One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

November 27, 2008 at 5:45 am | Posted in Ford Fellow, hate crimes | Leave a comment

While taking one step forward and two steps back, may seem like a great way to enjoy your surroundings, the same cannot be said about the current state of rising hate crimes after President-elect Barack Obama’s historic victory. As part of my role as the Ford Fellow, I track hate crimes regularly over the Web. However, it doesn’t take a hate crime fighter like myself to see that hate incidents and crimes have been on the rise. It is ironic that Obama’s victory is seen as a turning point in history, when it occurs against such a horrifying backdrop.

Continue Reading One Step Forward, Two Steps Back…


Love You Long Time?

November 19, 2008 at 11:51 am | Posted in Ford Fellow | Leave a comment

The other day, while perusing, I found a Web site called I winced at the name of that Web site. Too often do I, as an Asian American woman, hear the terms “yellow fever” or “yellow plague,” signifying a strong sexual obsession or preference for Asian women by an individual who is not Asian or Asian American. (BTW: Yellow fever is actually a severe viral disease that is often fatal.) While it may also signify an obsession with anything “Asian,” such as manga or anime, or an obsession with Asian men, these terms hit home hardest for Asian and Asian American women.

Going with my natural instinct, I decided to enter this Web site with the smallest amount of hope that this Web site was not what I assumed it to be. I was, of course, 100% correct.

This Web site is the home to dozens of grossly overpriced, dehumanizing T-shirts that not only reduce Asian women to an object but profit from stereotypical images and sexual innuendos.

Instantly, mental images and repressed emotions spewed forth into my mind, reminding me of experiences when I was objectified: walking to the local mall and someone screaming, “Me love you long time,” out of a car window; toting groceries home when a truck honks and whistles at me; feeling like I can’t wear a tank top and shorts on a 100-degree day for fear of getting mentally undressed by the individual behind the store counter; taking mail to the post office when a passing individual makes a kissy face at you. How did I react? I didn’t.

Needless to say, it surprises me that people can sleep at night knowing that the bed they sleep on was purchased with profits from products that further strips a group of individuals of their human characteristics and reduces them to sexual objects. These items go on to influence the greater public, which then affects us as individuals.

Continue Reading Love You Long Time?…

A Long Time Coming!

November 11, 2008 at 12:10 am | Posted in fmori, politics | 8 Comments

By Floyd Mori
JACL National Executive Director

As I watched and listened to the results of the election, my faith and hope in our nation was heightened as I shared the emotion that much of the country felt. We have come one step closer to the time when each of us will look at people as equals. For this, I had a deep feeling of gratitude for this African-American man named Obama, who had many things in common with me, a farm boy from Utah, and countless others who have been teased and ridiculed because of their heritage. He had so calmly and intelligently taken on the daunting task of becoming somebody whom most minorities would feel to be a total impossibility. We have seen a literal miracle in our lifetime and can be proud that this had occurred.

What this election revealed was that Joe the Plumber might just as well be named Jose or Hiroshi. Joe really did not represent the real face of America. The real face of America is not what I tried to emulate as a Japanese American child of World War II, when I was given an Anglo name so that I would fit in better with my Caucasian classmates. Now we can be ourselves with our unique cultural background and our different names. We can be of a color different than the America that Joe seems to reflect. We respect the Joe’s of the nation and their point of view. But at the same time, we will now come to expect that they will begin to respect our point of view and seek to understand why we are who we are. We are a multicultural nation with many different ways to relate with one another and now we will feel freer in doing so.

Minorities need no longer be apologetic for the way they speak, the color of their skin or the religion to which they belong. Let us be proud of who we are and do our part in making this a better America than that which we inherited. We can stand taller and lengthen our stride in working together with others even though we may look different on the outside.

For Better or For Worse

November 6, 2008 at 3:05 pm | Posted in Ford Fellow, politics | Leave a comment

800px-wedding_ringsHistory was made Tuesday night when Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States. Whether this represents breaking racial boundaries set by individuals long gone from this earth or if it represents forward movement toward a stronger nation and future, the 2008 Election is one to be remembered.

Despite the positive change in the presidency, some things changed for the worse.

As I scanned the online edition of the Chicago Tribune as part of my morning ritual, I came across the headline “California bans same-sex marriage.” I felt sick. I could only imagine long-time same-sex partners who were happy to be married feeling worse than me.

I remember back in May when same-sex marriage was legalized – all the hype and hope that surrounded the historic event. And now, those same couples who were legally married must face the possibility of having those unions revoked.

