Victor Martell canâ€™t stay in the united states. He canâ€™t leave, either. Page 12
TABLE OF CONTENTS 3 JAMMING FOR JUSTICE 6 CONSTRUCTION/DESTRUCTION ON THE LAKEFILL 8 THE PATH TO PROTECTION 10 STATELESS BEINGS 12 AMERICANS WITH EXPIRATION DATES 16 ADOLESCENT DEMONSTRATORS 18 JAGRUTI, AMANT, NIRBHAYA AND DAMINI 20 CAPPING THE MODEL MINORITY 22 A UNIVERSITY FOR THE PEOPLE
THE PROTEST | WINTER 2013 the-protest.com firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR-IN-CHIEF JOYCE LEE FEATURE EDITOR YOONA HA SENIOR EDITORS KATHRYN PRESCOTT CHARLES ROLLET LEAH VARJACQUES EDITOR MARGARET KADIFA DESIGN EDITOR CAMERON ALBERT-DEITCH DESIGNERS CAROLYN BETTS SOPHIA BOLLAG ROBERTO DRILEA CHRISTIAN KEEVE JOYCE LEE TANNER MAXWELL CHRISTINE NGUYEN JEN WHITE PHOTO EDITOR SUNNY KANG PHOTOGRAPHERS JOYCE LEE DOUNAN ALISSA ZHU WEB DESIGNER PRIYA KRISHNAKUMAR FRONT AND BACK COVER PHOTOS: SUNNY KANG PUBLISHED BY PEACE PROJECT, AN ASGRECOGNIZED/ FUNDED ORGANIZATION. PHOTO: SUNNY KANG
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS MAGAZINE DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF PEACE PROJECT OR THE PROTEST STAFF.
illustration: tanner maxwell
jamming for justice amped curbs youth violence through hip-hop, dubstep and pop music education. By leah varjacques.
inding through the quiet, empty halls, posters, corkboards and collages liven the dark-bricked walls. At the end of one hallway, a large white poster reads in bold-printed black capital letters, “Students. No Talking. Walk in single file, arms behind your back.” It looks like a school, but it’s really a prison. Nancy B. Jefferson High School is an alternative Chicago Public School built into the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. 325 kids ages 10 to 16 live here awaiting trial – some innocent and some just waiting to be transferred to a permanent adult detention facility in Cook County when they turn 17. The JTDC also cares
for youth who have been transferred from Juvenile Court jurisdiction to Criminal Court, and would otherwise be incarcerated in the county jail. It is with Automatic Transfer (AT) students, the oldest age group, that Bienen School of Music professor Dr. Maud Hickey carries out her research funded by the Chicago Community Trust (CCT): a music education program for incarcerated youth. “I’ve always been interested in the power of creative music-making for kids,” Hickey, a former high school marching band director and classically trained trombone player, said. “It’s a really powerful tool for kids while they’re in detention.” Hickey received a grant from the CCT, a century-old commu-
THE PROTEST | Winter issue
nity foundation working to improve quality of life in Chicago, three years ago to implement a music composition program for male ATs. Every Tuesday, a group of 10 to 12 JTDC students learn to compose music in a multimedia lab equipped with synthesizers, iMACs and GarageBand. Rap and hip-hop are the most explored genres, but some students are also working with dubstep and Latin hip-hop. Students learn to analyze, break down and create beats, as well as the history of the music they love. “What I have is years of training as a musician and what they have is years of listening to this stuff, so I can listen to it and take it apart,” Hickey said. “The idea is to start with what they know in music and then teach them how it’s constructed so that they can do it themselves.” Previously unfamiliar with the genre, Hickey says she has learned a lot about music by learning about rap. She’s found herself listening to Chief Keef and Waka Flocka Flame while driving to 107.5FM on her way home from work. “The genre is huge and complex and has a really interesting history,” she said. “It’s terribly dismissive to say rap is crap music, it’s a really cool genre that has great teaching possibilities.” Rather than using a traditional music education approach, she focuses on giving these kids a space to pursue the music they love amidst the extremely controlled, restricted JTDC environment. The center sometimes even rewards behaviors by allowing kids to take radios back to their cells at night. “The goal is to provide an hour and a half of really high quality time where they’re able to just be themselves and create themselves through music,” she said, adding that her program is part of a citywide effort led by the CCT’s “Arts in Fusion” initiative designed to provide rehabilitative avenues through arts programming to young offenders in an overwhelmingly punitive system. “It’s totally messed up, kids just don’t belong in prison.” Last year, Hickey decided to expand her program and found an avenue through the Center for Civic Engagement at Northwestern University. The Arts and Music Programs for Education in Detention (AMPED) grew from Hickey’s research and gained support from NU. The 10-week Saturday music mentorship program provides a two-hour session that ten to twelve
Winter issue | T HE PROTEST
Photo: dounan alissa zhu
Left: bienen professor Maud hickey has always been interested in the power of creative music-making for kids. RIGHT: working with amped has been an eye-opening experience for Weinberg Senior Mazdak Bradberry. mentors (NU students or recent alums) facilitate, offering individual attention and encouragement to the young men in the program. In its second year, AMPED is offered to the JTDC students that “graduated” from Hickey’s weekly class in the previous quarter.
“The goal is to provide an hour and a half of really high quality time where they’re able to just be themselves and create themselves through music. It’s totally messed up, kids just don’t belong in prison.” “The guys really jump at the opportunities to deviate from their routine,” CCE fellow and AMPED student coordinator Katie Funderburg said. “They do the same thing every day, so these Saturday sessions are an opportunity for them to do something that’s all about them and what they’re interested in and to interact with different people than they see on a day to day basis.” For Northwestern students, AMPED provides a unique opportunity to experience something completely removed from their reality. While mainly serving as technical support and offering creative encouragement, student mentor and Weinberg se-
nior Mazdak Bradberry says the experience has been incredibly eye opening. “It’s such an alien place for so many people, when I tell my friends I volunteer at the Juvenile Detention Center they’re like ‘Wow, that’s crazy’, but what we do isn’t extreme,” he said. “Our role is relatively practical and functional, but just to experience that environment is, ironically, a privilege.” While seeking to give the juveniles a skillset and a healthy outlet, AMPED also helps break stereotypes commonly held about young urban offenders. At the end of the day, they are teenagers that have made a mistake. And structural violence and social injustice are not innocuous in shaping the circumstances that led them to make those mistakes. “It’s really valuable that people who experience AMPED on any level have been willing to let their assumptions be challenged, and that’s one of the greatest strengths that AMPED brings to the Northwestern community,” AMPED program coordinator and CCE program assistant Molly Dull said. “These guys really expand what we think of people who have been incarcerated, or who have had a run-in with the criminal justice system.” AMPED and other arts and rehabilitative programs attempt to break down the barriers that isolate people who have been incarcerated for so long in order to help them re-enter society in a more productive way. Over time, Hickey hopes to show that
Photo: Joyce Lee
The Cook County Juvenile Center houses 325 kids ages 10-16 who are awaiting trial. some are innocent, while some will be transferred to a permanent adult detention center upon turning 17. intensive arts intervention can mitigate violent behavior, and that continued participation in the arts can reduce recidivism. But causality between the two variables would be very difficult to measure, and only testable in a very wide time frame. At this point, the next step is to create solutions that extend beyond the walls of the detention center in a state where recidivism rates are among the highest in the country. According to an August 2012 report by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, 70 percent of incarcerated youth in Illinois are returned to prison within 5 years of their release, the highest rates occurring within the first two years of their release. “These kids are getting this great arts program in JTDC and there are some really talented kids, and then they leave, they go back to their communities, poof, they’re gone, they’re vaporized,” Hickey said. The CCT and youth advocate organizations are working on connecting youth back to such arts programming once they are released, but that requires funding, implementation and working with entirely different bureaucratic bodies. There has been talk of putting multimedia labs in high-risk neighborhoods
where most of the incarcerated youth come from, but these rehabilitative, preventative efforts are moving slowly. Meanwhile, Hickey says she wants to change the conversation within the music education community.
“(Music) is a luxury that I think has a unique propensity to better an individual’s life. Not necessarily as a force for change, not to ameliorate the ills of society, but to make an individual’s life in hell just a little better.” “Kids come [to Bienen] and they want to be a public school music teacher, and the kids in jail are completely invisible to them, they don’t even know that that population of kids exist,” she said. “So I really want to bang pots and pans in the music education community about music for all, and alternative ways of making music with kids and honoring kids’ music.”
