Sunday, July 31, 2016

Death of Asian/American teen draws worldwide attention

By Louis Chan
Reprinted from AsAm News 

A Care 2 petition demanding the Fairfield School District in Ohio make major anti-bullying and discrimination reforms after the suicide of an Asian/American teen is nearing its goal of 10,000 signatures.

Emilie Olson
Emilie Olson, 13, was found dead in December 2014. Her parents who adopted her from China when she was just nine months old say the school district ignored its repeated pleas for help despite notifying the district their daughter was being harassed with racial slurs and homophobic attacks for her perceived sexual orientation.

People from as far away as the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, Poland, New South Wales, Western Australia, Sweden and Germany are among those who have signed the petition just in the last 24 hours.
RELATED: Parents file lawsuit, say school district ignored signs
The petition demands Fairfield School officials be held accountable for following their code against racial and sexual discrimination and violence. It calls for the district to provide emotional support for bullied students and to notify parents of victims and offenders immediately when such acts are identified.

“The bullied kids are just told to suck it up and march on,” said Micky B of South Africa who signed the petition and who says his child has also been bullied. “When will we realize that we shouldn’t condone or ignore this type of aggressive behavior in children? How many children must take their own lives before someone takes a stand and says enough is enough, this is not acceptable behavior?”
Need help?
Bullying can affect you in many ways. You may lose sleep or feel sick. You may want to skip school. You may even be thinking about suicide. If you are feeling hopeless or helpless or know someone that is, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to

Backlash against Trump after he attacks the Khans

Ghazala and Khizr Khan drew the wrath of GOP candidate Donald Trump.

KHIZR KHAN's speech was not expected to be the emotional haymaker that it has become. At the Democratic National Convention, while talking about his son's ultimate sacrifice of slain Army Captain Humayun Kahn.  He looked into the camera and uttered some of the most memorable lines of the convention, "Mr. Trump, you have sacrificed nothing and no one."
The Pakistani/American father, with his wife, Ghazala, standing beside him, may have uttered the line of the convention when he said, "Have you even read the U.S. Constitution?" He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a pamphlet and waved it at the camera, "I will gladly lend you mine."
Apparently, he touched a nerve, drawing the ire of the Republican presidential candidate. “Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s scriptwriters write it?” Trump asked in an interview with ABC the next day.
“I saw him. He was, you know, very emotional," Trump told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. "And probably–looked like a nice guy to me. His wife uh, if you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me. But plenty of people have written that. She was extremely quiet. And it looked like she had nothing to say. A lot of people have said that. And personally, I watched him, I wish him the best of luck.”
RELATED: Muslim/American offers powerful, emotional moment at the DNC
Trump pointed to the sacrifices he has made as a businessman: “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs,” Trump said.

“I think my popularity with the vets is through the roof,” he added later.
Trump's comments attracted a lot of attention defending the Khans, even from his fellow Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have both come out with statements condemning Trump's statements without mentioning the candidate by name.

"All Americans should value the patriotic service of the patriots who volunteer to selflessly defend us in the armed services. And as I have long made clear, I agree with the Khans and families across the country that a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values," McConnell wrote.
Similarly, Ryan stated: “America's greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it. As I have said on numerous occasions, a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values. I reject it.
"Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice," Ryan continued. "Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice -- and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan -- should always be honored. Period.”
RELATED: The GOP's new Southern Strategy has immigrants in the Willie Horton role
 As it turns out, the Khans didn't need any help defending themselves.

