Page 1

Asian Americans. in the dark till

NOW East Coast Asian ecaasu American publications volume I, issue 1 Student Union


Table of Contents

4 | Important Dates in Asian American History Diane Wong

20 | Where’s my South Asians at? Meher Farooq

22 | The Fight for Asian American Studies Melinda Wang

24 | ECAASU 2012 at Duke University: Afterthoughts and Recaps Ting Ting Zhou

26 | First Annual Trailblazer Award Winner: Christopher Zou




1830 1635

Let’s Start.

First Filipinos in the United States Known as “Manilamen,” these Filipinos jumped ship off the Spanish galleon as a result of the Manila Galleon Trade. They established a settlement in St. Malo, Louisiana, that became a shrimping and fishing village, later creating settlements such as Saint Malo, Manila Village in Barataria Bay. These early settlements were discovered by a Harpur’s Weekly journalist in 1883, and since then, Manilamen are regarded as the first Asians that came to the United States.

“Siamese Twins” First twin Chinese babies found in Siam (now known as Thailand) to be connected by flesh at the chest. Chang and Eng became world-famous and known as “Siamese Twins” from which the term originated from. The twins toured the world, performing ordinary acts with their conjoined body, and eventually accepted and naturalized as an American citizen in North Carolina.

First Japanese Arrive in the United States The first documented Japanese arrive in the United States in 1843, with many working as domestic servants for middleclass white families. There were two main types of domestic servants 1) school boys, those who lived in the house to cook and serve household duties who could sometimes attend classes during the day, and 2) day workers who lived in boarding houses with the same tasks. In addition, man Japanese immigrants found occupations similar to Chinese immigrants, there were many farmers, small business owners, and rail road workers.


1635 - 1843

The 1790 Naturalization Act was intended to prevent Chinese immigrants, along with other foreign-born people of color from becoming U.S. citizens. The process of naturalization to U.S. , citizenship was to be restricted to free white persons (excluding indentured servants from Europe). Consequently, the 1790 Naturalization Act was widely used as legislation to exempt certain groups of Asian immigration up until the early 1950’s.

“The Chinese Lady”



Naturalization Act

Juila Foochee ching-chang king (Afong Moy) was the first documented Chinese woman to come to America, arriving in the New York harbor. She was brought over by two American traders, Nathaniel and Frederick Carne, who placed Afong Moy in an exhibition hall on display on November 6, 1834. Spectators paid 25 cents to observe Moy eating with chopsticks, speaking Chinese, and waking around in her bound feet.


Dennis Kearney, Irish immigrant and leader of the party, led violet attacks on the Chinese in San Fransisco in 1877. The party most notably were opposed the evils of late 19th century of corruption, which were largely caused by Chinese laborers. The party adopted the slogan “The Chinese Must Go”, and successfully elected candidates to state office. The Workingmans Party influenced much of California policies, and a number of them had connections to the officials at the Angel Island immigration center.


The Treaty of Chemulpo The Treaty of Chemulpo, also known as the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, began diplomatic relations between the United States and Korea, which allowed Korean immigrants into the United States. In 1904, the United States secretly nullified the Chemulpo Treaty in the TaftKatsura Agreement.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law by President Chester A. Author. The Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited the immigration of new Chinese laborers for 10 years – groups that were exempt from the Exclusion Act were merchants, children, wives, students, teachers and labors already present before the passage of the act. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first law in U.S. immigration history to define immigration as a criminal offense, with possible punishments that included prison terms for up to five years.

The Scott Act The Scott Act was a piece of legislation that prohibited Chinese laborers abroad from returning to the United States. The main proponent of the legislation was William Lawrence Scott, member of the U.S. House of Representatives of Pennsylvania. The legislation was introduced as an extension of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, and left an estimated 20,000 – 30,000 Chinese outside the United States at the time stranded.


The first federal immigration law, which restricted immigrations, who were considered “undesirable” from entering the United States. Some examples of those who were considered undesirable were Asian men who were contract laborers, Asian women who were prostitutes, and Asians who were convicts in their own country.

“The Chinese Question” Cartoon


Page Law

The Burlingame Treaty

1852 1888 6

The Rock Springs Massacre, also known as the Rock Springs Riot, occurred on September 2, 1885. The riot which involved Chinese immigrant miners and white immigrant miners, was the result of racial tensions and an ongoing labor dispute over the policy of paying Chinese miners lower wages than white miners. As a result of the policy, Chinese miners were hired over white miners, which further angered the white miners. While these were all factors that contributed to the riot, racial tensions were an even bigger factor in the riots. The rioters burned 75 Chinese homes, and at least 28 Chinese miners were dead, with 15 injured.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

The Queue Ordinance, or the Pigtail Ordinance, was a law established to force prisoners in San Francisco, California, to have their hair cut within an inch of the scalp to prevent outbreaks of lice and fleas. . While the law did not discriminate between races, it affected the Han Chinese prisoners in particular, as it meant that they would have their queue, a waist-long, braided pigtail, cut off. Since beginning of the Qing Dynasty, Han men in China had been required to wear the queue, as a sign of submission to the ruling Manchu people, however over time the queue became a symbol of national identity for the Chinese.



