Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A glimpse at Trump's plans for deporting undocumented immigrants

The AAPI community will be impacted by President Trump's deportation strategy.

THE WORST FEARS of the American immigrant community may be coming true after details of Donald Trump's plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants were revealed today in draft guidelines from Homeland Security Sec. John Kelly to immigration officials.

Even though Administration officials say the strict immigration enforcement will focus on those undocumented people who have broken the law, according to some immigration advocates, that could cast a much wider net if you consider entering the U.S. without documents or overstaying your visa "breaking the law.“

"President Trump’s plan for mass deportations is an affront to our values as Americans, and will strike fear in our immigrant communities that will harm our economy and public safety," said California's Sen. Kamala Harris, herself the daughter of immigrants. "These guidelines imply that all immigrants should be treated as criminals, regardless of their background or lack of criminal history, and will drain our local law enforcement resources because it makes them responsible for enforcing federal immigration law."

Of the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., about 14 percent, or about 1.45 million to 1.65 million are Asian/Americans. Another way of looking at it is about 1 our of every 7 Asian immigrants is undocumented, according to the Center for Migration Studies and the Migration Policy Institute.

The memos, which still have to be given final approval by the White House, are guidelines to agents in the field to implement two executive orders signed by Trump on Jan. 25 intended to deter future migration and drive out more illegal migrants from the United States.

One memo instructs ICE agents to ignore Obama’s memos on immigration priorities that targeted only recent arrivals and convicted criminal migrants for deportation. Instead, migrants who simply have been charged with crimes but not convicted would be prioritized for deportation. The guidelines also allows ICE agents wide discretion in deciding who to deport and considers anyone in the United States illegally to be subject to deportation.

The Trump Administration has outlined a mass deportation regime targeting all immigrants, including those on student visas, work visas, and the undocumented, for deportation enforcement, stated the lawyers of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. 

The AAAJ statement also said the memos greatly increase the probability of tearing mothers and fathers from their children, leaving families with no main breadwinner, and forcing those who remain to pick up the pieces left behind from inhumane policies and enforcement efforts. 

"The enforcement memo seeks to promote fear of immigrants and orders the ICE Director to take funds from programs used to serve any undocumented immigrants – including immigrants who are trafficked and victims of crime – to this new office that will only further demonize immigrants and stir up hatred," says the AAAJ statement.

There is one ray of hope in the memos -- they leave in place Obama’s 2012 executive action that protected 750,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. The fate of the policy, known as DACA, has been hotly debated within the White House, according to Reuters. Trump said in a news conference Friday that DACA was a “very difficult subject” for him.

The ICE memo also states that immigrants will not be afforded rights under U.S. privacy laws and the hiring of 10,000 more officers to "get the job done," but doesn't say where the money will come from to pay for the additional personnel.

From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the recent profiling of Muslim and South Asian Americans in the travel ban, we are in a resurgence of xenophobia and hate that is being led by the administration.

"Advancing Justice opposes the administration’s agenda of mass deportations and scapegoating of immigrants that are designed to create a wedge in American communities and marginalize communities of color," concludes the AAAJ statement.

“If we attack our immigrant community members, our neighbors, our friends and our colleagues, we will never be the country we aspire to be,” said Harris.

Duckworth on President Trump's 'broken promises'

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-Ill.) targeted the bad choices President Trump has made in choosing his Cabinet and advisors in a radio address delivered Feb. 17.  She gave the Democratic weekly address during which she talked about Trump's "broken promises."
“Before the election, Mr. Trump promised he’d fully remove himself from his business empire and his foreign business interests—something government ethics experts called for,” she said in the nationwide radio broadcast. “He didn’t. It’s a broken promise that raises serious ethical questions about whether he’s putting the American people first or using the trappings of the Presidency to line his own family’s pockets.”
Duckworth, whose mother is Thai and Chinese, is serving her first term as Illinois' senator. She is one of three Asian/Amerians serving in the U.S. Senate.
Senator Tammy Duckworth
Read Sen. Duckworth's full address:

The America that I know—that I spent 23 years serving in uniform—is a hopeful nation. It is a strong and proud nation.
We recognize that there are dark periods in our history, times when we could have made better choices or done things differently—but Americans are rightfully proud of our country and its history. And they should be. 
Our country is a beacon of hope and freedom for people around the globe because of the blood, sweat and tears of the brave men and women of all backgrounds who built this nation and fought to protect it. 
But today, many Americans are concerned that our new President is not living up to the standards to which we should hold our leaders.
Let’s be honest, this is not the Presidency we were promised. Americans deserve a President whose word they can trust, but the number of broken promises are adding up quickly. 
Before the election, Mr. Trump promised he’d fully remove himself from his business empire and his foreign business interests—something government ethics experts called for.
He didn’t. It’s a broken promise that raises serious ethical questions about whether he’s putting the American people first or using the trappings of the Presidency to line his own family’s pockets. 
The President told farmers in the Midwest and middle-class factory workers across the country that he’d fight for their jobs.
That’s already proving to be another broken promise. Those farmers he promised to protect are now at risk of losing their livelihoods because of the President’s reckless threats toward Mexico.
Those farmers in Illinois and across the Midwest will be the ones who lose their jobs, their homes and their farms if Mexico stops purchasing billions of dollars of corn each year from our country—as they threatened this week in response to the President’s careless rhetoric.
We can and must do better. Senate Democrats believe we need officials at every level of government capable of doing their jobs. Despite the President’s promise to “drain the swamp” he has selected senior advisors and cabinet officials who are unqualified, poorly-vetted and ethically challenged—many are his old Wall Street friends.
For Treasury Secretary, he chose ‘foreclosure king’ Steve Mnuchin, a man who made millions pioneering increasingly deceptive and predatory tactics to rob hardworking Americans of their savings and their homes while contributing to the 2008 financial crisis.
He wanted Andy Puzder to be his Labor Secretary. That’s the same Andrew Puzder whose fast-food businesses required employees to serve and prepare food even when they were sick—though I don’t know why he thought people would want to eat food prepared by sick workers.
And for his National Security Advisor, President Trump’s choice left himself exposed to blackmail, betrayed our country’s interests and—just 24 days into the job—lost the trust of the Commander in Chief and the American people. 
Senate Democrats know the American people deserve an independent and transparent investigation into who at the White House knew about General Flynn’s contacts with the Russians and when they knew it. 
We also know we need a National Security Advisor who can be trusted, a Treasury Secretary who wants to keep working families in their homes and a Labor Secretary who actually cares about workers.
This President has certainly made a lot of promises, but so far he has an abysmal record of keeping them.
We can and should expect much more from our leaders, but the bare minimum the American people should accept in a President is truth and accountability.
Senate Democrats are here working to hold the President to his promises, to make Washington accountable to you and to protect middle-class jobs. We’re here to fight for you.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Awards season means the return of the Anna Awards

Best Picture goes to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by casting three Asian actors in prominent roles. Above, the Rogue One crew didn't include a single white male (See below).
IT'S AWARDS SEASON for the entertainment industry and once again, Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders have mostly been overlooked for the best known awards for the Oscars, Emmy's and Tony's. 

Hence, the Anna Awards returns for its third installment. The awards below are named after Anna May Wong, a pioneer Asian/American actress who - even back then in the start of the motion picture industry - was conscious of the stereotypes Hollywood was perpetuating with its portrayal of Asian men and women and turned down roles that would reinforce those stereotypes.

This is the third year of the awards given to the performances on stage, the silver screen and on television. The categories are whimsical ones that I just made up which I get to do since I'm judge, jury and the majority vote in determining who is deserving based on their performance in 2016.

Drumroll, please ...

From left: Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen and Riz Ahmed.
Best Asian/American motion picture
For this category, we had to stretch a bit because so few movies prominently feature AAPI characters. Even though they were not in the lead, three Asian/American actors formed the core rebel team in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen and Riz Ahmed had key roles in the sci-fi storyline started by George Lucas. Outside of the fact they formed the majority of the rebel team -- they were were gay, bad ass and non-stereotypical. Although they were not the lead actors, they managed to lend unusual depth and conflict to their characters that we rarely see in these space swashbucklers. Rounding out the team of five was the lead character Jyn Ersois (British actress Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Latino actor Diego Luna). A lesson to Hollywood: The fact there wasn't a white male among them did not hurt the box-office appeal as audiences flocked to the theaters to watch the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise.