"Running for president is not an entitlement to disrespect Gold Star families and [a] Gold Star mother not realizing her pain. Shame on him! Shame on his family!" Khizr Khan said, struggling to hold back his anger during an MSNBC interview. "He is not worthy of our comments. He has no decency. He is void of decency, he has a dark heart."
In an opinion piece written for the Washington Post, Ghazala Khan, wrote: "I cannot walk into a room with pictures of Humayun. For all these years, I haven’t been able to clean the closet where his things are — I had to ask my daughter-in-law to do it. Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?"
"Sacrifice -- I don't think he knows the meaning of sacrifice, the meaning of the word," Ghazala Khan, "Because when I was standing there, all America felt my pain. Without saying a single word. Everybody felt that pain."
Khizr Khan said Trump's response was “typical of a person without a soul. ... What he said originally — that defines him . . . people are upset with him. He realizes, and his advisers feel, that [his original statement] was a stupid mistake. That proves that this person is void of empathy. He is unfit for the stewardship of this great country. You think he will empathize with this country, with the suffering of this country’s poor people? He showed his true colors when he disrespected this country’s most honorable mother. . . . The snake oil he is selling, and my patriotic, decent Americans are falling for that. Republicans are falling for that. And I can only appeal to them. Reconsider. Repudiate. It’s a moral obligation. A person void of empathy for the people he wishes to lead cannot be trusted with that leadership. To vote is a trust. And it cannot be placed in the wrong hands.”
As he was waiting at Pennsylvania train station to catch a train from the convention back to their Virginia home, Khizr Khan said strangers were standing in line to shake his hand. The quiet and private Khizr Khan has become a celebrity whether he likes it or not. He has done what millions of Muslim/Americans would like to do - ever since Trump proposed a ban on Muslim immigration and increased surveillance of all Americans who practice Islam - he put the GOP candidate in his place.

Not coincidentally, on Amazon, the pamphlet of the Constitution zoomed up to No.1 on the best seller list.

DNC: 'Register to vote' garners more interest than 'Kim Kardashian' - at least for one night

Balloons rained down at the conclusion of the DNC.
I COULDN'T believe my eyes! During the last night of the Democratic National Convention, there were more people Googling "register to vote" than "Kim Kardashian." 
EDITOR'S NOTE: Every once in a while, Views From the Edge delves into topics that are not AAPI-related.
By the time that Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton finished her speech, "register to vote' was almost double the searches for Kim.

Perhaps that's a sign of change in our fickle country - at least those who Google. Just as I start to question the integrity of the American electorate, they go and do something like this. There's "hope!"

As soon Khizr Khan, whose son died a war hero in Iraq, finished speaking, "register to vote" spiked. His emotional speech offering his copy of the U.S. Constitution to Donald Trump and pointing out that the billionaire has "sacrificed nothing. No one!" was one of the highlights of an evening full of highlights.

Wednesday night (July 27), as President Obama finished his rousing endorsement of Hillary Clinton, "register to vote" spiked 190 percent, which it hadn't reached since the primaries.

One more Google metric, (and I'm sure Clinton's people and speechwriter will take note of this) when the candidate started talking about her family and the early part of her career, searches for "Hillary Clinton" rose, but dropped when she began bashing Donald Trump. It appears the "positive" parts of her speech provoked more interest than the negative.

RELATED: AAPI passionately participating at the DNC
RELATED: Asian Americans help shape Democratic Party platform
RELATED: AAPI delegates take the stage; a moment of pride 
RELATED: Reactions to President Obama's patriotic speech 
RELATED: Muslim/American's powerful emotional moment at the DNC   


Filipino/American police officer killed in San Diego gunfight

Johnathan DeGuzman was a 16 year veteran
of the San Diego police department.
A SAN DIEGO police officer was killed in a shootout after a late-night stop turned into a gunfight, triggering a manhunt that led to the capture of one wounded suspect in a ravine and an hours-long SWAT standoff Friday that ended after officers detained a second man who may have been involved. His partner, Wade Irwin was also shot but is expected to live.

The slain officer, Jonathan DeGuzman, 44, was born in the Philippines and had been a San Diego police officer for 16 years.

The shooting took place around 11 p.m. Thursday (July 28) in a blue-collar neighborhood the San Diego Union Tribune reported.

It was too early to say whether the officers had been ambushed, said San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. After the killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, law enforcement officers across the nation are extra cautious.

After a radio call for backup, other officers arriving on the scene to find their fellow officers shot multiple times despite wearing bullet-proof vests. 