Queue Ordinance

The Rock Springs Massacre


Chinese Massacre of 1871

The Chinese Massacre of 1871 was a racially motivated riot when a mob of over 500 white men entered Los Angeles’ Chinatown to attack, loot, and murder Chinese residents of the city. The riots were allegedly triggered by the killing of Robert Thompson, a rancher who was caught in the cross-fire during a gun battle between two Chinese factions. Scholars have attributed the riots to the growing movement of anti-Chinese in California, in addition to economic causes. The riots took place on Calle de los Negros – Street of the Dark Hued Ones, which later became part of Los Angeles Street.

Established basic principles to ease immigration restrictions and represented a Chinese effort to limited American interferences in Chinese affairs. While the treaty temporarily granted China the Most Favored Nation status, the provisions were ultimately revered in 1882 with the Chinese Exclusion Act signed into law by President Chester A. Author.



Workingman’s Party


The Foreign Miners Tax was enacted during the height of the Gold Rush, around when 20,000 Chinese immigrants migrated from China to California. During this time, the anti-Chinese sentiment surfaced in mining camps, and many Chinese miners received increasingly harsh treatment, and culminating when the legislature adopted a new foreign miners’ tax of $4 per month. The $4 dollar monthly fee levied against foreign miners who “did not want to become American citizens”, but was a thinly veiled attempt to exclude the Chinese and Mexican miners.

The Transcontinental Railroad, originally known as the Pacific Railroad, was completed in May of 1869. This great American accomplishment could not have been achieved without the extraordinary efforts of Chinese Americans. The Chinese American workers comprised of at least 80% of the workforce, however while the white workers were given their monthly salary at about $35 including food and shelter, the Chinese immigrants received a salary of about $28, without food and shelter. As a result of the dangerous sacrifice and achievement of these first Chinese immigrants workers, there have been several monuments dedicated to their efforts.

1870, “First Chinatown”
The first identifiable Chinatown in Los Angeles, California, was situated on Calle de Los Negros – Street of the Dark Hued Ones. Much smaller than the vibrant Chinatowns today, the first Chinatown was a short alley 50 feet wide, and one block long between El Pueblo Plaza and Old Arcadia Street. Despite the discrimination, the Chinese immigrants held a dominant economic position in the Los Angeles laundry and produce industries during this period. With the rise of businesses, the Chinatown flourished, expanding eastward from the Plaza across Almadea Street and eventually attaining a population of over 3,000.


1869 1852

The Foreign Miners Tax

Golden Spike Day

Thomas Nast, a cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly, defends Chinese immigrants against the fierce prejudice and discrimination which they faced in late-nineteenth-century America. In the cartoon illustration, Columbia, the feminine symbol of the United States, shields the dejected Chinese man against a armed mob. On the wall behind Columbia are plastered slurs against the Chinese immigrants, who are labeled as barbarian, heathen, immoral, anti-family, and degraded labor. In the years following Nast’s cartoon, the anti-Chinese movement became more vocal and violent.





1893 Fong Yue Ting v. United States Fong and two other Chinese men were arrested for violating provisions of the 1892 amendments to the Chinese Exclusion Act. The amendments not only continued to bar Chinese laborers from entering American shores but required those already in the United States to obtain a certificate of residence from an internal revenue officer stating that they were legally entitled to be here. Fong Yue Ting, though a permanent resident of New York City since 1879, had never bothered to register and was arrested for violating these provisions. The decision of the Supreme Court confirmed the right of the Congress to treat aliens as it wished, and this legislation became the constitutional bedrock for all subsequent questions as to Congress’ rights in regard to immigrants.

United States v. Wong Kim Ark Pivotal Supreme Court case that decided jus soli determined that Chinese Americans born and have residency in the United States are naturalized and have an American citizenship.

Asiatic Exclusion League

The Asiatic Exclusion Leage was a racist organization formed in the early twentieth century in the United States that aimed to prevent immigration of people of East Asian origin. The Asiatic Exclusion League was formed in San Francisco, California, by labor unions of predominently European immigrants. The group’s stated aims were to spread anti-Asian propaganda and influence legislation restricting Asian immigration, specifically targeted were Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans. The League was almost immediately successful in pressuring the San Francisco Board of Education to segregate Asian school children.