Best Director
Taika Waititi on the set of The Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Taika Waititi is a Maori whose offbeat sense of humor is well-known in his native New Zealand. He used that sense of humor with an overlay of poignancy to make a small film about human beings and relationships, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It is a movie that wasn't widely seen but it should be seen by any minority director who doesn't want to slip into the basketfull of ethnic stereotypes. His next film moves him from the small human drama category into the superhero realm of big budgets and big action. He'll direct Aquaman, starring fellow Polynesian actor Jason Mamoa (Game of Thrones), who is half-Hawaiian.

Best Actor
Dev Patel in the motion picture Lion. Dev was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the Golden Globes, which he didn't win because of the super-strong competition and he faces the same hurdles for Best Supporting Actor in the Academy Awards. I wondered about those nominations because anyone seeing the movie can clearly see that Patel was the main actor and if we were to get strict with the rules, he should have been entered in the Best Actor category. The studio, seeing the competition in that category, thought he stood a better chance (albeit, a slim one) in the supporting actor category. 

Best Actress
Lucy Liu in the TV series Elementary. She plays a smart, sassy and deep Dr. Watson to the erratic Sherlock Holmes played by Johnny Lee Hammer. Liu could have just been just another sidekick, but her Watson holds her own against Holmes and the long-running show gives Liu and the show's writers the time to portray a character with a depth rarely given to any character played by an Asian. 

Best Breakout Performance
2016 was quite a year for Riz Ahmed with roles on TV and movies it seemed that the British actor was everywhere. But it was his role in The Night Of, where he starts out as a frightened victimized student who is transformed into a tough, prison-hardened tattooed character. For his performance, he was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award and may still get an Emmy nod for making us believe in his character as a student and as an ex-con.

Bad-ass Woman of the Year
With the presidential campaigns in 2016, along with the surge of #OscarsSoWhite in the entertainment field, actress Constance Wu stepped up and said all the things we were thinking, even, some say, it might hurt her growing career beyond her Fresh Off the Boat success. She decried the practice of white-washing that saw non-Asian actress cast in obviously Asian roles such as Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming Ghost in a Shell motion picture and Tilda Swinton in the Dr. Strange film. She was in the thick of Hillary Clinton's failed campaign for President and joining the Women's March in Washington, D.C. She is currently in negotiations for the lead role in the all-Asian cast for Crazy Rich Asians directed by John Chu.

Bad-ass Man of the Year
You would have to come up with something really spectacular to give this to anybody but Daniel Wu for his portrayal of martial artist Sunny in Into the Badlands. The Berkeley-born actor made his fame in Asia and came back to this actioned that takes place in a future dystopian America where guns don't work so inhabitants have to resort to various forms of martial arts, swords and fisticuffs.

Best Fight Scene of the Year

It stands to reason that the best fight sequence involves one of our Bad-ass winners. Since Constance Wu won on the basis of her efforts off-camera, that means Daniel Wu (no relation to Constance) was involved. The opening sequence in the premiere of Into the Badlands has one of the best choreographed fights we've since in a long time. It's not quite the breathtaking fight between Michele Yeo's and Zhang Ziyi's characters in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; or the  sword fight in Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro when Toshiro Mifune's samurai character, Sanjuro, found himself surrounded by about a dozen other swordsmen; but, it's a really, really good fight for TV. Fight choreographer used a lot of the fantastic Kung Fu acrobatics that made him so much in demand in China and Hong Kong flicks.

Promising newcomer(s)
For the first time, we have a tie in this category with three new actors who bear watching. Brandon Perea who plays the smart student in Netflix's surprise sci-fi hit "The OA,"  is half-Puerto Rican and half-Filipino, but all American. His character is named French, who is smart, head on right, the kind of guy who could be voted Mr. Popularity on campus, everybody likes him. Despite all that could lead to being the stereotypical social snob, it turns out he's a nice, sensitive guy. He's a leader-type that doesn't have to show his abs. This unusual show kind of sneaked up on everybody and Bang!, everybody got hooked. It just got renewed for a second season.

Auli’i Cravalho, for her voice-over portrayal of Moana in the animated musical feature of the same name. We might never have seen her in person in the movie, but despite that, she gave a life and energy to the lead character who, in fact, did look a little like the Hawaiian-born actress. Look for her to sing the Oscar-nominated title song "How Far I'll Go," written by Hamilton's Lin Manuel Miranda, during the Academy Awards.

