Thursday, May 19, 2022
The Newbery is a beloved picture book award. On its centennial, author and illustrator Grace Lin created a memorial cover for The Hornbook's special issue. It is titled "100 Years of the Newbery Award posters" and features a young, Asian American reader and award-winning books with handpainted book covers. They are available for purchase online and through the Eric Carle museum. 100% of the artist's proceeds will be donated to Everylibrary.org. I'll be picking up a few for sure!
Sunday, May 15, 2022
Thurs May 19 4pm EST. A virtual event that is part history lesson and part conversation, this program will feature three leading authors, scholars, and advocates: Dr. Erika Lee, Dr. Mae Ngai, and Helen Zia. Register here.
The Mellon Foundation organizers write: "Chinese immigrants and their descendants have shaped the United States, but their experiences are not always acknowledged as part of our collective history. Chinese American stories touch on every facet of the American experience: from those of immigrants who arrived at the US via the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco; to builders of the transcontinental railroad connecting America’s east and west; drivers of urban development and access to public education; and subjects of discrimination and anti-Chinese legislation. In sharing these histories, we can cultivate a fuller understanding of our current moment and promote truthful narratives about Chinese American histories and Asian American experiences."
Saturday, May 7, 2022
Center for Asian American Media offers this TV watch list for the month of May
The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu | Pacific Heartbeat
May 2 on TV, online & on the PBS app
On Honolulu’s famous Waikiki Beach stand four large stones that represent a Hawaiian tradition of healing and gender diversity that is all but unknown to the millions of locals and tourists passing by. According to legend, the stones are a tribute to four mahu, people of dual male and female spirit, who brought the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii and used their spiritual power to cure disease.
Tuesdays beginning May 3 on the YouTube & PBS apps
Over the past few years, Asian Americans faced a double pandemic of COVID-19 and anti-Asian racism. Produced in partnership with Asian American Documentary Network and presented in partnership with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), seven shorts showcase a mix of perspectives from emerging to established AAPI filmmakers, from a diverse range of AAPI communities and geographic regions, covering topics that move beyond the pandemic and reflect the complexities of AAPI experiences.
Try Harder! | Independent Lens
May 4 on TV and the PBS App
At Lowell High School, San Francisco’s academic pressure cooker, the kids are stressed out. With a majority Asian American student body, high-achieving seniors share their dreams and anxieties about getting into a top university. But is college worth the grind?
Waterman – Duke: Ambassador of Aloha | American Masters
May 14 on TV and the PBS app
Narrated by Jason Momoa, discover the inspiring story and considerable impact of five-time Olympic medalist Duke Kahanamoku. He shattered swimming records and globalized surfing while overcoming racism in a lifetime of personal challenges.
May 16 on TV
A raw, inspiring window into 5.4 million children stepping forward as frontline heroes. Caring for family with tough medical conditions, they stay at home doing things often seen only in hospitals. They are cheerleaders, work part-time, go to college and live double lives quietly growing up as America’s next greatest generation.
Geographies of Kinship | America ReFramed
May 19 on TV, online & on the PBS app
In Deann Borshay Liem’s Geographies of Kinship, the complex personal histories of four adult adoptees born in South Korea are weaveed together with the rise of the country’s global adoption program. Raised in foreign families, each adoptee sets out on a journey to reconnect with their roots, mapping the geographies of kinship that bind them to a homeland they never knew.
A Tale of Three Chinatowns | Local, USA
May 23 on TV, online & on the PBS & YouTube apps
Exploring the survival of urban ethnic neighborhoods in three American cities: Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Boston. Through the voices of residents, community activists, developers and government officials, the film looks at the forces altering each community and the challenges that go with them, including the pressing issue of urban development and gentrification.
Asian Voices | Stories from the Stage
May 23 on TV, online & on the Facebook, YouTube & PBS apps
Every day, millions of people are creating their own definitions of what it means to be Asian American. And to do this, they rely on history, culture, family and friends to deal with their dual identities. Tellers share stories that speak to the richness and variety of the Asian American experience.