"It happened extremely quickly," Zimmerman said in a press conference Friday (July 29). "From the information that was put out that a stop was being made to that the officers called for emergency cover to when the other officers arrived on scene, we're talking very, very quickly. Seconds to a minute or so."

The neighborhood was cordoned off and a manhunt was launched. They found one man wounded in a nearby ravine. Another house surrounded by officers failed to turn up any other suspects. A second man was arrested but hasn't been linked to the shooting at press time.

Contents of the body cameras worn by the officers were not revealed.

"I can tell you he (DeGuzman) is a loving, caring husband, father. Talked about his family all the time," Zimmerman said Saturday (July 30). "I know him, and this is gut-wrenching. He cared. He came to work every single day wanting to just make a positive difference in the lives of our community and that's why he lost his life."

DeGuzman received the purple heart in 2003 after he was stabbed by a man he had stopped for speeding. The man was convicted of attempted murder on a peace officer in 2004.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer denounced the shootings. He said Saturday that he visited DeGuzman's wife and two children.

“We told them directly how proud all of us are — our city, our state, our nation — for JD. I told his wife and his son and daughter that he’s a hero for what he did, and that they have all of us standing behind their family. All of us.”

"We lost a terrific man," the mayor said of DeGuzman. "He served our city well, served this community for a number of years.”

Saturday, July 30, 2016

TGIF FEATURE: Matt Damon saves China

Matt Damon - the Great White Savior

IN THE great Hollywood tradition of the Great White Savior, from Tarzan to Dances With Wolves to The Last Samurai, we can now look forward to The Great Wall where another white man saves those apparently incapable people of color.

Maybe the studios thought everybody would be tuned into the Democratic National Convention which featured the historic nomination of a woman candidate for President of the U.S., that no one would be notice the release of the first stills and trailer from The Great Wall. Yes, we're referring to THE Great Wall in China.)

But in this era of #OscarsSoWhite and #WhiteWashedOut, it couldn't be noticed that the hero of the movie made in China, produced by Chinese studios and with a loose pollen of saving China looks an awful like Matt Damon.

Of course, such a transgression and insult could not go by without being noticed by actress Constance Wu, an outspoken critic of whitewashing.

In her post, Wu wrote: “Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi. Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time. We don’t need salvation. We like our color and our culture and our strengths and our own stories.”


“Remember, it’s not about blaming individuals ... Rather, it’s about pointing out the repeatedly implied racist notion that white people are superior to POC (people of color) and that POC need salvation from our own color via white strength.”
It needs to be pointed out The Great Wall is not a historical drama, it is a science-fiction or fantasy product that is set in China's past. The English-language film stars Matt Damon, who plays a European mercenary detained at the wall and joins forces with Chinese soldiers to repel the mysterious invaders.
The twitterverse exploded in sarcasm and anger.

To add insult to injury, most of the funding for the movie comes from Chinese sources. 
The Great Wall, directed by Zhang Yimou (House of Flying DaggersHero), is the most expensive Chinese film ever made. It is scheduled for U.S. release on Feb. 17, 2017 next year by Universal Pictures.

The movie was produced and largely financed by Legendary Entertainment, the U.S. company behind “Godzilla” and “Pacific Rim” that was bought by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group earlier this year. Other backers include state-backed China Film Group and Le Vision Pictures, a film arm of Beijing-based Leshi Internet Information.

Apparently the Chinese producers are not familiar with the stats that show that movies with a diverse cast, i.e. leading roles with people of color, do very well at the box office. In fact, some say, proportionately, the films do better than movies with all-white casts.

Friday, July 29, 2016

DNC: Day 5 - Diary of a Hillary Volunteer 'It made my heart swell'

Red, white & blue balloons dropped to the music of Jessica Sanchez's 'Stronger Together.'

By Nick Lee
Reprinted from AsAm News

LAST NIGHT, I wrapped my first Democratic National Convention (DNC) and I was not disappointed. Throughout, I felt that I was at the center of a once in a lifetime opportunity and a true turning point in our history as a country. I will openly admit my prejudice: if I am asked to imagine the president in a split-second they can be of any race, but almost never do I see a woman. I hope that this bias will change very soon when Hillary becomes president, so that my children never grow up with the same inherent biases that have conditioned me over the years.