Hayden Szeto who played the unrequited love interest in the movie, Edge of 17, opposite Filipina/American Hailee Steinfeld. The role could just have been of any race but Szeto won over the director and producer. He avoided the nerdy stereotype and played his character as an all-American guy who has a crush on Hailee. Kudos to him and to the director to not succumbing to the way-too-easy portrayal of the stereotype.

Best Stage Performance
This was a tough one. There were some very good performances by a number of artists on stage this year but if I had to narrow it to just one, ... I can't ... this will have to be another tie for the duet of Darren Criss and Lena Hall for their roles in Hedwig and the Angry Inch musical traveling show. Both of the Asian/American performers received rave reviews for the lead roles in that musical about a transexual glam rocker. While Criss played the lead role most of the time, Hall had the next most important male role of Itzak, and at times, took over Criss' role during his days off. Honorable Mentions go to Daniel Dae Kim in the King and I, Ali Ewoldt in Phantom of the Opera and Philiippa Soo in Hamilton.

Best Portrayal of an Asian by a non-Asian
From left: Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton and Matt Damon don't deserve this award.
Hmmm. Lots of nominations here including Scarlett Johansson as Major in Ghost In A Shell, Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Dr. Strange, one can even make an argument that Matt Damon's role in The Great Wall should have been an Asian savior. Problem is, none of them deserve the "best" anything so we're leaving this category empty.

Is She, or Isn't She?
This award goes to the actor who no one would have guessed was AAPI. This year's award goes to Sharon Leal, who at first glance one would perceive to be African/American, but, it turns out, she is half Filipino. She loves her Filipino food, adobo and dinaguan, cooked by her mother. Unfortunately, her role on the CW's Supergirl is that of a Martian (Filipinos from Mars?) so she won't be able to draw on her ethnic heritage for her character.

TV show missing an Asian cast member
Asians are too rare in a setting that should have more Asian staff  since Sandra Oh, 2nd from left, exited the show.
ABC's long-running Grey's Anatomy hasn't been the same since Sandra Oh's Dr. Christina Yang left the cast. Not only did a favorite character leave a void, any urban hospital in America always has a strong presence of Asian staff as med-techs, nurses and doctors. The show is set in Seattle with a large AAPI population but you wouldn't know that watching the show. Produced by Shonda Rhimes, who has been outspoken about diversity in casting, should have an Asian character in a recurring role beyond the masked surgical nurse in the operating room.

Best Musical Performance in the Super Bowl

Well, since there is only one Super Bowl per year, it's pretty obvious the award for 2016 goes, hands down, to Bruno Mars for his performance when he and his dancers faced off with Beyonce and her Formation army of women. Mars more than held his own as the trio belted out Mars' hit "Uptown Funk." The dance-off sequence between Mars' and Beyonce's dancers was a hair-raising thriller, perhaps equalling the gym sequence between the Jets and Sharks in West Side Story. Here's a replay incase you missed it the first time.

Best Stereotype Buster
Conrad Ricamora as Oliver Hampton in How To Get Away With Murder. Well, he is a computer expert, but that's not the stereotype we're talking about. Ricamora recently won the Visibility Award for his portrayal of a gay character. Oliver is an interesting and multi-dimensional LGBTQ person of color -- a great role for the actor but also great visibility for the Asian/American and LGBTQ communities. “I will say that it’s a little ironic to be getting the Visibility Award because so much of growing up as a kid was spent trying to be invisible,” said Ricamora. “It was rough, not only being gay, but having the colored skin that I have. I was terrified that someone would see me as gay and I was also terrified that I would see myself for what I naturally was.”

Best Farewell Performance
We would be remiss if we didn't mention Steven Yeun's portrayal of Glenn Rhee as played in TV's The Walking Dead. Glenn's brutal demise at the hands of Negan and his baseball bat Lucille, was one of the most shocking and dreadful end to one of television's best Asian/American characters. Through seven seasons, Yeun was able to transform Glenn from the pizza-delivery guy to a heroic zombie killer without ever resorting to anything that hinted at the Asian male stereotype. The character of Glenn was perhaps the best nuanced, AAPI characters television has ever presented.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

George Takei ties Day of Remembrance with the Muslim ban

ACTOR GEORGE TAKEI, who spent part of his childhood behind the barbed wire of an internment camp, has not been bashful when expressing his views about President Trump's attempts to place travel restrictions on refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-dominated countries.