Bradberry says volunteering with AMPED has given him that kind of sensibility. Encouraging the students to pursue their creative endeavors largely inspired by artists like Chief Keef has shown him how strongly music can resonate with people. While he views the idea of music as a potent force for social change as idealistic, he understands its unique ability to create positive change at the individual level, especially when it comes to the disenfranchised, incarcerated youth he mentors through AMPED. “What music can always do is take the place of silence,” he said. “You might have killed somebody and you might be in the slammer for 30, 50, 60 years. Your life might be gone. The least you could ask for is to listen to music you like, or to make your voice heard, even just to yourself, in a musical way. It is a luxury that I think has a unique propensity to better an individuals life. Not necessarily as a force for change, not to ameliorate the ills of society, but to make an individual’s life in hell just a little bit better. I think they deserve it, I think music is a right. And we’re there to provide that right.”
THE PROTEST | Winter issue
DESTRUCTION CONSTRUCTION on the lakefill
Northwestern proceeds with legacy of decades-long lakefront construction despite backlash from the community and environmental devestation by ted tae
Photos: joyce lee
the lakefront construction process has led to the university’s destruction of dozens of trees, natural habitats and the local environment. “i’m just very concerned about maintaining the natural landscape,” 1st ward alderman judy fiske said.
he Lakefill is one of the most prominent fixtures of Northwestern University’s Evanston campus, and with good reason. With its singularly breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline hugging the skyline, the 74-acre Lakefill has been a student favorite for decades since its construction in the ‘60s. But not many members of the greater university community know how much it cost to actually build the Lakefill. By the end of its construction in 1964, the Lakefill had cost the university about $6.5 million to construct, but the financial cost to the community was only the beginning. A portion of Lake Michigan’s natural environment had been significantly altered, entire ecosystems destroyed, and migratory bird patterns shifted. The environmental impact of the Lakefill’s construction still carries implications and consequences to this day. With such a track record, one would expect Northwestern to be wary of environmentally irresponsible construction practices. However, at the cornerstone of Northwestern’s recent construction boom are two decidedly modern-looking buildings which are to be built right on the lakefront — a sensitive location, considering Northwestern’s propensity to create artificial landscapes right on Lake Michigan’s shores. The new music/communication building and proposed visitors’ center, which includes plans for a seven-story parking lot, are slated to open in fall 2015 and fall 2014, respectively. “The way the construction is set up requires a chunk of city property,” said Richard Weiland, presi-
the financial cost to the community was only the beginning. a portion of lake michgan’s natural environment had been significantly altered, entire ecosystems destroyed. dent of the Southeast Evanston Association. “That land had in fact become the residence of a variety of birds and critters.” Throughout the construction process, the university has cut dozens of trees, destroying natural habitats and ruining the local environment, according to Weiland. “The loss of any lakeshore property is considered a loss to the city,” Weiland said. “It’s something a lot of people view with dismay.” Weiland joined other Evanston residents in voicing their opposition to the new lakefront construction, which gained momentum in November of last year — evoking protests against Northwestern’s decision to fill the lake back in the ‘60s. After hearing that Northwestern would use sand excavated from the Indiana Dunes to create the Lakefill — an action that would make Northwestern complicit in the deterioration of Lake Michigan’s dunes — the Indiana-based Save the Dunes Council appealed to the university in 1962, to no avail. The university’s refusal to listen to protests in the
‘60s has proven to be a strong precedent for presentday clashes with Evanstonians like Weiland and Alderman Judy Fiske, who represents Evanston’s first ward. “I’m just very concerned about maintaining the natural landscape,” Fiske said. “In this case, we felt the design could have been better, more sympathetic, and pushed back a little more on Northwestern property rather than requiring us to give up lakefront property.” Despite these concerns, university administration decided to proceed with construction last summer. “Northwestern has resolutely refused to make any modifications to their plan,” Weiland said. A look at University Archives reveals that plans for the Lakefill may have gone back as far as 1893, when then-university president Henry Wade Rogers envisioned a vibrant, green campus extending into land reclaimed from Lake Michigan, replete with a gymnasium, yacht harbor, and polo field. Since then, the university has acted with little regard to the local environment in order to realize this dream of a glorified lakefront campus — beginning with the 1964 construction of the Lakefill, and continuing on today with this new phase of construction. Northwestern’s location right on the lake is one of its most redeeming elements, and the Lakefill is undoubtedly a beloved and irreplaceable part of the campus. But the university’s history of disregarding local opposition to its physical expansion brings into question its contemporary responsibility towards the local environment.
THE PROTEST | Winter issue
The Path to Protection weinberg sophomore caroline miller spent her summer screening applications for asylum in the u.s. by Breanna lucas
he biggest challenge Weinberg sophomore Caroline Miller faced at her high school job was helping clients search for bargain khakis at the Old Navy store in the Mall of America. The next summer, Miller assisted clients who sought not the right cut of jeans, but the right to asylum in the United States of America. Miller, an MMSS, Economics and International Studies triple major, worked as a summer intern at the Minneapolis branch of The Advocates for Human Rights in the Refugee and Immigrant Program, which provides free legal services to individuals seeking asylum in the United States. “It was good to get out of the Northwestern bubble and see how different communities live,” Miller reflects. “It really makes you appreciate what you have.” Asylum status is a form of protection offered to people unable and unwilling to return to their home countries because they fear “persecution on
Weinberg Sophomore Caroline Miller found a new perspective on different communities working for The Advocates for Human Rights.
Winter issue | THE PROTEST
account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion,” according to the Advocates for Human Rights. In order to gain asylum and build a life in the United States, individuals must prove that the governAccording to the Congressional ment cannot or will not protect them, according Research Service in their 2011 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The report, “Asylum and Credible Fear process is far from a smooth ride. Immigration officers review asylum cases and refer them to Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy,” immigration judges for a series of often-delayed asylees must usually navigate hearings. the complications of the process Usually, asylees must navigate the complications of the process without adequate knowledge of without adequate knowlege of their legal rights, or access to a lawyer, accordtheir legal rights or access to a ing to the Congressional Research Service in their lawyer. 2011 report, “Asylum and Credible Fear Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy.” Legal representation can be crucial to the success of a case: asylum seekers with lawyers succeed up three times more than those without lawyers, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan organization that investigates how the federal government spends its taxpayer dollars. That’s where not-for-profit groups like The Advocates for Human Rights step in; providing free legal representation to asylum seekers in the Upper Midwest. “Once a case comes into the office, it’s assigned to a volunteer lawyer who becomes the representative for the advocate that sees the claim through to its outcome,” Miller says. Though she has always been interested in working in a nonprofit service field, Miller cites the internship’s client-services focus and the opportunity to practice her Spanish language skills as factors that attracted her to The Advocates. “It was very engaging work,” Miller says. “The days were never spent sitting at a desk in front of your computer. I felt like I was really providing a service.” Miller interviewed potential clients over the phone in English or Spanish so her boss could decide which cases to take. Promising cases required a second in-person interview that could last up to two and a half hours. “You have to prove there’s a ten percent chance you’ll be harmed if you go back,” Miller says, “but you need to be a lot more convincing than just ten percent; you need to be able to identify your persecutor, you need to know who the threats are coming from, you need to know why they are targeting you.” The Advocates manage two hundred cases at any given time and represents thirty countries around the world, according to Deepinder Singh Mayell, the Director of the Refugee and Immigrant Program. Clients flee a wide range of abuses in their homelands, including gender-based persecution like female genital mutilation and fixed marriages in West Africa and the Middle East, LGBT persecution in Uganda, Malaysia, and Jamaica, and persecution for political beliefs in Ethiopia. “About 50% of the cases we see deal with torture,” Mayell says. Despite these horrific circumstances, Miller still had to turn people away whose cases did not match the criteria for asylum or lacked enough clear details. “A lot of times, people would call into the office wanting help for some immigration issue that The Advocates can’t help them with, but they’re going through a hard time,” Miller says. “I’d have to say, ‘I’m sorry, there isn’t anything I can do for you’” After feeling helpless about cases like these, Miller supports a change in the system, namely, a more holistic policy for evaluating applicants. Change in policy is not enough, however; America’s mindset may be one of the biggest barriers that asylum seekers face.
Photos: Joyce Lee
top: hyo seong choi, left, and yeon hwa kim, right, are North korean refugees. Kim was granted refugee status in South Korea and is studying abroad in the united states. choi was granted asylum in the united states with his mother. Bottom: The Advocates for Human Rights provides free legal services to individuals seeking asylum in the united states.