Yesterday’s events all lead up to the acceptance of the nomination by Hillary Clinton, but there were some major highlights for AAPIs along the way. Congressman Ted Lieu, a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, introduced General George Allen to speak on national security issues. It made my heart swell to see an immigrant of Chinese heritage shown as a soldier and a statesman, effectively countering narratives that Asian men are weak and cannot be warriors or leaders. Giving the Congressman a chance to introduce a prominent military figure like the General gave our community great visibility that I am thankful for.

Nick Lee, significant other Monica and her sister Liz.
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth also gave strong remarks about her sacrifices for the country while serving in the Army. She recounted the story of losing her legs during an attack on her Blackhawk helicopter, and how living as a wounded warrior helped encourage her to make positive change for veterans in the same situation. 

Her presence, like Congressman Lieu’s, was an important step towards correcting some of the false notions about Asian women as well. Asian women are so often sold short of their skills, intelligence, and bravery, all because they are over-sexualized and objectified to the point of dismissal by the mainstream of American media and culture. 

She also spoke to the importance of the yesterday’s nomination for women and girls, saying, “My [daughter] Abigail already knows women can fly helicopters in combat. And in 102 days, when we elect Hillary, my daughter’s first memories of a president will be a woman.”
RELATED: Diary of a Clinton Volunteer - Day 1,  
RELATED: Day 2 -Diary of a Clinton Volunteer - Message to Sanders supporters
RELATED: Day 3 - Remembering Joe Mantano
RELATED: DAY 4 - Diary of a Clinton Volunteer - Now is our time!
However above all else, Khzir Khan was the one who stole the show. Paired with his impassioned story of his son’s valor in combat, Khzir’s rejection of Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and illegal ban on Muslims played an important role by finally putting forth a symbol of Muslim American patriotism. Unfortunately, most Americans need a symbolic and sympathetic figure to represent a minority groups struggle because otherwise they may never bother getting to know any members of that community. Though there have been many Muslims who have served our country honorably, the media had yet to latch onto an example of a person who was easy to sell to viewers. 

That changed immediately after Khzir Khan’s speech in which he excoriated Trump by saying, “Let me ask [Donald Trump]: have you even read the United States constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” before pulling out a pocket version for dramatic effect. “In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law’.”
RELATED: AAPI passionately participating at the DNC
RELATED: Asian Americans help shape Democratic Party platform
RELATED: AAPI delegates take the stage; a moment of pride 
RELATED: Reactions to President Obama's patriotic speech 
RELATED: Muslim/American's powerful emotional moment at the DNC   
It is also important that we recognize the AAPI background of Khzir and Humayun Khan. Though they emigrated from the United Arab Emirates, their ethnic background is Pakistani, making them members of the AAPI group. It is no secret that in the Asian American community we sometimes do not embrace all aspects of our community. Often, an East Asian will fail to see a South Asian as “Asian American” because of the color of their skin or different cultural customs. 

However, if we truly want to live up to the inclusive vision we have for our community and build our power through numbers, we must educate others, no matter how societal norms for how an Asian American should look dictate.
RELATED: 'Stronger Together' - Jessica Sanchez song closes out the DNC
RELATED: DNC Notebook 1 - Passionate AAPI delegates impact the DNC 
RELATED: DNC Notebook 2 - AAPI lawmakers take to the DNC stage 
RELATED: AAPI delegates, guests, electeds & celebreties meet at the DNC 
RELATED: Ken Jeong makes an appearance at the DNC  
RELATED: Tulsi Gabbard thrust into the DNC spotlight

(Nick Lee, of Chinese Americans for HIllary, wrote this diary for AsAm News.)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

DNC: Muslim/American offers powerful, emotional moment

Khizr Khan offers Donald Trump a copy of the Constitution.
ONE OF the most emotional moments on the final night of the Democratic National Convention was the speech of Khizr Khan, father of 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 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."