San Francisco Earthquake

The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 displaced hundreds of thousands of people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Largely damaged by the earthquake and fire was San Francisco’s Chinatown, hundreds of causalities in Chinatown went ignored and unrecorded. The 1906 earthquake and fire afforded a convenient excuse by city officials to claim Chinatown, and relocate the Chinese remaining in the city to segregated camps in a remote, cold, and windy corner of the Presidio.

The Gresham-Yang Treaty accepted total prohibition of Chinese immigrants to the United States, in return for the readmission of those who left the United States back in China on a visit (the treaty nullified the Scott Act of 1888).

First Korean Immigrant Arrives to the United States

San Francisco School Board Incident

Peter Ryu arrives in Hawaii on a Japanese ship as the first Korean.


1889 1906 8

Gresham-Yang Treaty


Shortly after the Chinese Exclusion Act, Chae Chan Ping decided to re-enter the United States using original authorization. He was denied reentry. With an unanimous vote, the Supreme Court ruled, the United States government can constitutionally restriction the entrance of aliens as “an incident of sovereignty” because the treaties regarding Chinese Exclusion held the same value as a federal statue and can be repealed or modified based on Congress’ desire to do so.



Chae Chan Ping v. United States

The San Fransisco School Board announces that they were going to make a separate school for just the Japanese, Chinese and Korean children. Up to this point, Chinese and Korean school children have always been segregated, but this announcement causes instant protest in the community. The announcement was later dropped by the school board.



An immigrant processing facility in San Francisco Bay, referred to as the “west Ellis Island”. Angel Island was starkly different than Ellis Island, in that many of the 56, 000 Asian immigrants who came through Angel Island were held in the immigration detention centers for months, weeks, and even years. Angel Island is now a museum, attracting over thousands of tourists each year.

The first Asian Hollywood star Sessue Hayakawa became the first Asian to star in a Hollywood film with the release of The Typhoon


Also know as Immigration Act of 1917 and the Asiatic Barred Zone Act. This law added to the list of “undesirables”, who were prevented from entering the country based on their national origins. Severe illnesses included, but were not limited to, epilepsy and mental illnesses/ physical deformations. Despite Woodrow Wilson’s previous veto of the act, the law received a majority support in the Senate and the House.

Ozawa v. United States The United States found Japanese immigrant, Takao Ozawa, ineligible for naturalization under the Naturalization Act, which allowed African- Americans and Caucasian to apply for citizenship through nativity. He did not challenge the racist nature of the law, instead he sought to have Japanese people classified as white. However, the explanation of the ruling against this notion, states that Caucasians are exclusively defined as white, restricting Asians from this classification.

California Alien Land Law of 1920




1910 Angel Island Immigration Station Opens

“Barred Zone” Immigration Law

In 1920, the 1913 California Land Law was amended and made more restrictive. The amendments were aimed at Japanese and Chinese immigrants in California, and prohibited Asian farmers from owning, buying, and leasing land.

Immigration Act of 1924/ National Origins Act Also known as the Johnson-Reed Act. This act limited the amount of Asians who could enter the country from any Asian country to 2% of the number of people already residing in the US, a tight constraint since the 3% allowance in the 1921 Exclusion Act.

The California Alien Land Law prohibited “aliens ineligible for citizenship” (i.e. , all Asian immigrants) from owning land or property, but permitted three year leases. It affected the Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Korean immigrant farmers in California. In order to bypass the legislation, many Japanese immigrants placed the title to the land to their American born children, or set up a corporate with American friends of lawyers.


California Alien Land Law of 1913



An informal agreement between the US and the Emperor of Japan to not place restrictions on Japanese immigration, in return , Japan would restriction emigration out of the country to the US. While Congress never officially approved the agreement, the purpose was to reduce Japanese and US tensions in the Pacific after its defeat to the Soviet Union and the US, causing Japan to desire equal treatment.

Anna May Wong, a Chinese American actress, became the first Asian American actress when she was starred in Bits of Life. Wong went to star in other films, such as Toll of the Sea, The Thief of Bagdad, PIccadilly, and Daughter of the Dragon. Her acting career had been marred by the “Dragon Lady” and “Butterfly” stereotypes, which either depicted her as evil, sly, and deceitful, or naive and self-sacrificing. Wong remains to be well-recognized and even portrayed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Thind v. United States

Trading With the Enemy Act Criminalized sending money back to home to China for Chinese immigrants during McCarthy era.


Picture: Japan’s Consul General, Juichi Soyeda (L) and Japanese lawyer Tadao Kamiya (R) arrive in the United States to lobby against the law.