“We’re a nation of immigrants, I think it’s so interesting that we’re short-sighted, that we forget that,” Miller says. One particular incident occurred while working at the Advocates’ booth in the Minnesota State Fair grandstand, stationed between vendors selling everything from fried twinkies to ShamWows. While most guests stopped by to sign petitions or grab buttons, Caroline recalls one man who voiced his disgust for the Advocates’ clients who had entered the U.S. illegally. “I remember thinking, ‘Excuse me...” Miller said. “ I’m sorry if I’m fleeing from Guatemala because my husband is going to kill me tomorrow and I don’t have time to wait to get a visa to go to the United States, which I will never get realistically. It’s in our laws, that if you come here illegally, you can apply for asylum here.” Miller continues, “the stigma against people who have the right to stay here legally really upsets me, given what they’ve been through. That they’ve come out of it and are now surviving is truly inspirational and it’s insulting that someone would say they shouldn’t be here. It’s a lack of consideration for people’s circumstances.” For asylum seekers, this consideration can be just as important as legal aid. Asylees experience the initial torture or assault inflicted at home, the subsequent trauma of fleeing and the trauma of waiting and not
knowing what is going to happen to them. The asylum process requires them to share their painful experiences over and over in excruciating detail. “[The interviews] can be a tough process but it could also be a cathartic and healing experience. When you get asylum, you’re validating and accepting your fear. Someone believes you and is supporting you and protecting you,” Miller says. While Miller may not be pursuing a career path in immigration law, she considers her time at The
Advocates for Human Rights to be “the best job I ever had.” With her Northwestern degree, Miller is interested in pursuing development economics to improve conditions in post-conflict countries, “I can’t solve their problems, but I have Spanish-speaking skills I can apply to the situation in front of me and do something, however marginal it is. I can’t resolve immigration policy, but I was honored to be the one these individuals told their stories to.” The time she spent with these individuals continues to shape Miller’s
worldview today. Miller remembers the women who were victims of gender violence in their Central American home countries, who were “incredibly gracious, strong and kind,” and whose perseverance inspires her. “I think about them a lot,” she says. “I try to keep in mind that there’s always something you don’t know about somebody. People have been through things you don’t have the slightest clue about and couldn’t begin to comprehend. There’s always more to the full picture.”
THE PROTEST | Winter issue
“STATELESS BEINGS” the flawed SOuth korea-U.s. adoption system leaves some without official citizenship, AT risk of deportation
U.S. Citizens DUAL Citizenship SOUTH Korean citizens
By Jireh Kang
Superficially, I lived a life similar to others,” begins Jenna* when asked about her life after she was sent from South Korea to the U.S. to be adopted. “But my parents did not know how to deal with a traumatized child, and I was a traumatized child,” she continues. “So they responded to me with abuse.” Jenna’s adoptive parents were not only careless towards her psychological state, but also displayed carelessnes in the adoption procedures. One day, her other Korean adoptee friends showed her pictures of themselves in court when they were officially naturalized as U.S. citizens. Suddenly curious as to why her adoptive parents had not taken such photographs, she called the INS to verify her U.S. citizenship. That is when Jenna discovered that she was not a U.S. citizen and that the Green Card issued to her when she first entered America had expired. Since it has been difficult for her to get decent employment without being a U.S. citizen, she only managed to work in under-the-table jobs. Although she no longer deals with this problem since she currently works for herself, her plight caused her to live in poverty. Besides the economic strain, she also faces emotional stress. “It’s a lot of explaining,” she says. When passing customs at airports, when applying for a job, and in many other situations where proving one’s nationality should be a simple task, she repeatedly has to explain why she is not a U.S. citizen. Furthermore, while she currently does not face the danger of deportation, she would be in a precarious position if she commits a misdemeanor.
“When [adoptees like Jenna] violate a law by, for example, possessing illegal drugs, they would be deported because they do not have U.S. citizenship,” says Reverend Dohyun Kim, director of Koroot, an NGO and a guesthouse based in South Korea which provides services for international Korean adoptees returning to their birth country.
If the Western world weren’t so “greedy for children, and if coun-
Winter issue | THE PROTEST
tries like Korea had better social support systems to take care of poor people and single women who are pregnant, then 99% of these adoptions would not be necessary.
lion Adoptees, a for-profit, multimedia company that focuses on adoptee stories. So why are these adoptees facing such injustice for reasons beyond their control? Before any law was passed in the U.S. in recognition of this problem, when a South Korean child was adopted by an American family, the adoptive parents needed to receive both an adoption decree and naturalization decree from a judge in a U.S. court to complete the adoption process. “After the parents receive the adoption decree, the child becomes an adoptee but is not yet a U.S. citizen,” explains Rev. Kim. Naturalization decree is necessary for a U.S. citizenship. “But there are a considerable number of parents who do not get the naturalization decree and think that they are done after receiving the adoption decree,” he says. Many consider that these stateless adoptees are only the tip of an iceberg in the South Korea-U.S. adoption system. After the Korean War, Korea was not economically, politically, or in many other ways able to guarantee a comfortable life for all the war orphans. Therefore, many Koreans were adopted by foreigners and sent overseas, and over time, this process has been continued. But living situations in Korea have changed now. “I am not anti-adoption. There are other countries that I believe international adoption should exist as an option, not as a go-to option,” says Vollmers. “But I think South Korea is at a time that it no longer needs to do international adoption. Adoption agencies cannot do anything but perpetuate adoption because there is a lot of money being pumped into them. They are a business. When it becomes a business, and this money comes in, […] there is only one motivation for wanting to
When these adoptees are deported to Korea after they have lived in the U.S. for several decades, they are put in an extremely problematic situation, for they neither speak Korean nor know anyone in Korea. Although they may still technically be Korean citizens, they often encounter problems with inaccurate or insufficient adoption information, and they have no family members to return to in Korea. Therefore, many South Korean children were “essentially stateless beings,” says Kevin Vollmers, the founder of Land of Gazil-
LEGAL LIMBO an Evanston couple struggles with the potential deportation of their adopted 7-month-old korean child
neither adoptees are deported to Korea after they “haveWhenlivedthesein the U.S. for several decades, they are put in an extremely problematic situation, for they neither speak Korean nor know anyone in Korea. Although they may still technically be Korean citizens, they often encounter problems with inaccurate or insufficient adoption information, and they have no family members to return to in Korea.
[preserve the current Korean adoption system]: to perpetuate the institutionalization of Korean adoption in South Korea.” Moreover, some of these agencies are unethical and pay little or no post-placement attention to the adopted child or the adoptive parents. “I just know of countless situations that my [adopted] friends have been in where the parents have been abusive and neglectful and where the adoptive dads and adoptive brothers were molesting my friends in the adoptive family,” says Jenna. “Once the adoption is finalized, there is no support for the families [from adoption agencies]. And then even if the adoptive parents are healthy and good people, a lot of times they try to get help and they can’t get any help from the adoption agencies.” According to Rev. Kim of Koroot, U.S. adoption agencies should ask themselves more often what is the best way to raise a child. “Some people in the U.S. think that if they adopt a child to an affluent home in America, it would be good for the child. That is why they adopt, but if the U.S. is really economically resourceful, then they should want to help Korea so that the child will be raised well with her birth mother,” he said. “Every mother has a right to be given a chance to raise her own child if she wishes to. But instead of offering that chance, taking that child for adoption is that person’s greed.” Some also blame this situation on South Korean stigma towards single mothers, along with the country’s welfare system. According to The New York Times, 70% of unwed South Korean mothers give up their babies for adoption; by comparison, the rate is 1% in the United States. “If the Western world weren’t so greedy for children, and if countries like Korea had better social support systems to take care of poor people and single women who are pregnant, then 99% of these adoptions would not be necessary,” says Jenna.
So how many adoptees are in Jenna’s situation? In an effort to understand how prevalent this issue is, the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare recently conducted a study of about 175,000 Korean adoptees sent overseas and assigned adoption agencies to confirm whether each individual adoptee possessed citizenship of the country he or she was sent to. The results showed that there was no record of 25,000 internationally-adopted Koreans having citizenship. Of this population, 18,000 live in the United States, says Vollmers. Recognizing the gravity of the issue, South Korean government handed U.S. Ambassador Susan Jacobs, who visited Korea last October, the list of those 18,000 adoptees and asked her to check whether these adoptees had been naturalized and to give them their rightful citizenship if they are not yet legal citizens. As of right now, “the South Korean government has no knowledge whether the U.S. is carrying out an investigation on this matter,” says Rev. Kim. In an effort to correct this flawed adoption system, the U.S. passed the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which automatically issues citizenships to adoptees in the U.S. who are eighteen years-old or younger. “In the case of any adoptee prior to 2000, they did not get retroactive citizenship. To the adoptees whose parents did not go through the full citizenship process once the adoptees came to the U.S. [...], many are at risk of being deported,” says Vollmers. Vollmers and other activists are working to add an amendment to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 so that everyone who enters or has entered the U.S. for the purpose of adoption will automatically receive U.S. citizenship. While that goes on, rethinking the entire process seems urgent to repair the adoption system between South Korea and the U.S. *A pseudonym was used for anonymity.