RELATED: AAPI lawmakers take the stage at the DNC
Khan was born in Pakistan and moved his family to the United Arab Emerits before immigrating to the U.S.

In his speech, standing next to his wife, Khan said that Donald Trump wanted to ban Muslim immigration. He looked into the camera and with his finger jabbing into the air, asked Trump, "Have you even read the U.S. Constitution?" He then reached into his pocket and held up a copy of the Constitution and waved it in front of the camera. "I will gladly give you my copy." That was a powerful moment, but what he said next was even better.

"Donald Trump, you have sacrificed nothing ... no one!" Watch Khan's speech below:

DNC: Day 4 of Diary of A Hillary Volunteer - Now is our time!

Rep. Judy Chu of California.
By Nick Lee
Reprinted from AsAm News

MY THIRD DAY at the DNC began with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus, where elected officials kept driving home the theme, “Now is our time”. Secretary Julian Castro gave stirring remarks that stressed the importance of the AAPI electorate and their role in the new minority-majority country that America will become. To me, this signifies a new generation of politician. One who knew not only how to communicate with his own community, but also with other communities of color. The AAPI and Latino communities have many important issues in common, such as immigration, and I hope that politicians like Castro are the beginning of a greater understanding, kinship, and collaboration between communities of color.

One of the major highlights of the evening events was a short video segment on the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) followed by speeches from the members. The video referenced back to major historical injustices wreaked on the AAPI community including the Chinese Exclusion Act and the unlawful incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. These examples are significant because in each instance the government failed to protect its AAPI citizens because of their race. Both the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese/American incarceration are incidents where xenophobia enabled our government to strip its citizens of the fundamental rights of citizenship such as due process and birthright citizenship because of their ethnic background.

RELATED: Diary of a Clinton Volunteer - Day 1,  
RELATED: Day 2 -Diary of a Clinton Volunteer - Message to Sanders supporters
RELATED: Day 3 - Remembering Joe Mantano
What struck me about the remarks from the members of Congress was how almost each one broke some kind of barrier and all were elected within my short lifetime. Mazie Hirono is the first AAPI woman senator, Judy Chu is the first Chinese/American woman in Congress, and Bobby Scott is the first Filipino/American elected to Congress from within the continental United States. Its incredible to me that thinking back only two decades ago, none of the members who spoke were in Congress and there were only a sparse number of AAPIs in Congressional history. This imparted a real sense of how far the community had come in gaining political power and how this election could be the next step towards advancing on those gains significantly.

Though President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Senator Kaine had rousing, celebratory speeches, the most emotionally charged event of the night for me was seeing one of the mothers of a victim of the Orlando Pulse shooting speak. Christine Leinonen mourned her son Christopher and decried the scourge of gun violence, pledging to support Hillary as her son had done before his death. She memorably said of her son, “his paternal grandparents were born in a Japanese internment camp. So, it was in his DNA that love always trumps hate.” This powerful testimony alone showed why it is so important that Hillary Clinton wins in November. A young Asian American man like myself was killed for being LGBT, and every member of Congress that has voted to protect assault weapons and the killers who them openly endorsed that killing.

RELATED: AAPI passionately participating at the DNC
RELATED: Asian Americans help shape Democratic Party platform
RELATED: AAPI delegates take the stage; a moment of pride 
RELATED: Reactions to President Obama's patriotic speech 
For a community whose history has been marginalized for as long as AAPIs, to have your history and community referenced and validated on such a large, national stage is so important. Republicans like to make the case that Asian/Americans are natural conservatives since many own small businesses and they are the “model minority,” wealthy, and well-educated. However, it makes no sense to me how this could ever be true once one knows the truth of our history. Our community has only ever become stronger by increasing progressive values, not decreasing them. Through struggle for recognition and rights we have lifted ourselves from the shadow of our own history and are edging towards the mainstream.