On this day (Feb. 19), the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he goes on Youtube to share those views.

Takei's childhood experiences formed the basis of his historical musical, Allegiance, that was performed on Broadway. 

He is best-known for his portrayal of helmsman Hideki Sulu on the classic Star Trek television series.

Since then, he has become a social justice advocate on a number of issues including LGBTQ concerns and a social media star where he is followed by millions of fans.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

California county apologizes for Executive Order 9066

Agricultural workers  in Contra Costa County gathered around a poster of Executive Order 9066. A photo exhibit,  'Images of Internment' will be on display at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, New York.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY issued a formal apology for what happened to Japanese Americans 75 years ago when Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Board of Supervisors of the California county passed a resolution Feb. 14 apologizing for the incarceration of "our neighbors" and presented the proclamation to representatives of the Diablo Valley Japanese American Citizens League. Receiving the resolution were Yo Ikeda, Jack and Sumi Nakashima and Yo Ikea, all who were interned as children.

From left: Jack and Sumi Nakashima and Yo Ikea of the Diablo Valley 
JACL received the Contra Costa proclamation last Feb. 14.
"I felt that the 75th anniversary of that infamous executive order gained even more meaning over the last few months when executive orders by President Trump were aimed at certain groups of people," said Supervisor Federal Glover, who sponsored by proclamation.

"We need to learn from the past so that we don't repeat those same mistakes again," he said.

Supervisor John Gioia also linked 9066 to what is going on today. He said many of the supporters of Trump's executive order use 9066 as a precedent for targeting groups of people.

"Of the 120,000 who were incarcerated, 70,000 of them were U.S. citizens," said Gioia. They were not granted due process as guaranteed by the Constitution, he said.

He was referring to Trump's executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-dominated countries. That order was ruled to be a violation of the Constitution and has been blocked by the courts.

The executive order was the impetus for spontaneous demonstrations at dozens of airports around the world as refugees and visitors from those seven countries were detained or turned away.

Rather than appeal the court rulings, the President has since said that he will issue new orders next week that will pass judicial muster.

Hundreds of Japanese American residents of Contra Costa County were forced to leave their homes, businesses and school  - like these residents of Byron, Calif. - because of Executive Order 9066.

75th anniversary Of Executive Order 9066 remembered

Hiroshi Shimizu and Sadako Kashiwagi shared their stories of internment.
By Louis Chan

THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE casting a suspicious eye on Muslims and refugees is all too familiar to Sadako Kashiwagi.

At just 10 years old, she was rounded up and imprisoned along with more than 18,000 Japanese Americans in Tule Lake in California, one of ten concentration camps set up by the federal government.

When asked if history was repeating itself, Sadako’s eyes began to well up. She cupped her hand and raised it to cover her mouth. Nodding affirmatively, she simply said “I can’t speak.”

Sadako was one of a nine people who spoke at a news conference at the Japanese American National Historical Society in San Francisco. As the country celebrates President’s Day this weekend with sales and a three day weekend, many are also pausing to remember Sunday’s 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066. The order by President Franklin D Roosevelt set the stage for the incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II.

“It really has an impact on children,” she would later say to AsAmNews following the news conference. “You’re made to feel ashamed of who you are . You forget about your language. You won’t eat food. That’s not right, that’s not right. You are who you are.”

Her husband Hiroshi Kashiwagi was also imprisoned at Tule Lake, although the two didn’t meet until after they were released. His memory of his experience is still vivid.

“The fence, and the guard tower,” Hiroshi responded when asked about his strongest images from Tule Lake. “The fact that we were penned in, that we couldn’t go near the fence. And we would be warned to not go too close. If you continued to go on your way, they might shoot you. There were cases like that where person got maybe unknowingly close to the fence and he was shot.”

The news conference Friday took place just a few hours after the Associated Press reported on a draft memo which called for 100,000 National Guard troops to augment border security.

The White House quickly said the memo was never seriously considered and never made it up the chain of command.