Last summer, in recognition of the 60-year-old corrupt adoption system in South Korea, the South Korean government passed stricter legislation in an effort to decrease international adoption in Korea. While the new law may have rectified several problems in Korean adoption procedures, it has become a tragic challenge for Jinshil and Christopher Duquet, an Evanston couple who want to adopt Sehwa Kim, a seven-month-old baby girl they had raised since soon after her birth. The couple had adopted their ten-yearold daughter Emilie from South Korea before. When they tried to adopt another baby, they were no longer eligible to do so because Korean adoption laws do not permit foreign parents older than fortyfive to adopt Korean children. Both Duquets are over forty-five years old. They arranged for a South Korean lawyer to conduct a private adoption, in lieu of an adoption through a licensed agency, to take in Sehwa Kim, whose unwed mother had agreed to put her baby up for adoption. But the lawyer had misled them, and now the Duquets are being accused of disobeying legal adoption procedures and of not having the proper immigration documents for Sehwa. As a result of the most recent ruling on this issue, Sehwa is in danger of being deported to Korea. “The biggest tragedy is that my clients were trying to follow the law from the beginning. They didn’t have any idea until they came here that the documents weren’t effective,” says Jonathan Mikus, the Duquets’ attorney, in an interview with CBS Chicago that was broadcasted on January 14th, 2013. According to Chicago Tribune, the Duquets are worried that “their family’s adoption is being used as a pawn for what is really South Korea’s objection to all U.S. adoptions.” The couple also fears that if Sehwa returns to Korea, she will be placed in an orphanage. The Duquets are yet waiting for rulings on legally adopting Sehwa and on her immigration status. THE PROTEST | Winter issue
Americans With Expiration Dates Two overachievers, neither documented nor undocumented, struggling to stay in the u.s.A.
by Yoona Ha
Winter issue | THE PROTEST
s far as she remembers, Sofia Rivera, a 20-year-old business student at the College of DuPage, has always taken a DoIt-Yourself approach to life. Her hands-on way of doing things ranges from dying strands of her hair a different color to filling out important school forms by herself since the age of seven. Ever since she became undocumented after her tourist visa to the U.S. from Mexico City expired, she knew there were certain aspects of her life that, like the jet black pigments of her hair, were hard to wash away. She says her undocumented status seemed like a permanent stain. She couldn’t get rid of until she found herself eligible and approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which grants eligible applicants a two-year reprieve from deportation. For Victor Martell, a 31-year-old entrepreneur from El Salvador, employing the adage, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” has become a part of his personal and professional history. Martell now owns a food import and distribution company born out of his frustration with how his immigration status affected his work status. For the past five years after getting his degree in business administration at DeVry University, he has gone through more than twenty interviews to secure one job. Martell was granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS), in 2001, a program that also grants applicants an up to 18 month reprieve from deportation, and ever since, he’s felt like he’s being held back from reaching his full potential. He says opening his own business has given him more flexibility but he worries that the viability of his business might be as temporary as his status is. Rivera and Martell are both overachievers; neither is fully undocumented or documented. Rivera was approved for temporary legal status in November under the DACA program, and Martell received his legal status in 2001 under a program initiated that year as a response to the 2001 El Salvador earthquakes. Rivera calls herself an “in-betweener;” Martell identifies himself as an “American with an expiration date.” Fitting in as someone other than an anchor baby As she speaks, Rivera’s voice steadily trembles but whenever she falters, her boyfriend David, a self-proclaimed conservative Republican who “likes to help people out,” holds her trembling hand. After she takes a deep breath, she apologizes for being overly nervous. This is her first interview ever. As David squeezes her arm to reassure her, he says dating Rivera has been life changing. He vividly remembers the day she told him that she was undocumented. It was immediately after they started dating, and she told him she would understand if her status was a burden to him. “I didn’t care though because the only thing between us would be my parents’ rules and not her legal status,” he says, as he grips her tighter. Because they live 30 minutes away from each other, David has become accustomed to going the extra mile to hang out with his girlfriend. Af-
ter a few trips back-and-forth and a few empty gas tanks for David, his parents noticed and tried to slow them down. Rivera says when David accidently spilled the beans about her undocumented status to his parents, their initial reaction was less harsh than she expected. “With my ex-boyfriend’s parents, they assumed that I was undocumented because I was Mexican and accused me of dating their son because I wanted to have an anchor baby,” she says. Then Rivera turns and informs David that his father wasn’t much different initially. “After dinner, he pulled me aside and questioned why I was dating his son and tried to make sure I didn’t have suspicious motives,” she says. “But after I told them I had no bad intentions, they were nice to me.” When Rivera’s father lost his job in Mexico City and decided to look for opportunities in the United States, Rivera was a six-year-old with no say in her parent’s decision to cross the border. Throughout her life, she knew she was undocumented, and was discouraged from telling others. She says because her parents spoke little to no English, the burden to learn and assimilate into American culture and language was daunting at first. “When I was seven I filled out my own school forms but because my English was horrible. I read ‘foster kids’ as ‘forest kids’ and thought it meant children of the forest,” she laughs Rivera says that once she became fluent in English, she felt a different challenge ahead of her. The pressure of assimilating and retaining her Mexican culture made her feel caught in a bind. “Unlike my parents, I can’t call Mexico home because the U.S. is all I know,” she says. Being lucky is being in purgatory Rivera says that before President Obama announced the DACA program on June 15, the thought of driving or working legally seemed more like novelty than reality. Taking her boyfriend out to dinner even if it was Panera Bread and being able to drive herself to meet him were among the simple wishes Rivera once had as an undocumented girlfriend. Both Rivera and her brother applied for DACA a few weeks after Obama’s announcement. “Lucky” is the word she uses to describe those like her who meet all of the detailed criteria for eligibility to apply for DACA. Her family worked with an immigration attorney to compile and fill out the necessary documents needed for their applications. Once the applications were in, she found herself glued to her computer clicking away on the button that showed the status of her application. Because of the application’s one-time-only nature, she remembers herself flipping through her materials countless times and praying that her application, randomly assigned to Texas, would land in the hands of a reviewer who was having a good day. When she first discovered her DACA approval letter in the mail, the things that Rivera could do
THE PROTEST | Winter issue
with her new status seemed more apparent than what she couldn’t do. Even though she acknowledges the uncertainty of keeping her social security number, work permit, driver’s license after her two-year deferral period, she says she tries hard to look past the unknown. “It’s at least better than anything that I’ve been offered before and I’ve even had friends suggest that we get married just so I can become legal,” she says. “It’s illegal and was tempting because there are not many options to gaining a legal status.” The inability to travel has also been a sensitive issue for Rivera. She says she still has family in Mexico whom she Skypes often but feels that seeing them on a screen does not make up for seeing them in person.
Rivera Says her undocumented Status seemed like a permanent stain. She couldn’t get rid of it until she found herself eligible and approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. “But I’m scared to travel outside the U.S. because I’m not sure if I’m able to come back even with DACA,” she says. (USCIS, which administers the program, has indicated that before someone who is DACA-approved travels outside the country, the person should apply for and receive advanced parole, a privilege that is “only granted for humanitarian reasons, educational, or employment reasons.” The process also involves a $360 application fee. Because of her limited options, Rivera says she feels pressured to stay content with DACA but her status of being in “legal status purgatory,” as she puts it, makes her uneasy. “It puts you in a weird spot just like your identity of not being one or the other,” she admits. The Salvadoran lining playbook When Hurricane Mitch struck Victor Martell’s neighborhood in 1998, it put a strain on the family, but what really took apart his homeland were the waves of earthquakes in El Salvador three years later.
Martell’s memory of his country remains fragmented and scattered. Martell recalls awakening, in the middle of the night a year after the hurricane, to the crashing noises of armed men breaking in and attempting to kidnap his little sister and father. Shortly after the kidnap attempt, his family decided to seek refuge in the U.S. and brought 18-year-old Martell with them. The decision to leave was made frantically, and around Thanksgiving of 1999, the Martells were in Illinois on a tourist visa. “We were terrified to the point where my parents thought living in El Salvador was not an option anymore,” he says. Since the day of his arrival, Martell says his life has been constantly determined by the uncertainty of his immigration status. For as long as he can remember, Martell hoped that one day he could attend the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign to study business administration, but after coming to the U.S. post-Mitch, his prospects became murkier. Applying for admissions to Loyola University Chicago on a student visa meant that Martell was considered an international student required to pay tuition without financial aid. Without a social security number or legal status, Martell faced challenges even finding loans to help fund his education. Of all the colleges he applied for, he says DeVry University was the only institution willing to offer him a loan. “It stresses you out having to think every minute about how you’re going to come up with the money for school,” he says. Two years after Martell arrived, on March 9, 2001, the U.S. designated El Salvador for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions caused by the earthquakes. Salvadorans already in the U.S. became eligible for the status, which if granted allows them to remain and work in the U.S. legally for a set period of time. The length of time is often extended, but the privilege is not a path to lawful permanent resident status or citizenship. Those on TPS can travel outside the U.S. only if given permission through an advance parole document. Martell’s family applied for TPS status immediately after the announcement and were approved.