The politics of today’s Republican party are far distant from the party of Lincoln and are now much more closely aligned with the policies of Chinese Exclusion and Japanese internment camps. Donald Trump’s Muslim-ban policy’s closest cousin is the Chinese Exclusion Act, showing that he is a poor student of the history of the AAPI community. Additionally, his approval of Japanese/American incarceration in WWII, despite no evidence that Japanese Americans were disloyal to America, shows that he has failed to learn from America’s past mistakes. As we move towards the election, AAPIs should keep this in mind when they consider their choice in the voting booth.

(Nick Lee, a member of Chinese Americans for Hillary, will be sharing his thoughts all week with AsAmNews readers.)


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

DNC: Reactions to President Obama's speech

I REALLY ENJOY listening to skillful speakers who turn it into an art.  Wednesday night I heard three - perhaps four - speeches from the Democratic National Convention. 

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg masterly destroyed Donald Trump and his supposed business acumen and exposed his hypocrisy toward immigrant workers.

Vice President Joe Biden did a fantastic job, occasionally returning to his Bidenisms as only he can, taking his message to the vast middle class of America, clothing his anger in rightousness. Middle-class Joe is Everyman, someone angry white males, Trump's supposed demographic, can relate to. Biden could have been a Knute Rockny firing up his team.

Vice President nominee Tim Kaine surprised us and just as we were getting used to his loose, conversational style, he came on like gangbusters attacking, mocking Donald Trump. And when he effortlessly slipped into Spanish, I could see all the Latino voters moving towards the Democrats.

But President Barack Obama was the clincher. He is a master orator, building up to a crescendo of emotion and then calming down, waiting until the cheering stopped and everybody was leaning forward to hear what he had to say, then speaking softly and then sweeping up to flourish, speaking louder to be heard over the applause. It was fun to watch and listen. 

What was he talking about? Sure he used the speech to attack Trump, but what stuck with me is he reminded us of all the good people who make up our country and the values they held. Trump is not America. Trump is not even the Republican Party. He made me proud to be an American. 

I'll savor his last remaining days in the White House.

DNC: 'Stronger Together' by Jessica Sanchez in the grand finale

Jessica Sanchez
JESSICA SANCHEZ's new song debuted at the conclusion of an history-making occasion, the Democratic National Convention, that saw the first woman candidate of a major political party in the U.S.  Jessica's song, "Stronger Together" could become the theme song for the Hillary Clinton campaign through to the elections in November.

After Hillary Clinton delivered her acceptance speech, during which she outlined her vision of America's future and lambasted her Republican opponent, Donald Trump; and as the red, white and blue balloons came floating down from the rafters, Jessica's celebratory song came on reiterating the convention's theme - stronger together.

“Honored to do this song for @HillaryClinton and the #DNC,” Sanchez, 20, tweeted Wednesday.
The only Asian American ever to make it into the finals of American Idol has released a single that could become the theme song of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President.

"Stronger Together" is performed by Jessica Sanchez and written by Carole Bayer Sager, Bruce Roberts and Kenneth Babyface Edmonds specifically for Hillary Clinton. If it catches on, expect it to be played at upcoming Clinton rallies. It’s already reportedly has been played at the Democratic National Convention.

Stronger Together is also the latest in a line of slogans for the Clinton campaign. For Asian Americans, it can mean the diverse coalition of the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign, both of which has seen a large number of Asian Americans in visible positions. For the campaign, it can mean the coming together of Bernie Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters to defeat Donald Trump. For others, it can mean a new America in which people of color are integrated into the larger society and accepted for who they are.
The 20-year-old American Idol finalist's "Stronger Together" was written for Hillary Clinton by songwriters Carole Bayer Sager, Bruce Roberts and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, who also produced the piece.
According to a source at the convention, the song was played Tuesday (July 26) for test purposes at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center and it was supposed to make a grand debut following Bill Clinton's speech later that night. But someone decided to withhold it until the grand finale.

On the up-tempo pop song, Sanchez sings,
So united in the spiritThey’ll be better days to comeIf you reach out, you can feel itBecause its simple everyone.Don’t you know that we’re stronger togetherStronger yes we are
Sanchez, a resident of San Diego, is the only Asian/American to reach the American Idol finals, where she almost won in 2012.
(AsAm News contributed to this report.)

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.