“How much of this is about direct impact and targeting and how much is about creating a culture of fear,” asked Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council of American Islamic Relations, Bay Area. “Even if 10 percent of that rumor with the Associated Press is true, that’s still a frightening idea that we maxed out on custom and border protection agents and ICE agents, so now we’re going to bring up the National Guard.”

Hiroshi Shimizu was just 5 when he also was at Tule Lake. The AP report reminded him of 1943, when authorities at Tule Lake declared martial law out of fear of rioting. He remembers 2,000 soldiers at Tule Lake, many with tanks and jeeps mounted with machine guns. He says Tule Lake was under martial law for five months.

“That is very similar of a military action that happened then and could happen today,” he said about reports of the National Guard. “That’s what we need to keep guard about.”

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act which approved a formal apology and $20,000 to each Japanese American incarcerated in the incarceration camps. The movement continues to win redress for 2,200 Latin Americans of Japanese descent who were forcibly deported to concentration camps in the United States.

“What we’re seeing too is more normalization of trying to identify an enemy and vilify an enemy and right now it looks like anybody can be the enemy,” said Grace Shimizu; Campaign for Justice: Redress Now.

The news conference was part of a series of events taking place in cities across the U.S. that has commonly become known as a Day of Remembrance.

“I see the Day of Remembrance as a way of bringing light to what people are capable of doing to each other and from that become a little aware of how as human beings we can become example of Hitler or a Mother Teresa,” said the Rev. Ron Kobata of the San Francisco Buddhist Church.

“Know your history, be strong, and don’t be ashamed,” concluded Sadako.


Roosevelt Library photo exhibit: 'Images of Internment' features Ansel Adams & Dorothea Lange

This photo is part of the exhibit that will be on display to mark the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066.

IN OBSERVANCE of the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum will open a new photographic exhibition entitled, "Images of Internment: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II," with over 200 photographs including the work of Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams. 

Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Executive Order 9066 led to the incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent -- including approximately 80,000 American citizens -- during World War II. The exhibit will be on display in the Library's William J. vanden Heuvel Gallery through December 31, 2017. Regular hours and admission apply.

In the tense weeks after Japan's Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, many Americans -- particularly those on the Pacific Coast -- feared enemy attack and saw danger in every corner. Rumors and sensational media reports heightened the climate of fear. Under pressure from military and political leaders, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. It is widely viewed today as a serious violation of civil liberties.

"Images of Internment" begins with a small document-focused display that briefly introduces the context behind FDR's decision to issue Executive Order 9066. It includes the role of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who disagreed with FDR's decision. In April 1943, the First Lady visited an internment camp. Shortly after that the Japanese American Citizens League presented her with a painting of the Topaz camp by Chiura Obata (1885-1975), a Japanese American artist who was confined there. Mrs. Roosevelt displayed the painting in her New York City home until her death in 1962. It is included in the exhibition.


Visitors then enter the exhibition's main gallery where they will encounter over 200 photographs (including some reproduced in dramatically large formats) that provide a visual record of the forced removal of Japanese Americans and their lives inside the restricted world of the remote government camps operated by the War Relocation Authority (WRA). Most of these images were shot by skilled photographers hired by the WRA. The WRA visual records (held at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland) include the work of Dorothea Lange, Clem Albers, Francis Stewart, and Hikaru Iwasaki. 

"Images of Internment" also features photographs taken by Ansel Adams at the Manzanar camp and a selection of photos shot by George and Frank Hirahara, who were held at the Heart Mountain camp in Wyoming.

The exhibit includes a short film that features excerpts from oral history accounts of Japanese/Americans in which they describe their experiences. There is also a video presentation of President Ronald Reagan's remarks when he signed the 1988 bill that provided an official government apology and cash payment to each surviving person covered under Executive Order 9066.

The FDR Library is located in Hyde Park, NY, north of New York City. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday. For more information, click here.

The National Archives holds hundreds of thousands of records relating to the internment, including the personal records of those detained, films of life in the camps, and documentation of the administration of the camps.

Jeremy Lin's hair-raising new look

'Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius'
KEEPING UP with Jeremy Lin's hairstyles can be a job unto itself. You can never tell what look he's going to use for any particular game.

His latest look can best be described as Jimmy Neutronic, after the cartoon character.
Even Lin was impressed with the work of his hair stylist. "Didn't think it'd be possible," wrote the Brooklyn Nets point guard on his Instagram post accompanying a picture of his new look.