Winter issue | THE PROTEST
TOP: As someone who had never visited Pilsen before, sofia Rivera said she loves the murals covering the neighborhood. Bottom: of all the murals in pilsen, rivera says that This pro-immigrant youth-painted mural is her favorite. Since then, Martell has regularly extended his TPS every 12 to 18 months. Soon 18 months turned into 180 months. He says he will continuously find himself reapplying until El Salvador is no longer a TPS designated country due to improved conditions in his country that will allow those who left the country to return. Martell says his status really hit him hard when his grandparents passed away. “No one could go to their funeral so they passed away without anyone there,” he says, as his voice cracks. After a long pause, Martell looks up from his hands and says, “But what can I do about it? Nothing.” Martell is no longer the teenager he was when he applied for TPS. In the past ten years, he has married, opened his own business and has plans to start his own family in the U.S. “The first two years we were content but then we realized that we were in a huge prison with TPS,” he says.
Lessons from the renewable past Martell became involved with Centro Romero, a community-based organization that serves Latino immigrants and refugees on Chicago’s northeast side. After learning about DACA earlier this year, Martell immediately thought that TPS might be the model for DACA. That concerns him. It also concerns Abel Nunez, Centro Romero’s executive director. From his experience working with TPS designees, Nunez often thinks of the status as a form of “indentured servitude.” TPS is currently designated to those in the U.S. who meet specific standards from countries where natural or man-made disasters temporarily prevent their nationals from returning safely. Salvadorans are among eight country nationals who may qualify for TPS status. The others are Haitians, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Somalians, Sudanese, and most recently, South Sudanese and Syrians.
PHOTOS: Yoona Ha
TOP: Victor Martell sits in the waiting room at Centro Romero on Chicago’s north side. Bottom: As he speaks about his childhood, martell revisits memories through the Children’s artwork on the wall.. Nunez points to the fees – $470 or more – that must be paid every 18 months for renewal of TPS status, and the regular background checks that keeps the government current with address changes and other information of the applicant. More than 217,000 Salvadorans like Martell have been in the program, according to the Congressional Research Service 2011 Report on Temporary Protected Status in 2011. Countries hit by earthquakes or hurricanes, such as Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua, have collectively had more than 117,000 immigrant nationals receive TPS. “DACA, like TPS, was never meant to be a gateway for permanency and is not a pathway to citizenship,” says Nunez. Immigration attorney Charles Wintersteen, who represents TPS clients, agrees that TPS and DACA are similar in their implications to those who qualify for the programs. “You have a well-behaved group of people who are the model citizens that you aren’t aware of,” he
says. “But since there’s no guarantee that these folks both under TPS and DACA will get their status renewed, they’re put in this constant state of limbo,” says Wintersteen. TPS is a status that Congress authorized the executive branch to give any national humanitarian aid through granting of TPS that expires in 18 months but provides a driver’s license, work permit and social security number to those who cannot be deported because of natural or manmade disasters. Like TPS, DACA envisions for each individual a deferral from deportation (for two years in contrast to TPS, which for Salvadorans is six months shorter, though renewable), a work permit, a social security number and authorization to obtain a state’s driver’s license. Justin Cox, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrant’s Rights Project, points out that although DACA may seem like a new policy it has been designated to a few number of people in the past before
President Obama announced it for a broader and larger number of young immigrants. TPS and DACA recipients who wish to travel outside the U.S. must get advanced parole permission if they plan to return to the U.S. and remain in the program they’re in. Nunez says historically TPS recipients have been wary about returning to their homeland to visit because even with permission, by leaving the country, they may no longer qualify for their TPS renewal because they were not in the U.S. continuously. He notes that with a recent Immigration court decision in Matter of Arrabally Yerrabelly, the courts may be more inclined to see permission by the U.S. government to travel out the country as recognition that the person may also continue in the program – TPS or DACA – when they return. Wintersteen agrees. Even with the legal concerns allayed, Martell says there is still the cost, of travel and of paying fees to get the government’s permission to travel. Rivera agrees. “Knowing that I will be able to come back to the U.S. safely with advanced parole does make me feel better, but it’s still unlikely I will travel because it’s so expensive,” she says. Can’t live like this forever Rivera says when she received her approved DACA form in the mail, she leaped with joy that she could finally get a job and be able to drive, but her happiness was fleeting. “It scares me to hear and see what has happened with people with TPS and what will happen if we end up the same way.” she wonders. “There must be something more than this because we can’t live like this forever.” Wintersteen suggests that unless there is a comprehensive immigration policy reform that offers permanency to DACA eligible students, they would most likely become like the folks with TPS caught in a socioeconomic and developmental limbo. “It is expected that both policies will be extended regardless of who’s in office,” he adds, looking far beyond the 2012 election. Nunez notes that organized activism is the approach he plans to take to urge legislators to give temporary
status holders a pathway to permanent residency. A national campaign, Earned Permanent Residency for Central Americans, was launched a year ago to argue for a path to permanent residency and citizenship. “We started this campaign to request Congress to give TPS holders path to permanency we have been patiently waiting for more than ten years,” says Jose Artiga, executive director of Share El Salvador, a nonprofit organization in Berkeley supporting Salvadoran communities, Because a request for comprehensive reform has failed many times, Artiga says many groups, including DREAMers and TPS holders, shifted their approach from seeking comprehensive reform to piecemeal reform that asks Congress to take immigration reform step-by-step rather than as a whole all at once.
Martell was granted Temporaty Protected Status in 2001. ever since, he’s felt like he’s being held back from reaching his full potential. The first step for TPS holders and advocates was to push for a permanent solution to the problems of temporary policy. The Earned Permanent Residency campaign is planning a nationwide conference in March to pull the activists back together. “We’ve done everything that was asked of us, and for me it’s been more than ten years and for DACA students it has just begun,” says Martell. For those like Rivera and Martell, their futures are uncertain. Their goal is to be able to plan their lives beyond two-year intervals of legal residency. “America is the only place I can call home,” says Rivera. “I’m not a foreigner and knowing that someone could make me go to Mexico to become one is a cruel and overwhelming thought.” When Martell contemplates the idea of going back to El Salvador once TPS for Salvadorans is over, he says he draws a blank. “I have a wife and these relationships with people that I can’t simply just abandon,” he says. “I have a life here and don’t want to end it.”
THE PROTEST | Winter issue
Photo: Joyce Lee
Adolescent Demonstrators B More and more teenagers in Hong Kong are fighting to make their voices heard By James Bien EFORE HONG KONG’S streets are inundated with swarms of people on an early Saturday morning, 18-year-old Joyce Yim is already up, hours before her parents will be. Her eyes are only half open, but she is determined. She changes into her uniform for the day, a t-shirt, a pair of jeans and her signature red flats. In her hand she holds her weapon, a banner protesting the new “moral and national education” program proposed by the government’s Education Bureau. In just a half hour, she will be joining tens of thousands of similarly discontented citizens, some of whom she had already met at previous demonstrations and others of strange faces, marching along Hennessy Road. The increasingly problematic policies proposed by Hong Kong’s government have inspired many adolescents to have their voice heard. These teens fight for countless causes. Yim’s first demonstration was for the opposition of the development of the Guangdong-HK railway, which would connect Hong Kong and the Chinese province. Protesters were concerned with border control issues. Similarly, students demonstrated in support of the Five Constituencies Referendum, which would make the implementation of universal suffrage policies in a clear time frame more possible.
Fighting for the “right” kind of education Furthermore, issues in the government’s policies now affect the youth of Hong Kong more than it ever did before. The most notable example is the proposed “moral and national education” program that was to be implemented in all public schools. The guide for the program was
Winter issue | THE PROTEST
published in June 2012 and civilians immediately responded with outcries of communist sentiments and political indoctrination. “[It] directly contaminates the school syllabus of primary and secondary school students with propaganda to encourage blind patriotism in youth,” said Yim, who participated in her firsdemonstration when she was only 16.