Chinatown Rising | America ReFramed
May 24 on TV, online & on the PBS app
Weaving together never-before-seen archival footage and photographs, Chinatown Rising reveals a deeply personal portrait of a San Francisco neighborhood in transition. Chinatown activists of the 1960s reflect on their years as young residents waging battles for bilingual education, tenants’ rights and ethnic studies curriculum that would shape their community and nation.
Plague at the Golden Gate | American Experience
May 28 on TV & the PBS app
The film takes us back to turn-of-the 20th-century San Francisco, when a deadly outbreak of bubonic plague in the city’s Chinatown and the hunt to identify its source led to an all-too-familiar spate of violent anti-Asian sentiment.
Sundays on TV beginning May 1 | Available online & on the PBS app through May 31
Asian Americans is a five-hour film series that delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever. As America becomes more diverse, and more divided while facing unimaginable challenges, how do we move forward together? Told through intimate personal stories, the series will cast a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played.
Curtain Up! | America ReFramed
Available online & on the PBS app through May 10
In New York City’s Chinatown, the theater club of PS 124 is staging an adaptation of the film “Frozen”. As the 5th graders gear up and rehearse for the musical production, nervous excitement and flubbed lines brush up against cultural stereotypes, family expectations, and post-graduation uncertainties. Curtain Up! shares a kid’s-eye view of the wonders of discovering art, culture and identity.
Far East Deep South | America ReFramed
Available on PBS Passport
Charles Chiu and his family’s search for their roots takes them on an eye-opening journey through the Mississippi Delta, uncovering otherwise unknown stories and the racially complex history of Chinese immigrants in the segregated South. This Chinese American family’s unforgettable story offers a poignant and important perspective on race relations, immigration and American identity.
First Vote | America ReFramed
Available on PBS Passport
With unparalleled access to a diverse cross section of politically engaged Chinese Americans, First Vote offers a character-driven verité look at Chinese American electoral organizing in North Carolina and Ohio. The film weaves their stories from the presidential election of 2016 to the 2018 midterms, and explores the intersections between immigration, voting rights and racial justice.
High Tide Don’t Hide | Pacific Heartbeat
Available online & on the PBS app
In the race for existence, striking teenagers discover that activism, authority and awareness make for a steep learning curve. Determined to provoke real action, New Zealand teenagers join the global School Strike for Climate. But planning a movement and building momentum are the easy parts as they face political indifference, their own white privilege, and the ongoing struggle to be heard.
Jaddoland | America ReFramed
May 12 on TV | Available on PBS Passport
Nadia Shihab’s Jaddoland is an intimate portrait of the work and process of the director’s visual artist mother Lahib Jaddo. The film offers viewers a fresh look at the immigrant story in America. Through an exploration of her mother’s art and connections to her life in Texas, Shihab also drafts a unique picture of how art can help both the creator and the audience make sense of familial and cultural connections, loss, perseverance and life.
James & Isey | Pacific Heartbeat
Available online & on the PBS app
Genuine New Zealand treasures Isey and her son James invite viewers into their lives in the week leading up to Isey’s 100th birthday and its shaping up to be quite the party. The episode captures a Northland celebration of life and aroha (love) like no other.
The Last Season | America ReFramed
Available online through May 28
Each September, the town of Chemult, Oregon is flooded with mushroom hunters. Many are immigrants from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand who entered the U.S. as refugees in the 1980s. Here, veterans Kouy Loch and Roger Higgins find more than just the rare matsutake in the woods; they create a familial bond and a means to slowly heal the wounds of war.
Loimata, the Sweetest Tears | Pacific Heartbeat
Available online & on the PBS app
Featuring the redemptive tale of waka builder and captain Lilo Ema Siope’s final years, “Loimata, The Sweetest Tears” is a chronicle of journeys – journeys of migration, spirituality, voyaging, healing and coming home. Confronting intergenerational trauma head on, the Siope family returns to their homeland of Sâmoa.
Friday, May 6, 2022
This 1 minute and 38 second clip from NBC Nightly News does an excellent job highlighting the paperwork problems facing Ukrainian refugees hoping to find a new home in the United States. It spotlights the "online portal" the U.S. has set up, specifically for Ukrainians. And it highlights the sorts of items that migrants must show to establish their eligibility for the program--a deed to their war-ravaged home, paper vaccine records from hospitals overrun by war.