What I don’t understand is how something that so many individuals view as sacred can be given and taken away so easily. Some logic and arguments just do not make sense. For example, you have individuals saying that if Prop 8 was not passed, children will learn about gay marriage in school and turn gay. So is that the same if children learn about Asian American issues, they will turn into Asian Americans? Or if children learn about the atrocities committed by the United States, they will also commit their own? OK maybe the last one was a stretch.

Point being: I don’t believe that people who are gay have a choice in who they love.

If given the choice between being able to enjoy the sanctity of marriage and acceptance by your peers, and being condemned by every religious leader under the sun and hiding your love for another, you would choose to be condemned? You would rather spend your life with someone of the “right” gender and hide your true feelings?

If marriage is so sacred, why is the divorce rate so high in the United States? I am deeply saddened and disgusted that our country would rather pass out marriage certificates to individuals who don’t even see themselves with their partners forever than to individuals who have fought battle after battle to be together. Can we honestly say that Britney Spears and her 24-hour marriage to some guy, whose name we have all forgotten, deserved a marriage certificate but a union between George Takei and his long-time partner Brad Altman doesn’t? Please, give me a break.

The importance of rejecting Proposition 8 does not lie in Bible verses or come from the mouths of religious leaders: it stems from the fact that in a country where so much emphasis is placed on the meaning of marriage and the joining of two individuals for life, it is hard to fathom that you will never have that opportunity because of the gender of the one you love.

As someone told me recently, love doesn’t need to make sense. Who are we, as individuals, to say, at the end of the day, who can or can’t do something?

Here we go…

November 4, 2008 at 8:47 pm | Posted in Masaoka Fellow, politics | 2 Comments

We are only hours away from making history, and our voice still counts.

Check out this youtube video:

A Word to other APA Youths

November 2, 2008 at 8:48 pm | Posted in Ford Fellow, Youth | Leave a comment

Last Thursday, at approximately 10:35 a.m. after waiting an hour and a half outside of a local library, I participated in my first presidential election through early voting in Chicago. Words to describe how I felt: fantastic, empowered, stoked! It was a great feeling to have after missing the last election because I was simply too young to vote.

But even though I did my civic duty, I’m only part of the larger Asian American political equation.

A recent UCLA study looked at the civic engagement patterns of Asian American college students, since the 1970s. Researchers found that Asian American students are actively participating in public service. Many students volunteer, participate in service learning courses and student government, vote, and demonstrate at the local, state and national levels. For more than three decades, Asian Americans have been developing a stronger, influential role in the political process by running for office, coordinating campaigns and supporting candidates at all levels.

Continue Reading A Word to other APA Youths…

Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

November 2, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Event, Masaoka Fellow | Leave a comment

I’m the first to admit that I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life from the cause of the Asian Pacific American; but since moving to D.C., I’ve been bombarded.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s great and quite satisfying to see and learn about the several APA national advocacy groups. The only thing I can complain about, I guess, is the vast number of acronyms I have to remember.

Here’s one: CAPAL–the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership.

Founded in 1989, CAPAL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building leadership and public policy knowledge within the APA community.

So if you like supporting APAs and programs that promote diversity in the public service workforce, then you should check out CAPAL’s 19th Annual Benefit Gala on Tuesday, November 18 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Continue Reading Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today…

APAs, sleeping giants?

November 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Masaoka Fellow, politics | Leave a comment

Countdown to history: 3 days

On Tuesday, November 4, Americans will elect a new commander in chief to lead a nation with some big problems: a suffering economy, an inefficient health care system, a war, the list can go on and on (especially when compared to other industrialized nations).

Americans have a tough choice to make, but what about the Asian Pacific American community? For such a large, fast growing population, how will this group affect the election?

The National Asian American Survey (NAAS) released data supporting what the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and other Asian Pacific American (APA) organizations have always known: APAs are a powerful component of the American electorate. They are “sleeping giants” in terms of their population size, their purchasing powers and their opinions.

Continue Reading APAs, sleeping giants?…

Welcome to the JACL Blog

November 1, 2008 at 9:01 am | Posted in JACL Blog | Leave a comment

This is the new JACL Blog, dedicated to young professionals in search of that online water cooler where they can talk about things that matter to the APA community .

To learn more about who’s talking and what this blog is all about, feel free to explore our pages. This is meant to be a two-way conversation.

We’ll supplement the news and editorials cycling through the ‘Net, with our personal take on the issues that are important to our friends, family and ourselves.

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.