In many protests, parents brought along with them younger children holding up signs that read, “my mom taught me not to lie,” alluding to the government representatives’ duplicitous nautre. Instead of the patriotism the proposal intended to bring about, it ironically promoted anti-government attitudes in students across the city before it was even put into place. One of the students who stood up against the officials is Joshua Wong Chi-fung, co-founder of “Scholarism,” a student group aimed at dismissing the national education scheme. Wong, who was then a 15-year-old, became an icon through his eloquent speeches against the program and poignant use of symbolism when addressing the officials. During a particular demonstration, when Chief Executive of Hong Kong C.Y. Leung approached to shake Wong’s hand, he famously refused the offer and instead bowed to him. The gesture, which embodied at the same time his
dissatisfaction towards the government and traditional Chinese values of respect, brought about public attention that led to multiple interview opportunities he received from radio networks and news publications thereafter. Is this a kid’s game? Where do the adults fit in in all of this? Many parents and teachers have accompanied their children and students to the protests of the “moral and national education program,” collectively showing their support for the cause and rejection of the government. In September, as students of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, dressed completely in black, organized a mass boycott of classes, professors, too, encouraged them by cancelling their own lectures. In many protests, parents brought along with them younger children holding up signs that read, “my mom taught me not to lie,” alluding to the government representatives’ duplicitous nature. Due to civilian revolt, the commencement of the program has been postponed. However, this is not the only problem Hong Kong’s education bureau has faced. In recent years it has confronted numerous criticisms for its sporadicity as the public school curriculum changes frequently. Clarence Leong, a friend of Yim’s, addresses this as one of the most significant issues affecting youth in Hong Kong. “Teachers are too busy accommodating the frequent changes in educational policies, and their quality of teaching is often not high enough to nurture students of good standards,” Leong said. In recent years, public school teachers have protested following the surge in stress-related suicides.
Photos: Joyce Lee and Flickr.com (vox asia)
Left: Jasmine jor, weinberg sophomore and hong kong native, marched independently with her family this past summer right: The Hong Kong Federation of Students protest in front of the Hong Kong Convention Exhibition Center The pair also cite scores of other problems that may affect the modern Hong Kong teen, such as the unavailability of good quality housing, which takes away the incentives for students to work hard in school. Both have participated in protests and demonstrations, and are influenced by similar issues. The cost of demonstration Despite their valuable experiences, they are realistic about what they will achieve through demonstrating. “I’m only a ordinary citizen, I do not wield any influence whatsoever,” said Leong. Yim seems to agree as she explains, “participating in these demonstrations is more of my expression of will and opinion over the issue than a means to achieve particular goals.” Furthermore, in the past demonstrators have been met with harsh punishments. During a protest that occurred when Chinese president Hu Jintao visited Hong Kong to speak with Chief Executive C.Y. Leung last July, policemen at the event detained journalists and used pepper spray on protesters who were trying to break through their barricade. The necessity of demonstrations However, Leong and Yim persist in emphasizing the importance of inspiring teens to demonstrate. To them, the masses of students who demonstrate show a succession of political activism from the older generation to the new. The continuation of these movements is of utmost importance. Moreover, although demonstrations do not directly bring about change in government policies, there are certain benefits that a younger demographic brings to the political scene.
“Young people are more creative. They instil energy to these campaigns. They make it fun to join,” said Leong. Certainly, the ways in which protesters get involved with political activity has shifted as the younger demographic has joined the party. Instead of finding about protests through family members and friends, students now obtain information of the latest demonstrations through Facebook, Twitter and other forums and social media platforms available in Hong Kong. Yim found out about the first demonstration she went to through Facebook. The inclusion of teens has also drawn sympathy from the public, maximizing the impact of the protests.
since the transfer, commonly referred to as “the handover,” demonstrations have occurred almost weekly, showing societal discontent with the government. Finally, when asked about their personal motives behind demonstrating, they both agreed that meeting passionate, like minded individuals was an incentive of protesting. The city lacks fully democratic procedures, thus demonstrations are the most direct way to get individuals’ political wills across. In fact, underneath Hong Kong’s facade of urbanism and civilization lie deep-rooted concerns specifically centered on the diminishing democracy. Universal suffrage is outlined as the ultimate aim in Article 45 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, which was written during the transfer of Hong Kong’s sovereignty from the British gov-
ernment to the Chinese. However, prospects of it being achieved have been dimmed by Beijing’s “one country, two systems” model and attempts by Chinese officials to implement Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, which will erode freedom of speech. Since the transfer, commonly referred to as “the handover,” demonstrations have occurred almost weekly, showing societal discontentment with the government. “The government can still turn a blind eye to public outcry,” said Leong. Hong Kong’s government is clearly struggling from the growing pressures it faces from its civilians and from the Chinese government. However, it is no longer sufficient for it to disregard its citizens’ political wills in order to scratch the backs of Chinese government officials. Yim and Leong represent only two of thousands of students who are dedicated and who feel obligated to have their voices heard. “I see demonstrations as a moral duty of a responsible citizen to speak up and defend the core values of the city whenever they are at stake. As Dante once wrote, ‘the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crises, maintain their neutrality,’” said Yim. The growing population of students who attend these demonstrations is not likely to curb until the government acknowledges and solves the policies these teens take issue with. The establishment of the “Scholarism” movement is representative of the students’ dedication to their political motives and their reluctance to settle. Ultimately, the government needs to restore the civilians’ faith in them by taking into account the opinions of the students and their supporters and base their policies around that. Perhaps a good place to start is the complete dissolution of the “moral and national education” proposal that has enraged so many.
THE PROTEST | Winter issue
Jagruti, Amant, Nirbhaya and Damini BRUTAL GANG RAPE BRINGS ABOUT CALL FOR SOCIAL AND POLITICAL UPHEAVAL IN INDIA By Kathryn Prescott
23-year-old woman and her male friend boarded a bus coming home from an evening screening of Life of Pi in Saket, South Delhi on Dec. 16 - but what began as an innocuous event ended in nothing short of a tragedy. The ruthless beating and gang rape of this physiotherapy student was not the first attack of its kind, but it may yet be remembered as the spark that lead to a revolution in the treatment of crimes against women in India.
Rape statistics have been rising in India for the past few decades, but too often women are shamed into keeping quiet.
Winter issue | THE PROTEST
Sonia Faleiro said of the incident, “in retrospect it wasn’t the brutality of the attack on the young woman that made her tragedy unusual; it was that an attack had, at last, elicited a response.” This was, after all, a young woman in a fairly posh part of Delhi, who came from humble roots but “aspired toward a better life,” according to Dr. Rochona Majumdar, PhD, Associate Professor in the Departments of Cinema and Media Studies and South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. “In a way I think that’s why she became symbolic for decades of women’s struggle,” Dr. Majumdar said. In a city where sexual harassment occurs in
the most brutal attacks in india fall by the wayside. this Protest at Safdarjung Hospital in india may represent a changing mindset.
Photos: flick.com (Ramesh Lalwani)
The victim, whose name was not initially released to the press as per Indian law, has been given various pseudonyms by the media, including Jagruti (“awareness”), Amanat (“treasure”), Nirbhaya (“fearless one”), and Damini (“lightning”). The young woman’s parents were from a small town and moved to Delhi hoping for better career prospects for their daughter. On Dec. 16, the physiotherapy student and her male companion boarded what appeared to be a public bus containing six men who claimed to be going in their direction. They were in fact joyriders, and proceeded to lock the doors, knock out the male victim, and took turns brutally beating and raping the woman, going so far as to disembowel her. She died 13 days later of her extensive injuries in a Singapore hospital. Delhi Police
Commissioner Neeraj Kumar called the attack “the most horrifying case in the history of the Delhi Police.” News of the rape spread quickly across India and across the world, inciting outrage among Indian citizens at the brutality of the attack, and bringing to the forefront of the national stage the mounting numbers of crimes against women in recent decades and the governmental apathy toward them. Rape statistics have been rising in India for the past few decades, but too often women are shamed into keeping quiet. Even when they do come forward, police often engage in victimblaming, and convictions are rare. Indeed, many aspects of Indian laws regarding sexual assault date back to those delineated by British colonists in 1860. Perhaps in part due to the strict, regimented patriarchal social structure in place in India - especially in rural villages, or cases where the victim is of a lower social class than the attacker – even the most brutal attacks have fallen by the wayside in the public mind. In 2011, a 14-year-old girl was raped and killed in a police station in Uttar Pradesh. 11 police officers were suspended as a result, but it speaks to the forgetful attitude in the wake of so many of these crimes that this author could not find any stories mentioning if any of the accused had ever been convicted. In the same month as the gang-rape of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student, a 17-year-old woman committed suicide after police officers tried to onvince her to drop her rape charges and marry her rapist. Any quick internet search reveals many more cases that were reported and promptly forgotten. In 2012, over 600 rape cases were reported in Delhi. Only one resulted in a conviction. In an Op-ed piece in the New York Times, contributor
public places on a very regular basis, perhaps the gang-rape of this forward-looking physiotherapy student elicited such a strong response from the public because she represented every woman, and the upward mobility toward which many might aspire. “In some ways for me she represents the positive energy of India,” Dr. Majumdar said.