Lots of fruitful jumping off points for in-class discussion in less than two minutes of video.
Sunday, May 1, 2022
President Trump with singular dedication championed a "big, beautiful wall" along the U.S./Mexico border. The Biden administration has moved in a different direction. In "The Border Wall Is Outliving Trump," Stephania Taladrid for the New Yorker explains that, although Trump left office, Republican governors, federal regulations, and inaction in Congress are allowing construction to continue. She notes that:
"An estimated three hundred and fifty miles of barriers were completed in the final year of the Administration. Multimillion-dollar contracts were awarded up until the last days of Trump’s term. Many observers believed that Trump was trying to make it difficult for his successor to unravel his project. The new President would face hundreds of millions of dollars in payouts to contractors. . . . While Biden was being inaugurated, [one could observe] the last dynamite blast on the border. . . . Landowners, tribes, and environmentalists impacted by the construction argue that the Biden Administration’s response has not been forceful enough."
Friday, April 29, 2022
Earlier this week, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testified before a congressional committee on the proposed end of Title 42 expulsions, border security, and immigration. One might put it differently, as follows, in the hearings, Mayorkas was grilled on those issues, which look to be a vulnerability of Democrats in the midterm elections. Specifically, Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) aggressively questioned the DHS Secretary over his border policies and showed photos of victims of trafficking and drug overdoses
Here is the testimony from the hearing.
Sunday, April 24, 2022
As posted two days ago, we lost a wonderful immigration colleague, Michael Olivas, a few days ago. To celebrate his life, I wanted to post a bit about some of his loves. For example, every Christmas holiday season, Michael would allocate a day to watching the Godfather movies.
"Immigration files on George Harrison and The Concert for Bangla Desh
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Putting up the @atlblog signal but, really, NONE OF THIS WILL STOP until students of color stop matriculating to @pennlaw and donors stop giving money to help fund this professor who has been openly racist for decades. https://t.co/l73ITnSAGF— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) April 11, 2022
Law professor Amy Wax, whose controversial remarks on race have led to calls for her firing, continues to make the news, this time because of her statements in an interview with Tucker Carlson (and here). Professor Wax has long criticized immigration from non-Western nations. For a conservative criticism of her views on Volokh Conspiracy, click here.
Penn Law professor Amy Wax tells Tucker Carlson that "Blacks" and other "non-western" groups harbor "resentment, shame, and envy" against western people for their "outsized achievements and contributions." pic.twitter.com/jpQmOU554C— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) April 11, 2022
Saturday, March 26, 2022
ImmigrationProf readers may be interested in a series now streaming on Apple TV+. Pachinko is encapsulated as follows: "Based on the New York Times bestseller, this sweeping saga chronicles the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations as they leave their homeland in an indomitable quest to survive and thrive."
Friday, March 18, 2022
With the Russian invasion, Ukrainian refugees have been in the news. In two weeks, actors Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher raised nearly $35 million to help Ukrainian refugees displaced by the invasion. The crowdfunding effort has now raised nearly $35 million — and counting.
The married couple had previously pledged to match up to $3 million in donations toward the GoFundMe campaign (available at this link). According to the site, they donated $3 million to their own “Stand With Ukraine” fundraiser 13 days ago.
On Thursday, Kunis — who was born in Ukraine — and Kutcher posted an update on their social accounts, expressing gratitude for the support. As of this writing, more than 68,000 people and companies have donated $34.5 million.
The donations to “Stand With Ukraine” include $5 million from Larry Ellison, the co-founder and executive chairman of software giant Oracle, as well as $3.5 million from DST Global, an investment firm headed by Russian-born Israeli entrepreneur Yuri Milner.
Thursday, March 17, 2022
A year ago, the nation was shocked when a gunman shot a group Asian American women in Atlanta. With verbal attacks by President Trump himself, anti-Asian sentiment spiked in the United States. Sadly, reports of hate crimes against Asian Americans continue.