The only Chinese/American player in the NBA has had plenty of time to experiment with his hair since he's been injured most of this season.

Lin, 30, has played in just 12 games for the Nets and none since Dec. 26 because of a hamstring injury. He would only explain his latest crazy ‘do by saying it’s for a “secret project.”


Suspect pleads not guilty for mosque vandalism

The Davis Islamic Center
A WOMAN was arrested Tuesday and charged with hate enhanced crimes for vandalizing a mosque in Davis, California and tying strips of bacon at the entrances.

Lauren Kirk-Coeho, 30, pleaded not guilty Feb. 17.

Kirk-Coehlo, was arrested Tuesday morning on suspicion of breaking six of the Davis mosque’s windows, damaging several bicycles at the mosque and wrapping pork around the handle of one of the mosque’s exterior doors, Davis police said. Muslims are forbidden to eat or touch pork.

She will be arraigned March 6. If convicted, she could face up to six years in prison.

A search of Kirk-Coeho's computer found searches of white supremacist websites and a tweet expressing her admiration of Dylann Roof, who killed African/American churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.

Read more here:

Five days after the crime, hundreds of people gathered to demonstrate their support for the Muslim community, and the Islamic Center received more than $22,000 in financial contributions have been used to repair the damaged windows, upgrade the center’s security system and support outreach efforts such as sending local students on educational tours of UC Davis and its medical school.

“This incident showed the beautiful good will of Americans and that our communities stand united,” added Amr Zedan, the Davis Islamic Center’s president. “As a Muslim community we are forgiving and merciful, but we hope that the perpetrator has the chance to reflect upon her actions and the grief she caused our community.”

ate incidents against Muslims have increased dramatically since the presidential campaign and rose again after Donald Trump won the Nov. 8 election, according to reports from the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

more here:

TGIF FRIDAY: Actress makes her character hapa.

Vanessa Hudgens (center) has made her 'Powerless' character Emily Locke a Filipino/American,

THREE CHEERS for Vanessa Hudgens!

The actress starring on NBC's Powerless made her character half-Filipino!

I'm pretty sure that when the concept for Powerless was first thought up and they wrote for the lead character, Emily Locke, they weren't writing for a person of mixed race, much less a Filipino/American. I searched for the DC backstory of Emily and couldn't find any reference to her ethnicity.

When Hudgens was cast in that role, it would have been easy to  stay silent and let the writers fill out her character. I'm almost certain that she must have said something to the creative team behind Powerless about being Filipino/American to help flesh out her  character's back story.

This is the first role the California-raised actress has played in which her character reflects her real-life heritage.

Powerless is a sitcom about an insurance company that cleans up after the havoc and destruction created by various super heroes.

You can count on one hand the TV roles that are identified Filipino/American:
  • Josh Chan of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend played by Vincent Rodriguez III. This role opened the door for an entire Filipino/American family to be introduced - a television first.
  • Sgt. Wu of Grimm played by Reggie Lee. Not much is known about Wu's character outside of his life chasing Vessens, but in one episode, he talked about his grandmother scaring him with tales of the mythical Aswan, a Filipino monster that eats children.
  • Mateo of Superstore played by Nico Santos. Originally the character was supposed to be Latino and straight, but once Santos got the role, he was able to tailor the back story to mirror his own.
And ... uh, that's it!

There are another handful of Filipino/American actors on television but their ethnic background has never been explored or deliberately kept mysterious or, in the case of those appearing in space sagas, are from some other planet.
RELATED: 'Powerless' premieres
Watch the video. It's just a snippet and her line, "I'm half Filipino," is passed over so quickly you might miss it. What's wonderful is that it was in the context of the episode's plot, the revelation was no big deal. There was no music swelling, dramatic drumbeat to emphasize or knowing looks to mark, what in some states, is a common, everyday moment.  

When someone like Hudgens -- with her star power growing with each role that she undertakes -- uses her influence to define her ethnicity rather than play a white or Latina woman, it's a big deal at so many levels; from the youngster looking for role models, students struggling with their identity to those Americans whose definition of what an American looks like is limited to being white.