“she became symbolic for decades of women’s struggle” The country erupted in protest in the days following the attack and the woman’s subsequent death, demanding justice for the woman and a change from the status quo of systematic humiliation, abuse, and overlooking of rape victims and the heinous crimes committed against them. Some rallies turned violent, with police firing water cannons and tear gas at crowds to contain them. The protesters’ message, though, is clear – they demand justice for the 23-year-old gang-rape victim, justice for women the country over who are sexually harassed and assaulted every day with little police or governmental response. “This is not an isolated incident,” 20-year-old St. Stephen’s College student Ankita Cheerakathil, who attended a candlelight vigil in Delhi, told the New York Times. “This is the story of every Indian woman.”
So far, the five men accused of involvement in the gang-rape are to be tried for rape and murder, and a sixth juvenile will be tried in a separate court where he could receive a maximum of three years in jail, despite some calls for him to be tried as an adult due to the brutal nature of the crime. The five men will plead not guilty. The Indian government did respond to the public outcry for change, setting up a three-person panel headed by ex-chief justice J.S. Verma, which submitted a report recommending toughening current laws pertaining to rape, including hastening trials and reforming the police force by adding more women and doing away with the archaic “two-finger” test to determine if a woman is sexually active and, as their logic goes, consented to the rape. Indian officials have since pushed through some legislation tightening rape laws, increasing penalties for all kinds of sexual assault as well as outlawing human trafficking for the first time in India’s history. The laws go into effect immediately, but will need to be ratified by parliament in six months when they are bain session. However, for many women’s rights activists the laws do not go far enough. They fail to outlaw marital rape or deal with injustices committed by members of the armed forces. The fate of the alleged perpetrators of the Dec. 16 gang-rape remains to be seen.What has been accomplished, however, is in large part thanks to the media according to Dr. Majumdar. “It has made the issue of violence against women a focal point in discussion in a way it hasn’t been before,” but this is only the first step.
Dr. Majumdar argues that changing the law only goes so far in a culture that very much needs to teach gender sensitization in schools and homes. Too often these kinds of crimes against women are forgotten, but “that kind of forgetting is going to become more difficult.” There is one certainty for the young physiotherapy student: her fatal attack finally spread jagruti through India – awareness.
STATISTICS Delhi - the rape capital
of India: 17.6% of all registered rape cases in cities happen there
India stands third in the
world for number of rape cases United States and South Africa.*
behind only the
24,206 cases of rape were registered in all of India in 2011, or almost 3 cases every hour. 99,135 cases of cruelty against women by husbands or relatives were reported in 2011.** There are
higher instances of sexual
assault in the
Photo: flickr.com (ARUNDHATI ROY)
The jagruiti protests are the first protests to sweep the entire country like this since the decades-old protests of the Narmada River Dams project.
north of India than the south
*The number of rape cases reported may not reflect the actual commonality of occurrence. Cultural norms may deter many more women than indicated from reporting their assaults in India. **It is important to note that marital rape is not illegal in India. In fact, there is a clause specifically exempting instances of sexual coercion in marriage. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code has the following provision: “Sexual intercourse by man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.” THE PROTEST | W inter issue
Photo: Sunny Kang
The Asian NU project has organized round-table discussions to address the identity struggles of asian american students. “they told me that they often felt marginalized, alienated,” said Northwestern sociology professor Carolyn Chen.
Capping the Model Minority Asian americans identity politics and the struggle for college admission by Jeanne Kuang.
orthwestern sociology professor Carolyn Chen is stirring up an ongoing discussion about the need for activism in the Asian American student population in dealing with issues of stereotypes and identity. Chen, director of the Asian American Studies Department, wrote a December op-ed article in The New York Times titled “Asians—Too Smart for Their Own Good?” detailing what she believes to be the challenges Asian American students face in getting accepted to college and feeling accepted on campus. The most visible of Asian American student issues, she argues, is elite universities’ practice of an Asian quota—capping admissions of (generally overachieving) Asian American students. The Asian quota has been a topic of discussion since a Justice Department investigation in the 1990s. Whether or not race-blindness is a worthy
Winter issue | THE PROTEST
cause, statistics seem to suggest a quota is real today. According to Ron Unz in a recent article in The American Conservative and The New York Times, “the percentage of college-age AsianAmericans attending Harvard peaked around 1993, and has since dropped by over 50 percent,” with similar trends in the rest of the Ivy League despite the fast-paced growth of the Asian population in America. “We don’t have any real evidence that there is a quota, but we have circumstantial evidence that there might be implied quotas,” Chen said in an interview. “There seems to be a sense that there is a ceiling for Asian Americans.” She also brought up the widespread theory that an Asian American student with the same academic record as a white student is less likely to be admitted. This idea is linked to the characterization of Asian Americans as a “model minority,” to the
point where students with impressive accomplishments don’t seem quite so impressive when they are Asian American. The truly overlooked in this situation, Chen said, are the less privileged Asian American students who don’t fit into the model minority role but are judged by the same higher standards. According to “Federal Higher Education Policy Priorities and the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community,” a 2010 report filed by the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education, “despite high educational attainment rates for AAPIs [Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders] in the aggregate, large sectors of the AAPI population suffer from high secondary school drop-out rates, low rates of college participation, and low two- and four-year college completion rates.” Students from these backgrounds who are categorized under the same group as the
degree distribution among asian american college students 42.9%
more stereotypical Asian American with access to SAT prep and college counselors “are definitely going to be at a disadvantage,” Chen said. University spokesperson Al Cubbage denied the use of a quota at Northwestern. “There isn’t any penalty or discrimination in terms of Northwestern’s own admissions process,” he said. “Northwestern certainly has a very strong representation of Asian American students.” Beyond college admissions, Chen believes the existence of an Asian quota is indicative of the propagation of racial stereotypes in a society where Asian Americans don’t fit in. Last May, the Asian American Studies Department helped Asian American students form the Asian NU Project, which convened to discuss Asian American issues on campus and promote cultural pride. “They told me that they often felt marginalized, alienated,” Chen said. “This feeling that they didn’t really quite belong here… to me, stems from the larger stereotypes about Asian Americans, about being perceived as being foreigners.” Weinberg senior Yehsong Kim, who was involved in the Asian NU Project, said upon coming to college that she was “one of those Asians that felt like I had to prove myself,” especially among her non-Asian friends. “Really often they’d say stuff like, ‘Oh, it’s only because you’re Asian,’” she said, referencing the stereotype of Asian students as overachievers with little reason to celebrate their accomplishments. “Those kinds of comments happened fairly often.” Chris Nho (SESP ’12) said he and the other Asian American student group leaders who met with the Asian American Studies Department discovered that this sense of shame was at the heart of Asian American students’ issues on campus. “People are ashamed of being Asian American, and they express it in two ways,” he said. “They’ll really exclude themselves from the Asian American community… or they will completely surround themselves with Asian Americans and people who are like them so they don’t feel different at all.” The Asian NU Project organized round-table discussions to address Asian Americans’ struggles with their identity and marched in a pride rally May 24. “It was centered off story-telling,” he said, “and having people talk about themselves and explore their identity.” Chen argues that another negative impact of the Asian quota is the grouping of all Asian Americans into a single homogenous category. Critics who worry about a higher Asian population on campuses have “a sense that there’s too many Asians, they’re not diverse, and they wouldn’t be able to represent the interests of the greater American population,” Chen said. “That, to me, is simple racism… this is not just model minority, but the stereotype that they are forever
some college, no degree
infographic: tanner maxwell, Data from the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education;
foreigners, that they’re not true Americans.” Nho believes the issue is even more complicated. He identifies as Korean American, which is easy to label as “Asian American.” But he recognizes that the vast diversity within Asian Americans makes the group itself difficult to define—especially for less-represented groups such as Hmongs, Thais or Pacific Islanders. “Are we Asian American, or are we only Asian American because people call us Asian American?” he said. The question is one on Bienen senior Rohan Thompson’s mind. Thompson said he joined the Asian NU Project shortly before the pride rally in May upon realizing that being part-Asian was also important to community. He worked to bring students who were uninvolved with the Asian American community to the project to join the discussion. Thompson, too, feels conflicted about having a singular “Asian American” identity. “I think in times when [all Asian Americans] are being targeted for something… we should all come together for the common cause of just simply being human,” he said, “but I think in terms of helping people understand what an Asian identity might look like, I wouldn’t say separate, but work to help people understand that we are a very diverse community.” On campus, Chen has been involving President Morton Schapiro in the discussion. Last year he
spoke with students on the Asian NU Project about how they feel as Asian Americans at NU, and he met with Chen last month to further discuss the racial environment. “He’s sympathetic and he realizes this is a problem,” she said, “He wants to be able to collaborate and do something during Asian American Heritage Month to help Asian Americans feel more included on this campus.” Still, simply celebrating Asian identity on campus falls short of addressing the more concrete issues of college admissions. Chen insists that doing away with affirmative action and setting up a purely race-blind admissions system is not the answer, that it would alienate Asian Americans from other minorities without guaranteeing that universities would be more accepting of any minorities. Instead, she believes the way to start is for schools to get rid of the legacy system, which gives preferential treatment to the children of alumni and donors. While the legacy policies have no racial intent, she said, those who benefit from them tend to be privileged and “disproportionately white”—leaving Asian Americans at a disadvantage. This part of the system “isn’t about race, but has deep racial implications.” Yet Chen recognizes this might not be a realistic option given schools’ financial incentives. The real solution, Chen said, is for Asian Americans to become politically active, both as an individual group and in conjunction with other minorities. “They need to be really politically visible, and be vocal about this issue,” she said. In the 1980s, Asian American groups suspecting an Asian quota lobbied for the government to address discrimination in college admissions, prompting an Education Department investigation into Harvard University’s admission policies. Although the investigation was closed in 1990, it was the Asian American political activism that spurred governmental suspicion. In general, Asian Americans are not as politically active as other minorities. The explanation may be partially cultural, but Chen chalks it up to an “immigrant mentality.” Most Asian Americans today are raised by immigrant parents who work harder and make fewer demands; Chen believes the younger Asian American population has grown up with the same expectations. “Why is it that I can tell my Asian American studies students, ‘The bar is held higher for you?’” she said. “Any other group would say that’s racism.” She explained that Asian Americans lack political influence historically, hence the need to work with other, more active racial minorities in a quest for fair admissions policies. “Right now, looking anti-Asian, there’s no threat to that,” she said. “What Asian Americans need to do is make it so that there’s something at stake if [schools] don’t change their policies.”