Gentlemen’s Agreement

19071924 10


First Asian American Woman Premiered in an American Film

The US Supreme Court ruled that Bhagat Singh Thind can not be naturalized as he was not of Caucasian decent. He defended the definition, which he fit, of Caucasian is someone of Aryan decent and has a high caste in society. However, this was not recognized by the US Supreme Court, which believed he didn’t fit the common understanding of Caucasian.






War Brides Act Act that allowed spouses and adopted children of United States military officers, including many Asian, to immigrate to the United States after World War II on a non-quota basis. Despite the exclusionary laws targeting Asians during this time period, this Act became an important loophole for Asian veterans to bring and reunite with their families and wives to the country.

Pearl Harbor

Tydings-McDuffie Act Signed An United States federal law that established a 10-year Commonwealth period in the Philippines and independence from the United States. This set the timetable for a sovereign self-government in the Philippines.

The Empire of Japan attacked the United States Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack was preventive, intended to stop the US Pacific Fleet from interfering with Japanese Southeast Asia campaign, against overseas allies, some of which were US allies. This initiated US involvement in World War II and later, the bombing of two Japanese cities.

Hirabayashi v. United States Landmark United States Supreme Court case that contested the application of curfews as a result of the Executive Order 9066 during World War II. Hirabayashi, a Japanese American student at the University of Washington, violated his curfew and relocation order and subsequently arrested, convicted, and forcibly sent to an internment camp.

Oyama v. California


Magnunson Act



A fire destroyed the Administration Office and Detention of Angel Island, resulting in the UF mandated closing of the immigration center.

Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an exclusion order that authorized the United States Secretary of War to detain and exclude individuals as deemed necessary regardless of ethnicity or race, and also transform specific areas into military zones. While it did not target a specific ethnic group or race, it did discreetly aim and target the Japanese American community. Accordingly, about 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were forced from their homes and relocated into makeshift internment camps without an official trial and due process, determination of guilt, or evidence of espionage and sabotage.

A landmark United States Supreme Court case that held that the Japanese American Internment as a result of Executive Order 9066 to be constitutional. Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American that ignored the order to be relocated to an internment camp in order to stay with his girlfriend, was caught, arrested, and convicted. He contested the charges and argued that the order violated his constitutional rights provided to him as a citizen and that the order discriminated him based on his race, but the court confirmed his conviction.

Repealed the exclusion of Chinese immigration, however there was a quota of 100 Chinese immigrants selected by U.S. government who were allowed to enter the United States annually.


Executive Order 9066

Angel Island Immigration Center Fire/Closes Down

1934 1848 12


Korematsu v. United States

United States Supreme Court case that decided that specific provisions of the 1913 and 1920 California Alien Land Laws violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to Fred Oyama who as a Japanese American naturalized in the United States had purchased land on behalf of his father. While his father cannot own land under his name, because he could not apply for naturalization, his son, born in the United States and naturalized, can own land. The case set an important precedent that opened the door for land ownership opportunities for Japanese Americans under the protection of the law if United States citizen


Supreme Court case that convicted Chinese American from the China Daily News, a newspaper publication, under the Trading With the Enemy Act that prohibited and criminalized sending monetary funds back to China.



First Asian American Congresswoman Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink became the first Asian American woman elected to Congress from Hawaii. She went on to oppose the Vietnam War, support peace, fight for civil rights, women’s rights, economic justice, civil liberties, and equal rights in education.


United States v. China Daily News


The Internal Security Act was the informal Chinese Confession Program during the Cold War, the provisions were targeted at immigrants and progressive political movements. The first provision had to do with the statue of limitations – extended the statute of limitations for any violation of immigration law. Any pass violation of immigration law even if committed earlier was still punishable by a fine, imprisonment or deportation. The second provision expanded the definition of what could be considered subversive activities (participating in a strike, protest, etc). The third provision granted broad powers to the attorney general to indefinitely detain i any alien without cause. The fourth provision allowed the establishment of concentration camps for alien and citizens alike, should the president declare there was a internal security threat.



Internal Security Act

First Asian American Congressman Dalip Singh Saund, a South Asian American, becomes the first Asian American to be elected to the United States Congress. He advocated for South Asian naturalization rights and against corruption.

Bruce Lee became the first Asian American Hollywood action superstar and legend when Enter the Dragon premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

Model Minority Term Coined Towards Asian Americans

1966 1959

Term “model minority” first coined by sociologist WIlliam Petersen in an article he wrote for The New York Times Magazine, “Success story: Japanese American style,” that highlighted that the educational and financial success of Japanese Americans, relative to other immigrant groups, meant that they were able to overcome discrimination as a whole.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965/Hart-Cellar Act

First Asian American U.S. Senator

Momental immigration reform act that reversed years of restrictive immigration policies against Asia. The Act allowed a greater number of immigrants to enter the United States unrestricted by geographic location or origins.

