Seeking Justice for Private Chen - Army Hazing on Trial
The trial of the second officer charged in connection with U.S. Army Private Danny Chen’s hazing death starts today. Many in the Asian American community, including Private Chen’s family, were shocked and dismayed last week when a court martial panel cleared Sergeant Adam Holcomb of the most serious charges and sentenced him to only thirty days in jail. According to fellow officers who served with Chen in Afghanistan, Chen was subjected to racial taunts and singled out for physical abuse by his superiors before he took his own life. We’ll speak with Attorney Liz Ouyang, president of the Organization of Chinese Americans, the leading advocacy group in this case, for an update from Fort Bragg, North Carolina on the court martial trial of Sergeant Ryan Offutt, the second of eight officers to stand trial.
Elizabeth R. OuYang, Esq. is the president of the Organization of Chinese Americans-New York Chapter. OCA, founded in 1973, is a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States. Ms. OuYang has been a civil rights attorney for over twenty years. Her areas of expertise include voting rights, immigration, race and disability discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, police brutality and hate crimes. She worked as a staff attorney for eight years with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and for three years with the Disability Law Center in Boston, MA.
Color-blind or Just Blind? – The Latest Challenge to Affirmative Action
Supporters of affirmative action file their amici briefs today in support of University of Texas (UT)-Austin in Fisher vs UT-Austin, the latest Supreme Court case on race-conscious college admissions. Conservative pundits are quick to point to Asian Americans as a racial minority unfairly disadvantaged by affirmative action, and the mainstream media holds up Asian Americans as the new face of affirmative action opponents. What is at stake for Asian Americans in this national debate? To help us sort through fact from fiction, we will be joined by Thomas Mariadason, staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Eric Tang, African and African Diaspora Studies professor at University of Texas-Austin; and Robert Teranishi, Principal Investigator for the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education.
Thomas Mariadason is a staff attorney in the Educational Equity Program at the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund or “AALDEF”, which has supported affirmative action and equal opportunity for Asian American students for over three decades. Thomas’ work includes working to improve language access for new Asian immigrants and supporting student-led movements to end Anti-Asian bias harassment in schools. Prior to becoming an attorney at AALDEF, he worked for an alternative to incarceration program for prison-bound youth and as a volunteer with undocumented immigrant movements in Jackson Heights, Queens. Thomas is himself an immigrant from Sri Lanka, a native New Yorker, and graduate of the CUNY School of Law.
Eric Tang is assistant professor in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department and core faculty with the Center for Asian American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He also directs the Social Justice Institute of the UT Community Engagement Center. Tang has published numerous essays on race, refugees and urban social movements. He is completing a book about Southeast Asian refugees and the U.S. urban crisis.
Robert Teranishi is associate professor of higher education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, co-director for the Institute for Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings (IGEMS), and principal investigator for the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE). His work related to college access, affordability, and equity has been influential to federal, state, and institution policy, including Supreme Court decisions related to school desegregation and affirmative action. In 2010, Teranishi was the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award from NYU and was named one of the nation's top "up-and-coming" leaders by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
The Collective – a New Novel by Don Lee
What happens when a struggling writer is unexpectedly confronted with the suicide of an estranged best friend? So begins Don Lee's new novel, The Collective, which follows a group of three Asian American artists struggling to make sense of their lives and careers over two decades of college, career plateaus, dating mishaps, and the multiculturalism of the 1990s. APF’s Leyla Mei spoke with the author recently about his writing process, why he put race at the center of his novel, and whether questions of Asian American identity remain relevant for young writers.
Don Lee is the author of the novel Wrack and Ruin, which was a finalist for the Thurber Prize; the novel Country of Origin, which won an American Book Award, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and a Mixed Media Watch Image Award for Outstanding Fiction; and the story collection Yellow, which won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Members Choice Award from the Asian American Writers' Workshop. In the fall of 2009, he began teaching as a professor in Temple University's M.F.A. program in creative writing in Philadelphia, where he founded TINGE Magazine, a graduate student–run online literary journal. He is currently the director of the M.F.A. program. He has also taught creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
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