THE PROTEST | Winter issue
A University for the People Universidad Popular Teaches life skills to Chicago’s hispanic population, Free of Charge. by Charles ROllet
T’S NOT A particularly impressive building from the outside, but on the inside, Universidad Popular looks like what it calls itself: a university for the people. Classrooms and cubicles are intermixed with colorful posters and students’ works on display. The building’s main lecture room, decorated with traditional Mexican banners, smells of mole and champurrado as it serves food to a community group meeting. Yet this does not distract from Universidad Popular’s main mission: education. Since 1972, it has taught skills, such as English, health, digital, and financial literacy free of charge to members
of Chicago’s Hispanic community. And as a kind of community center in the Little Village neighborhood it is located in, Universidad Popular also provides assistance to local causes such as a campaign to legalize the area’s many street vendors. The help a place like Universidad Popular can offer is often indispensable. But in a time of ongoing recession and rising crime rates, challenges remain. Educating the Youth Universidad Popular’s main goal is the free education of the community, and it places a substantial commitment on its afterschool program, UPrising Youth.
The program caters to around thirty students every weekday from 3 to 6 p.m. Most students are ages 11 to 14. But despite the benefits wrought by supporting education and providing positive role models, teaching children from the community – many of them undocumented – is often difficult. “A huge challenge which I think is interconnected to many of the other problems is parent involvement and engagement. A lot of parents see us as a babysitting service,” said Abigail WoodLizalde said, the Youth Programming Coordinator at Universidad Popular. The few parents who do participate are often disappointed to see the lack of other parents’ involvement, and end up not coming either. Crime is also a constant problem. The area has been a hotspot for gangs like the Latin Kings for decades; on Jan. 12th of this year, a 15-year-old was murdered on the streets of Little Village after the shooter yelled out a gang slogan, as the Chicago Tribune reported. “I’d say a majority of the youth are completely desensitized to crime…A lot of them don’t think that it could be any other way, which makes it very difficult for us to engage them in community projects,” said Wood-Lizalde. Past Abigail’s office, children run screaming across the hallways, popping in and out of rooms in gleeful flashes. Twice during the interview, she has to get out of the room to calm the kids down.
Top: After a long meeting, members of the street vendor community and others enjoy a Mexican buffet. Left: After school, kids in Ian Viteri’s art class put their drawing and painting skills to the test. Right: students, street vendors and a city official discuss the campaign to legalize Little Village’s street vendors. 22
Winter issue | THE PROTEST
Still, it’s worth it. As Wood-Lizalde relates, with time some of UPrising Youth’s students eventually “learn that it’s possible to be respected and have respect for other people.” “It’s a really good accomplishment when we can say this child, this youth is respectful,” she says. Learning to Succeed The classroom in Universidad Popular’s basement is filled with about a dozen middle-aged people, each with a pen and notebook. They quietly sit down and wait for their teacher, Mariella Rich, to begin the English class. Rich speaks in deliberate, clear English. The students nod as they understand. “Anything good happen today?” Rich asks her class. “Yes: we are here,” replies Dolores Sanchez, a woman in the back.
It’s Not a particularly impressive building from the outside, but on the inside, Universidad Popular looks like what it calls itself: a university for the people.
Photos: Charles Rollet, Graphic: Andrea Schmitz
The English classes (called “Learning to Succeed”) are the most popular courses at Universidad Popular, as they help recent immigrants and others in the community perfect their English. In a place like Little Village where one can get by quite easily without speaking English, free courses in the language are a blessing. “You go outside [of Little Village] and all the people speak English. I feel like asking ‘what are they saying?’” said Martina Remijio, an adult student originally from Michoacán who has been taking English at UP for three years now. “I feel like I’m in a little box.” “When you have people who don’t speak English, you feel like you don’t need to speak English,” said Remijio. But despite her halting pronunciation, Remijio’s command of English is clear. She understands most questions and can express herself fully, only asking for one word’s translation (aprovechar) in a five-minute interview. She now not only takes Universidad Popular’s English classes, but tries out the yoga and digital literacy courses as well. “I like to take all the opportunities here. For me, it’s a good school,” she says.
class, the highest in the Chicago metropolitan area. (By comparison, 76% of Evanston’s residents are in the “creative class,” working in healthcare, media, science, and management.) That has left much of the Little Village community vulnerable to job losses and outsourcing, says Jesus Gonzalez, Universidad Popular’s microbusiness organizer. “There’s few jobs out there because all the manufacturing jobs have left outside the state, outside the city, outside the country,” he said. “So a lot of the people that we come across in English class or microbusiness workshops sacrificed, worked hard, and were loyal to a company for 20-30 plus years, and then got canned. So they’ve been left with no education, no benefits, no incentives.” This is part of the reason much of Little Village’s economy is informal. “General and private contractors work in this community with no licenses, permits, just on the side. Contractors, caterers, street vendors- they’re all entrepreneurs out of necessity to provide for their own jobs,” said Gonzalez. Thus Universidad Popular has expanded into offering assistance to a local campaign to legitimize street vendors in the community. The campaign is headed by the Asociacion Vendedores Ambulantes (AVA), or Association of Mobile Vendors, which meets weekly in Universidad Popular’s central meeting room to discuss its plans to obtain
licenses for street vendors in the area. Mrs. Jimenez, herself a vendedora for several years, says street vendors fulfill a necessary role. “I say that selling in the streets can be a danger, but it’s also a job,” she said. “We can’t say it’s everything, but it helps.” Jesus Gonzalez coordinated the discussion at one of these meetings: “We’re trying to change the laws for you,” he told the dozens of vendedores in attendance. The street vendors are one of the more visible aspects of Little Village’s extensive informal economy. But due to their legal status, they are routinely harassed by the police due to their lack of permits. “Their assets are confiscated by the city inspectors and police whenever they catch up with them- so assets that were so hard to put together, in one minute to the next, are gone,” said Dr Elio DeArrudah, Universidad Popular’s Board President. Much of the opposition to the campaign lies in health inspectors’ fear of sanitation risks involved with selling food on the streets. And within the community, some restaurant owners are uneasy about losing business to street vendors as well. Yet the campaigners are cautiously optimistic, and reflect an idea which despite challenges seems common at Universidad Popular: people uniting to work for change. “If we work together, we can achieve success,” said the president of AVA, Augusto Aquino.
Popular Economics Yet asides from providing free education, Universidad Popular has morphed into a community center of sorts in the area, providing assistance to local campaigns for economic change. Universidad Popular is located in Little Village, a heavily working class part of Chicago. Many of its residents work in factories, construction, and transportation; a recent study in The Atlantic showed that 67% of its residents are working
THE PROTEST | Winter issue
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Published on Mar 10, 2013
Published on Mar 10, 2013
The Protest is Northwestern University's premier social justice magazine. Featuring in-depth reporting, incisive news analysis, and bold edi...