Well done, Miss Hudgens. Salamat!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump inspires hate groups, says SPLC report

A YEAR AGO, the headline of the report on hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center read "Hate Groups on the Rise." Sadly, this year's report concludes that hate groups have risen for the second year in a row.

The rise in the number of hate groups in the U.S. corresponds with the radical right getting emboldened by the candidacy of Donald Trump, according to the SPLC's annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations, released Wednesday (Feb. 15).

“Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country,” wrote Mark Potok, SPLC senior fellow and author of the report. 

“He kicked off the campaign with a speech vilifying Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. He retweeted white supremacist messages, including one that falsely claimed that black people were responsible for 80 percent of the murders of whites. He credentialed racist media personalities even while barring a serious outlet like The Washington Post, went on a radio show hosted by a rabid conspiracy theorist named Alex Jones, and said that Muslims should be banned from entering the country. 

"He seemed to encourage violence against black protesters at his rallies, suggesting that he would pay the legal fees of anyone charged as a result,” said Potok.

The most dramatic growth, according to the report, was the near-tripling of anti-Muslim hate groups – from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year.

The growth has been accompanied by a rash of crimes targeting Muslims, including an arson that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, Texas, just hours after the Trump administration announced an executive order suspending travel from some predominantly Muslim countries. The latest FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Trump launched his campaign.

The report, contained in the Spring 2017 issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, includes the Hate Map showing the names, types and locations of hate groups across the country.

The SPLC found that the number of hate groups operating in 2016 rose to 917 – up from 892 in 2015. The number is 101 shy of the all-time record set in 2011, but high by historic standards.

“2016 was an unprecedented year for hate,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow and editor of the Intelligence Report. “The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists. In Steve Bannon, these extremists think they finally have an ally who has the president's ear.”

The increase in anti-Muslim hate was fueled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, including his campaign pledge to bar Muslims from entering the United States, as well as anger over terrorist attacks such as the June massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Anti-Jewish hate crimes increased by 9 percent during that same time period, anti-Black hate crimes were up by almost 8 percent and anti-LGBT hate crimes rose by roughly 5 percent.

The overall number of hate groups likely understates the real level of organized hatred in America as a growing number of extremists operate mainly online and are not formally affiliated with hate groups.

Aside from its annual census of extremist groups, the SPLC found that Trump’s rhetoric reverberated across the nation in other ways. In the first 10 days after his election, the SPLC documented 867 bias-related incidents, including more than 300 that targeted immigrants or Muslims.

Also, in a post-election SPLC survey of 10,000 educators, 90 percent said the climate at their schools had been negatively affected by the campaign. Eighty percent described heightened anxiety and fear among students, particularly immigrants, Muslims and African Americans. Numerous teachers reported the use of slurs, derogatory language and extremist symbols in their classrooms.

Here are the main articles in this issue (view full issue):

The Year in Hate & Extremism — by Mark Potok — The radical right was more successful in entering the political mainstream last year than in half a century. How did it happen?
Eye of the Stormer — by Keegan Hankes — Propelled by the Trump campaign and a new focus on the 'alt-right,' the Daily Stormer is now the top hate site in America.
One More Enemy — by Stephen Piggott — ‘Patriot’ groups have long seen the government as their primary enemy. But now, the movement is adopting Anti-Muslim hate.
The Kidnapping of Isabella — by Ryan Lenz — In 2009, a former lesbian in a custody battle fled with her 7-year-old girl. The case still haunts the anti-LGBT movement today.
Attorney for Aryans — by Ryan Lenz — Radical lawyer Kyle Bristow has started a new foundation that aims to become the legal arm of the racist radical right.
The Trump Effect — by Mark Potok — The campaign language of the man who would become president sparks hate violence, bullying, before and after the election.
Hate Map — An interactive display of all 917 active hate groups in 2016.
With the Trump presidency, we fear the normalization of hate and fear could be the direction of the country for the next four years. It is not certain whether he rise in activism and protests against the administration could stem that slide.

One thing seems certain, "The radical right is feeling its oats today in a way that few Americans can remember," says the report. "There are very large numbers of Americans who agree with its views, as sanitized under the deceptive Alt-Right label, although many of them may be less visible than before because they are not affiliated with actual groups. Whether or not the movement grows in coming years, it seems indisputable that its views have a better chance to actually affect policy now than in decades."