Shows: July 16, 2018

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Artwork: Thi Bui

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The Real Story Behind Asian Americans and Elite Admissions

Long after school segregation was formally abolished, school segregation in more subtle forms persists, even here in New York City, and the racial and economic polarization in K12 education is getting worse. Now a legal attack from the far right threatens to swing the country rightward on all forms of affirmative action, or race-conscious educational policies, in a lawsuit against Harvard University. Meanwhile, the Trump administration's justice department is enabling it, by rolling back major policy guidance for the nation's K12 schools and universities about encouraging diversity and voluntary integration. In the lawsuit, however, the twist is that Asian American students are at the forefront of this suit, claiming they've been unfairly disadvantaged by affirmative action policies. Similar controversies are feeding into the backlash against school diversity policies in New York, as Asian American conservatives protest efforts to open up admissions to the city's elite magnet schools. So what are the politics surrounding school admissions, civil rights policy and the future of diversity in education? We talk to Nicole Gon Ochi of Advancing Justice, one of the civil rights groups involved in the litigation on the other side of the right-wing Harvard lawsuit.

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Detention, Deportation, and Separation with "The Best We Could Do" author, Thi Bui

Between May and June there have been over 2300 immigrant and refugee children fleeing violence in their home countries only to be separated from their families at the US border. Children being detained in subpar facilities, children representing themselves in court, and the unjust, violent, and physical separation of children from their parents has permeated both mainstream and social media channels in vivid, heartbreaking and visual narrative. While modern-day immigration policies seem to merely replicate a tainted, white supremacist past, cultural activists have historically re-written, re-imagined, re-purposed, and re-drawn worlds worth fighting for.

Thi Bui is the award-winning author of The Best We Could Do , a graphic memoir that documents her family’s escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves in America. Bui discusses the journey of putting together such a personal story and her reflections on its social and political relevance.

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Queer Revolutionary Joy and Resistance In "Interstate" Musical With Co-Writers, Kit Yan And Melissa Li

Interstate is an Asian-American pop-rock poetry musical that follows Dash, a transgender spoken word performer, and his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. Together, they are Queer Malady, a spunky band whose music daringly speaks out about the oppression faced by trans and queer Asian Americans. The duo embarks on a road trip across the United States for their first national tour, and heir fiercely political and deeply personal music touches Henry, a transgender teenage boy living in small-town Kentucky. Henry finds solace in their art as he struggles with his own identity and family. After blogging about the band and documenting his own gender journey, he decides to set out on a quest to meet his heroes in person, hoping to find answers to his own struggles. We speak with Interstate co-writers Kit Yan and Melissa Li about their experiences working on the musical, how the story parallels their own journey, and the exploration of social issues alongside the celebration of queer revolutionary joy on the show.

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This program is brought to you by Olivia Canlas, Michelle Chen and Areerat Worawongwasu of the APF collective.

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