Hiram Fong became the first Asian American to be elected to the U.S. Senate.



First Asian American Hollywood Legend

San Francisco inter-ethnic movement started by student activist groups and organizations on college campuses to advocate for more class and programs about ethnic studies and history.

McCarran – Walter Act The McCarran-Walter Act, also known as the Immigration and Nationality Act, removed total ban of Chinese immigrants but still upheld national origins quotas. The act illustrates a mixed bag in terms of reforms of Asian Americans. The first provision establishes naturalization rights and allows Asian immigrants to naturalize to U.S. citizenship. As a result of this provision, a anomalous status of “aliens ineligible to citizenship” is knocked off the U.S. immigration law. The second provision increases the immigration quota from various Asian countries (China: 205, Japan: 185). Although these numbers were not large, they represent a positive reform. The third provision broadened the subversion clauses even more so a whole host of activities could be considered a subversive activity and considered dangerous to the U.S. . The fourth provision established a stringent set of screening procedures for Aliens coming in and out of the country. Aliens with permanent resident status would be subject to the screening program, and any undesirable aliens would not be admitted to the U.S. Taken as a whole, the act was incredibly unpopular.

San Francisco Third World Liberation Front

1950 1973 14


Influenced by the beginning of the Japanese American movement for redress and reparations, Korematsu filed for a writ of coram nobis to challenge his conviction for violating Executive Order 9066 by not reporting to the internment camps. Shortly after deciding to re-open his case, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the U.S. District Court of Northern California in San Francisco formally overturned his conviction.

Refugee Act of 1980

First Asian American In Space Ellison Shoji Onizuka, a Japanese American from Hawaii, became the first Asian American astronaut in space with the Space Shuttle Discovery. He served as a mission specialist on-board the shuttle and responsible for activities of the primary payloads, which included the unfolding of the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) surface. After 48 orbits around the Earth, he returned to Earth. Onizuka died in his second mission with Space Shuttle Challenger the following year that exploded shortly after launch.


Korematsu Coram Nobis/ Korematsu v. United States Overturned



The second wave of Vietnamese refugees started in 1977 until 1981. Under the fall of Saigon, the sprout of re-educational camps, socialist policies, and corruption influenced many to flee on makeshift boats. Nicknamed as “Vietnamese boatpeople,” men, women, and children all fled in horrible conditions, overcrowded, widespread sickness, starvation, dehydration, pirate attacks, and death.



Second Wave of Vietnamese Refugees

Act that reformed the United States immigration law in defined “refugee,” reduced restrictions on entry, and admitted refugees on a systematic basis for humanitarian reasons. Primarily, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian political refugees were all greatly affected by this Act which supported their immigration to the United States.

September 11 Attacks World Trade Centers in New York City collapsed as a result of suicide attacks that involved two hijacked commercial jet airliners crashing into the towers. A third hijacked commercial jet airliner crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. The United States pointed that the terrorist attacks were affliated with al-Queda, a militant Islamic terrorist organization, and called for retribution against Osama bin Laden. Most importantly, the attacks sparked an outbreak of discrimination, violence, and racism in Muslims and South Asian communities.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Murder of Vincent Chin

Murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi

Civil Liberties Act of 1988 Signed Act that granted reparations to Japanese Americans interned during World War II as a result of Executive Order 9066. The Act granted each surviving internee with about $20,000 dollars in compensation. Moreover, the United States apologized and recognized that the internment had been unjust based on race prejudice, war hysteria, and failed political leadership.


Vincent Chin was a Chinese American murdered in Detriot, Michigan by Crysler superintendent Ronald Ebens, and his stepson Michael Nitz. Many of the layoffs in Detriot’s auto industry was blamed on the increasing market share of Japanese automakers – leading to allegations that Vincent Chin received racially charged comments before his death. The murder generated public outrage over the lenient sentencing the two men, a plea bargain brought the charges down from second degree murder. Both Ebens and Nitz served no jail time, and instead were given three years probation with a fine of $3,000. The case became a pivotal point for the Asian American community, and is often considered the beginning of the pan-ethnic Asian American movement.


1975 2001 16


When Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, fell on April 30, 1975 to North Vietnamese military forces, the first wave of Vietnamese refugees began. The first wave consisted of mainly South Vietnamese soldiers and their families that had relations to the United States that left Vietnam in fear of political persecution between 1975 and 1977.



Fall of Saigon/First Wave of Vietnamese Refugees Begins

President George H. W. Bush signs a congressional bill that designates May to be Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) in commemoration to the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843 and mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. To the present day, May is celebrated with a yearly theme, cultural celebrations, festivals, discussions, and activities.