"The Race Epidemic is about another outbreak caused by COVID-19. An epidemic of hate based on race against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). With a politicized pandemic sweeping through the country and a former President calling it the Chinese Virus, the rise of attacks and hate against AAPIs is not surprising.
Can naming a virus after an innocent ethnic group cause the outbreak of an epidemic of hate? Or is it something hidden deeper within American society? The film takes a close examination of xenophobia and racism against AAPIs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Race Epidemic is a significant film of our times as innocent AAPIs are being attacked and murdered on the streets. It’s time to act. We can no longer be the silent minority. Our voice will not be silenced."
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Ashley Lee for the Los Angeles Times reports that "playwright Benjamin Benne combats former President Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric with ‘Alma.’ Set days after the 2016 presidential election, the poetic yet realistic dramedy peers inside the one-bedroom La Puente apartment of Alma, an undocumented immigrant who works hourly-wage jobs, and Angel, her American-born daughter who is expected to take the SAT the following morning."
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
NBC News and the New York Times provide an update on an interesting removal case. Manny Arora, attorney for Anna "Delvey" Sorokin, said yesterday that he has not heard from the infamous socialite scammer who posed as a German heiress. He assumes that she is being deported to Germany after nearly a year in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. ICE did not respond to a request for comment.
Sorokin was the subject of the Netflix series "Inventing Anna." She served about four years in prison after found guilty of a variety of criminal charges. "Sorokin falsely claimed to be a German heiress named Anna Delvey who had a $60 million inheritance and was raising funds to launch a Manhattan social club. She swindled hundreds of thousands of dollars from friends, banks and New York City luxury hotels to float her lavish lifestyle. Continue reading"
Friday, March 11, 2022
Trailblazer Patsy Takemoto Mink of Hawaiʻi entered the Oregon Presidential primary on March 10, 1972, making history as the first Asian American woman to run for President of the United States. Carl Fisher of Oregon shares some other remembrances of her firsts.
- She was the first Asian American woman ever elected to Congress
- She was the first woman of color ever elected to Congress
- She was the first woman ever elected to Congress from Hawaii
- She was the first Asian American ever to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party
- She was the first Democratic woman to deliver a State of the Union response
- She was the first person of color appointed as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Another 50 year milestone for Mink is the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Rep. Mink advocated for women’s issues throughout her time in Congress. She garnered critical support for the passage of Title IX at the time there were only eight women who were members of Congress. (The story is told in a newly-released picture book here.)
To learn more, Kimberlee Bassford has a documentary on Congresswoman Mink, which is available for rent on Vimeo.
Monday, March 7, 2022
Want to learn more about the experiences of Ukrainian refugees? Check out The Daily podcast released today entitled "On the Road With Ukraine’s Refugees."
Here is the description of the episode:
"This episode contains strong language.
In response to Russia’s increasingly brutal campaign against Ukrainian towns and cities, an estimated 1.5 million people — most of them women and children — have fled Ukraine over the past 10 days. It’s the fastest displacement of people in Europe since World War II.
While evacuating the capital city of Kyiv for Lviv in the west, a seven-hour journey that took two days and nights, the Daily host Sabrina Tavernise traveled alongside some of those fleeing the conflict."
Sunday, March 6, 2022
News outlets across the nation last week reported on a tragedy in Sacramento. On a supervised visit, a father killed three children, and a chaparone, before killing himself at a church.
Sadly, news outlets and political leaders now are trying to make immigration an issue by highlighting the fact that the father was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. This kind of sensationalism unfortunately is nothing new and occurs regularly in high profile cases involving immigrants. One should ask the question what his immigration status had to do with the horrible crime?
A local Sacramento news station reported that
"The gunman who killed his three daughters, a chaperone who was supervising his visit with the children and himself in a Sacramento County church was known to have struggled with mental health issues, officials said.
New details also reveal that David Mora Rojas, 39, also used a `ghost gun' in the shooting. Mora Rojas also overstayed his visa after entering California from his native Mexico on Dec. 17, 2018, on a non-immigrant visitor visa, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Alethea Smock told The Associated Press."
