Wednesday, July 27, 2016

DNC NOTEBOOK: AAPI delegates take to the stage; tend to business beyond the convention floor

Jason Tengco, the Clinton campaigns director of AAPI outreach, took this shot of the Democratic
members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Rep. Judy Chu, the first 

Chinese/American woman to be elected to Congress. To see and hear the entire presentation, 
including a moving video tribute, click here.

THIS VIDEO, approved by the Democratic Party, is being shown during the convention to show a major difference between the Republican and Democratic political parties. While the Republicans want to keep people out, the Democrats want to include everyone "gay or straight, black or white ..." Oops. There's that darn obsolete black&white paradigm again.

The DNC showed the new video, “Our America,” which aired for the first time at the Democratic National Convention tonight. “Our America,” created by Henry R. Muñoz III, Robert Rodriguez and Emilio Estefan, features the true portrait of our country: a diverse nation where opportunities are endless and where every individual can thrive with no barriers.

RELATED: Notebook - AAPI passionately involved at the DNC
While the message is clear and one that we wholeheartedly agree with, I do have a small quibble with it: There is only two (perhaps 3) identifiable Asian images in the video. The third image being a sign showing Chinese calligraphy.
NOW that Hillary Clinton is officially the Democratic candidate for President of the U.S., you might be interested where she stands on issues that affect the AAPI community. Her campaign has put together a fact sheet on how she plans to break down barriers for the AAPI community.
RELATED: Asian/Americans help shape Democratic Party platform
The website says the AAPI community is standing with Hillary because they know she’s had a career-long record of defending their best interests: from advocating for the Children’s Health Insurance Program while she was First Lady to fighting for comprehensive immigration reform as a U.S. Senator to making the Asia-Pacific region a top foreign policy priority as Secretary of State. As President, Hillary has plans to break down barriers and improve the lives of AAPIs by:
  1. Raising incomes and creating good-paying jobs
  2. Providing quality and affordable education
  3. Improving health and expanding access to health care
  4. Protecting Social Security and Medicare
  5. Keeping us safe here at home
  6. Fighting for comprehensive immigration reform
  7. Breaking down barriers and bringing AAPIs together

MAINSTREAM MEDIA is good at capturing the Big Moments of the political conventions but they usually don't show all the things that keep our AAPI delegates busy before the TV cameras start rolling for prime time.

WHILE IN PHILADELPHIA for the Democratic National Convention, Rep. Mike Honda (Silicon Valley) took time Tuesday (July 26) to accept an award from the Democratic National Comittee's LGBT Caucus.

Barbra Casbar Siperstein, a member of the Democratic National Committee’s Executive Committee, presented Honda with the Jane Fee Award, which is named after the first trans delegate to a Democratic National Convention.

The Silicon Valley representative spoke about his trans granddaughter Melissa after he accepted the award.

“When I see things like Pulse, the mowing down of people who are enjoying themselves in a nightclub, I think of Melissa,” he said, referring to his granddaughter. “I don’t want that to happen to her and I don’t want that to be in her future. I want that sense of security, safety for her as she moves through her life.”


Virginia's Rep. Bobby Cortez Scott, who can claim to be the nation's first Filipino/American congressman, introduced Vice President nominee Sen. Tim Kaine, who represents Virginia in the U.S. Senate. Scott's Filipino roots go back to his grandfather on his mother's side. He also appeared with the other AAPI lawmakers when the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus took the stage earlier in the day.


Last week, Joe Montano, a key aide to Vice President nominee Tim Kaine, died. He was looking forward to attending his first Democratic National Convention. He served as Kaine's Northern Virginia Regional Director.

“My staff and I are deeply saddened by the death of our Northern Virginia Regional Director, Joe Montano.," said Kaine. "Joe was an outstanding representative of this office, enthusiastic servant of the people of Northern Virginia, and admired colleague by all who worked with him. We will remember him by his positive energy, tireless work ethic, and infectious smile. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family.”


Christine Leinonen was comforted by two friends of her late son.
CHRISTINE LEINONEN, the mother of Orlando shooting victim Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, delivered a powerful and heartbreaking message for gun control at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday.

She told the audience that her paternal grandparents were born in one of the internment camps where American citizens of Japanese descent were detained during WWII.

“It takes about 5 minutes for a church bell to ring 49 times,” Leinonen said. “I know this because last month my son Christopher, his boyfriend Juan and 47 others were murdered at a club in Orlando.

Leinonen said she was a state trooper the day she gave birth to Christopher, and the hospital put her gun in a safe.

“I’m glad there was common sense gun legislation the day Christopher was born. But where was that common sense policy the day he died?” Leinonen said.

CNN reporter Richard Liu moderated a panel to AAPI delegates on shaping the AAPI message to the media and general public.


REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, who is campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat for Illinois, will have a major speaking slot (approximately in the 5:30-6 p.m.) If she wins the Senate, the Democrats might have a chance of taking control of the U.S. Senate and that's why the party is giving her a prominent spot.

Duckworth, who lost her legs and part of one arm when a grenade launcher hit her helicopter in Iraq, is the first Asian/American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman elected to the U.S. House, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand.

KHIZR KHAN, an immigrant from Pakistan, will speak before the assembly. He'll talk about his son, war hero Captain Humayun S.M. Khan, who lost his life in Iraq.

Captain Khan, a University of Virginia graduate, was one of 14 American Muslims who gave their lives serving the United States during the ten years that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. “This is our country too,” Khan, 65, said in an interview. “This is not only Donald Trump’s country.

THE OTHER AAPI lawmaker to take the convention stage will be Rep. Ted Lieu, who will be speaking in prime time, 8 p.m.-10 p.m., about supporting the United States' military.