Balbir Singh Sodhi was a Sikh American who is a gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona. In the aftermath of 9/11, Balbir was shot five times by Frank Rogue and died instantly. During this time there was a upwards trend of several hundreds of cases targeting individuals of south Asian descent – anything from drive by shootings to verbal assault. Balbir Singh Sodhi’s case was the first case post 9/11 to be identified a hate crime, and a rallying point for the Muslim American community against racial profiling.


Jim Yong Kim, a Korean American physician, anthropologist, global health leader, and professor, becomes the first Asian American Ivy League president of Dartmouth College. He is also the first male president of color in the Ivy League. Prior to his appointment, Kim served as the Director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/ AIDS department, where he focused on initiatives to help developing countries with improving their treatment, prevision, and care programs.

First Asian American Band to Top Billboard



First Asian American President in Ivy League

Far East Movement is the first Asian American Band earn a top ten hit on the Mainstream Pop charts in the United States. Far East Movement is an Asian American electro hop quartet based in Los Angeles, and consists of Kevin Nishimura, James Roh, Jae Choung, and Virman Coquia. Their single “Like a G6” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in December of 2010.

If you wish to contribute to this project, please contact ECAASU’s Associate Director of Advocacy, Diane Wong, at

2010 18

New York Chapter

ECAASU members are invited to join

Jeremy Lin Jeremy Lin became the first American born player in the NBA player to be of Chinese/Taiwanese descent signed out of Harvard into a two year deal with the Golden State Warriors. His contract is partially guaranteed with a team option for the second year. Lin became the first Harvard player since 1954 to play basketball in the NBA.

Japanese American Citizens League

New York JACL at $25 per year. Sources: _Chan, Sucheng. “Asian Americans: An Interpretive History.” Boston: Twayne, 1991. Print _Ding, Loni. "Ancestors in the Americas PBS Video Series." CET: Ancestors in the Americas PBS Video Series. PBS. Web. 23 Dec. 2011. <>. _Mintz, S. (2012). “Digital History.” Web. 23 Dec. 2011. <>. _Takaki, Ronald. “Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans.” New York: Little, Brown, and, 1998. Print.

chapter meets monthly (except in August) in

Midtown Manhattan

Our next project is tribute to Nisei veterans sometime soon.

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where’s my south asians at? By: Meher Farooq

This is a question that probably many of us don’t encounter on a dayto-day basis and even at many Asian American events. Why is that? Why isn’t there a loud South Asian voice? Is it because South Asians don’t belong or because South Asian themselves don’t associatewith what it means to be “Asian American”?

irst off, let’s define Asian American. The term simply refers to an American who has Asian ancestry. South Asians fit the bill, HOWEVER, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, Asian is typically thought to be people of East Asian descent. With that stereotype in mind, South Asians are sometimes alienated from that definition, thereby causing a divide in Asian American identity between peoples of South Asian and East Asian heritage. It is true – South Asians have unique cultures and traditions that are distinct from other Asian countries. This fact in itself may propagate the divide, leading South Asians themselves to think of this difference as a reason to not identify with the Asian American identity. To simplify things, we can look at this mentality as a two-way street – both the environment and the people themselves influence what it means to be Asian American. I am an avid believer that South Asians are an equally important part of “Asian Americanness” so I say this, “South Asians, where you at?!” A real life example of where South Asian identity comes to play is… .ECAASU! The East Coast Asian American Student Union’s purpose is to inspire, educate, and empower those interested in Asian American and Pacific Islander American issues. Through the efforts of the boards, ECAASU is able to do this annually, with

many people in attendance. I have met countless people at this year’s conference, but there is a group with very few attendees – South Asians. Why is this? Is it because South Asians do not feel the need to come to this conference or is it that, ironically, the conference is unknowingly catered to people of mainly East Asian descent? This answer may not be known, but we do know that possibly both play a part in why the South Asian population is a bit lacking. Going back to the conference, I was happy seeing such lively faces, passionate about the Asian American cause. But, looking around, I was a little saddened, and left wondering, “Where my South Asians at?” Perhaps I am just being just a stickler for the integration of South Asian in Asian American identity, however, there are many improvements being made. For example, this year on national board, there were three South Asians, including me. Why does this matter? Well, it always starts with something small to make something big. The more advocacy for this cause and the more representation, the more the divide will lessen. And as this divide of identities lessens, the more representation Asian Americans have in total. With a huge number identifying as one, we, as Asian Americans, can make a difference, and the question won’t be “Where my South Asians at?” but “Where my Asians at?”



Fight AmericanStudies For


By: Melinda Wang

In the midst of the fight for social justice and regaining freedom in the

60s, Asian American Studies began to arise on the West Coast along with Africana Studies, Latino/a Studies, and Native American Studies.