As the local report noted, the Associated Press appears to be the source about Rojas' immigration status.
Although mental health issues, not immigration status, appears to have directly resulted in the killings, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones , who is running for Congress, says U.S. immigration policies and California’s sanctuarylaw somehow are to blame for the deadly church shootings.
"They’ll call me racist and evil," Jones wrote in a Facebook post. "But let me be perfectly clear, there is only ONE thing that allowed this horrific tragedy to occur with certainty: the deplorable state of our national immigration policies, and California’s Sanctuary State Laws."
The killings of the young people in a church by all appearances is a tragedy. We all should think about how it happened and how such tragedies could be avoided. For example, mental health crisis services are not as well funded and accessible as they perhaps should be. Oddly, rather than focus on mental health, news agencies have been broadcasting the father's immigration status and tapping into passions for the purpose of exploitation. President Trump tapped into similar passions, for example, characterizing Mexican immigrants as "criminals" and "rapists."
The truth of the matter is that Mora's immigration status had absolutely nothing to do with his criminal acts.
Although immigrants commit crimes, studies consistently show that immigrants commit crimes at lesser rates than native born U.S. citizens. News stories that focus on immigration status of alleged criminal perpetrators help reinforce stereotypes that immigrants are predisposed to crime, which is simply not true.
Immigrant rights advocates do not claim that immigrants who commit crimes should not be held accountable. No one could reasonably say that the perpetrator of a crime like that which occurred in the Sacramento church -- immigrant or not -- should not face criminal charges. With the alleged perpetrator dead, that is not possible in this case. Rather than chase immigration ghosts, we should think hard about how we can act to avoid tragic deaths of young people in the future.
UPDATE March 8:
Saturday, February 19, 2022
If I made this stuff up, I no doubt would get objections from all quarters. As the old adage goes, truth is stranger than fiction.
Will the US/Mexico border soon look like it is a something out of the great apocalyptic film Escape from New York?
Sunday, February 13, 2022
Don't Forget the Super Bowl Game -- Among Immigration Enforcement, Television Ads, and the Half Time Show
Besides immigration enforcement activities (and the world football championship game), Super Sunday is a cultural phenomenon. Check out the half time show with of Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre. Past half times have featured Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and many more (including Janet Jackson in the famous "wardrobe malfunction incident).
Besides the half time show, many revelers at Super Bowl parties carefully watch the expensive television advertisements.
And, yes, there even is an immigration story here. In 2017, with President Trump in office, Budweiser made news with a Super Bowl ad on immigration.
84 Lumber also ran an immigration ad during the 2017 Super Bowl:
Last but not least, don't forget the football game. The resurgent Los Angeles Rams play the upstart Cincinnati Bengals at 3:30 p.m. PST. My pick:
Saturday, February 12, 2022
Jean Guerrero, author of the book Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda (2020) interviewed for the Los Angeles Times "Carlos Eduardo Espina [who] has more than 2.5 million followers on TikTok and makes videos about immigration in Spanish. He . . . . plans to hold a nationwide 'Day Without Immigrants' this Valentine’s Day."
The protest will involve immigrants not showing up to work or school or spending money. The hope is to pressure President Biden into focusing on immigration reform.
According to Guerrero, "Espina came to the U.S. from Uruguay when he was 5 years old. Based in College Station, Texas, he started offering citizenship classes on TikTok during the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly became a social media celebrity, speaking directly to immigrants about issues that matter to them."
The protest harkens back to the 2004 satirical film "A Day Without a Mexican."
Monday, January 24, 2022
"Sonita Gale’s impassioned documentary draws necessary attention to the `hostile environment' the UK government has created for migrants. She draws a through line from the British empire to today’s refugee crisis, connecting it to the Windrush scandal and Brexit.
Case studies filmed during the early days of the pandemic highlight the impossibility of the situation: a Pakistani family of four have British-born children who are ineligible for citizenship; the parents have been granted leave to remain but with `no recourse to public funds'. Elsewhere, an immigrant-led charity that provides hot meals . . . receive a commendation from Boris Johnson but no support from the council."