trial: that a nineteen year old from Manhattan with his future clutched in his grasp had taken his own life. He was instead just another soldier, frequently bullied to the point of exhaustion by a group of men who deserved to be punished for their serious lack of leadership. But as the prosecution stated, in this specific instance Offutt had “add[ed] insult to injury” and “deserves the stigma of a dishonorable conduct discharge.”
Offutt was penalized for his crimes with six months in prison, reduction to E1 (which basically reduces his pay benefits), and a bad conduct discharge, which practically ends any hope of a future military career. In comparison Adam Holcomb, the first man sentenced for Private Danny Chen’s suicide, received only a miniscule fine of roughly one thousand dollars and a month of imprisonment for his more substantial involvement.
While this verdict might seem sufficient, it isn’t enough. It doesn’t reflect the justice that a negligent homicide deserves, but it’s an improvement from the previous trial. It represents a welcome shift in the opinions of both the courts and the media on the case, which gives me hope for the future treatment of Asian Americans in military service and beyond. I envision a world where malicious actions are treated as such, where men take an actively positive leadership role, where a Lord of the Flies-like situation in the military can be quickly and easily addressed with effect policies. But for today, we are left with the likes of Offutt, whose lack of initiative and emotional maturity led to him inflicting his rage upon a Chinese-American nineteen year old cast from home—a man barely older than a boy, lonely and out of his element in the foreign soils of Afghanistan’s most dangerous border.