Asian American Studies represents a rich discipline about the AAPI experience that has largely been ignored in most every manner. The challenges that have shaped this experience and that have shaped America offer a unique perspective on the American identity that cannot be studied through any other avenue. Its successful establishment, mostly on the West Coast, is further proof of its ability to sustain itself. It is even more surprising, then, that even academics on the West Coast doubt its necessity (as they do with other ethnic studies and gender and sexuality studies). The reasons for such ignorance come from the inherent cultural unawareness of the significance of Asian American Studies. Moreover, as a political discipline, it is inherently racist and only helps to widen the divide between


Williams College, the fight to institutionalize Asian American Studies in the curriculum has brought to light many of the misunderstandings that have hindered the formal establishment of this discipline. Several of the arguments against Asian American Studies include the following. It is often seen as an under-developed area of study that cannot sustain its own study. This opinion is seen on the East Coast by many academics who do not have experience with Asian American Studies and therefore see it as a relatively small subfield in American Studies that does not have legitimacy in and of itself. Asian American Studies only needs to take up a few classes in the corner of American Studies simply because it does not have much information to understand. As a blossoming field, t


different racial groups. True, Asian American Studies is a political interdisciplinary field, but, on the contrary, it helps to bring understanding to the Asian American experience and therefore acts as a platform for comparison between other ethnic minority groups and majority. Without any knowledge about the AAPI social, political, and economic importance, the AAPI community will continually be seen as a foreign racial group that does not belong in America—a view that only strengthens the gap between AAPI and the rest of the American community. On the other hand, the establishment of Asian American Studies increases the richness of the word “diversity” in America and bringing together separate racial groups. Although it is an interesting field, it is not a pressing priority and therefore does not need to be institutionalized. Many disciplines are important, and Asian American Studies should not necessarily be the first priority in every single context, but it should be important enough for academics and university administration to consider. If students spend the effort to push for Asian American Studies

(as opposed to other important fields), administration should not discount it as not important and instead, should reconsider its existence in the curriculum. There are plenty of other reasons why Asian American Studies has not successfully spread across the States as well as other ethnic studies, including the cultural tendencies of many AAPI, the cultural perception of the AAPI community at large, etc. Onev could spend years debating and teasing through all the reasons, but at ECAASU, we are moving past all the reasons (erroneous or not) why we shouldn’t have Asian American Studies and towards how we can help student leaders institutionalize the discipline in their respective universities. Understanding the importance of Asian American Studies is the first step for you. Wanting to bring it to your school is the second. Armed with the desire for and the knowledge of Asian American Studies and the correct resources to connect you such as ECAASU, institutionalizing Asian American Studies should not seem quite as daunting and far-reaching as it may initially seem. ECAASU’s goal this year to help bring Asian American Studies to college campuses includes: • establishing a National Asian American Studies Honor Society at universities that do have the discipline to legitimize and incentivize the program at other schools • bringing together students from different schools who are working towards the same goals to exchange information and collaborate • creating factsheets and 50 Important Dates throughout the year to help students educate themselves and collect information to use for their efforts As ECAASU continues its efforts to inspire the spread of Asian American Studies throughout the East Coast, we hope that you will continue to collaborate and work with us as well.


“I will personally strive to enable and encourage everyone to attend events from now on not just for the free food or to see just our closest friends, but to say hi to someone different this time, and to reach out to someone who we may have forgone contact with in the past.”



Photo by Les Todd / Duke University Photography


duke university

After thoughts & recaps

CAASU was not just another event pertinent to the Asian American community at Duke University. It was not simply a 1000-person conference for which I played a significant part in developing and delivering the logistics and concepts. It was a tremendous catalyst for the creation of many meaningful and important relationships. I never expected ECAASU to have the kind of impact it had on my personal perspective and involvement within the Asian American movement. There are many events Duke’s Asian American community holds every year: there are the more intimate free food events that attempt to go hand-inhand with an organization’s underlying push for deeper discussions on politics or more personal relationship building amongst its members, and there are larger celebrations like Lunar New Year that aggregate various organizations together for a larger entertainment spectacle. These are simplifications of course, but you see, there’s this wide range of events. Their purposes are fairly similar – to effectively spend the funding Duke graciously gives, to allow executive board members to practice their execution skills, and of course, to “serve” the Asian American population at Duke. We need to really start focusing on the last one. Even ECAASU, if you only look at how X percentage of its 1000 attendees were Duke students, struggled in this space. However, ECAASU was beautifully performed; there were small fires to put out but both the Conference Board and attendees were amazed at how very well everything did fall into place. While that is certainly an accomplishment and lauds the intense work of everyone involved on the planning committee, ECAASU presented something else. Because of ECAASU, I have now worked with and learned from leading Asian American activists all across the country. I have now seen what they are capable of in “the real world” and not only how I can be inspired by their passion for changing campus, but also how I can be a strong Asian American advocate in “real life” too. I

place an emphasis on the difference between the Duke campus world and anything outside of it because I now understand how people outside of college campuses strive to stay engaged. I have entered into several relationships that have transformed my view on this Movement and how I can be involved. I can now attend voter registration trainings and relevant movie screenings in different cities all across the US because not only do I know about them, but I know and respect the people intimately connected to helping organize them. I am now close friends with Duke alums and others who have left the college bubble to serve their communities and effect change in their respective spaces. ECAASU gave me this clarity on why execution is important but that getting to know the people involved and then the follow up afterwards were ultimately more important. I am serving as the Associate Director of Communications for ECAASU National Board in the 2012-2013 academic year. I’m excited to meet peers within the board itself and my primary initiatives will focus on networking with “real world” Asian American activists and creating more open lines of dialogues between different organizations on college campuses along the East Coast. I intend to serve the Asian American community at Duke by creating events that promote this kind of relationship building. To be blunt, our community is fragmented and socially stratified. This poses an easy but potentially awkward solution. I will personally strive to enable and encourage everyone to attend events from now on not just for the free food or to see just our closest friends, but to say hi to someone different this time, and to reach out to someone who we may have forgone contact with in the past. Then, we must that next step to follow up with them. If we can all tread outside of our shallow circles, we can, just by the sheer power of individuals, transform our community into one that is more open and connected – not just to each other, but to ideas and issues that will serve and further the Asian American Movement.

by: Ting-Ting Zhou



Christopher Zou

This year ECAASU developed the ECAASU Trailblazer Award, to honor students who have significantly impacted their communities. This year ECAASU National is proud to present, Christopher Zou as the 2012 ECAASU Trailblazer Award Winner. Zou, a junior at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, is pursuing his BFA in Film & Television and a second major in Asian/Pacific/American Studies. He exemplifies overwhelming talent in filmmaking, and even more inspiring is his revolutionary advocacy for AAPIs in the media. Two of Chris’ notable film achievements were this past summer when Zou debuted two short films at the 34th Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF). Closed, co-directed with classmate Alex Shin, is about an apparent robbery one night at a Chinese takeout and was screened in competition while This is a Story of a Girl I Love, a narrated tale of a boy and his relationship, was a part of the festival’s “For Youth By Youth” shorts program. At a press conference for the festival’s community screenings, Chris was featured in many Asian language publications including World Journal, Sing Tao Daily, and The Korea Times. On campus, Zou is an active student leader in a number of APA interest organizations. He is the Vice President of the Asian Cultural Union and sits on the planning boards for Asian Heritage Month at NYU and the APA BRIDGE (Asian Pacific Americans Building Relationships to Inspire Diversity, Growth, and Empowerment) Program. He has also played an integral role on the planning board for the NYC Asian American Student Conference (NYCAASC), for which he has served as Co-Sponsorship Chair, Associate Director, and this year as Co-Director. Zou’s personal outlook and contributions to the AAPI community reveal a deeply minded individual, whose goals span wider than his immediate surroundings. Through the utilization of the limited resources, Zou is a conscious filmmaker, aware of the consequences that come with narrow media representations of minority groups. He has established innovative strategies and tools to create a more diverse and accurate representation of Asian Pacific Americans and is able to use this unique perspective to serve as an outstanding advocate for the AAPI community.

ECAASU would like to extend special recognition and thanks to the sponsors of this award: The Asian Pacific American Coalition of Connecticut (APAC) is a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to engaging in advocacy, education, outreach, interagency and community collaboration to improve the well being of the AAPI community in Connecticut. The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) is the country’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to providing college scholarships to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). APIASF works to create opportunities for students to access, complete and succeed after post-secondary education. Through its programs and services, APIASF strives to develop future leaders who will excel in their career, serve as role models in their communities, and contribute to a vibrant America. Since 2003, APIASF has distributed more than $50 million in scholarships to deserving AAPI students throughout the United States and in the Pacific Islands.


ECAASU First Annual Trailblazer Award Winner

Christopher Zou 26

The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office. APAICS programs focus on developing leadership, building public policy knowledge, and filling the political pipeline for Asian Pacific Americans to pursue public office at the local, state, and federal levels. The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) and the Asian Pacific American Coalition of Connecticut (APAC). These three organizations are committed to creating leadership opportunities and cultivating the next generation of leaders. For more information on these organizations, please visit their websites: Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF ) Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) The Asian Pacific American Coalition of Connecticut (APAC) (left) Photo: photos/volcano-exploration/kamchatka-silhouette/




A publication of all of our efforts from the past year.


A publication of all of our efforts from the past year.