High School Students Confront President Bush
When this year’s Presidential Scholars gathered at the White House last month for an awards ceremony with President Bush, they gave him something he hadn’t anticipated—a handwritten letter calling on the United States to reject torture and treat detainees humanely. We’ll speak with Mari Oye, a new high school graduate from Wellesley, Mass. who organized the protest among her fellow Presidential Scholars, about Bush’s reaction, where she got the idea, and how her grandparents’ experience in a Japanese internment camp during World War II has influenced her activism.
MARI MICHENER OYE lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where she can often be found driving, running, or cross country skiing. She spends much of her time volunteering for the Arghand Project, an agricultural development cooperative in Kandahar, Afghanistan. A Presidential Scholar, she is the recipient of numerous other awards and honors, including Coca-Cola Scholar, National Merit Finalist, Kodak Young Leader Award, and a Sylvia Plath Junior Poetry Award. Mari will attend Yale this fall, where she plans to study political science.
Remembering Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange
In June of this year, a lawsuit on behalf of Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange was argued in front of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City, and a delegation of Vietnamese victims came to the U.S. to support their case. A few days ago, one of the delegation members, Nguyen Van Quy, passed away due to illnesses stemming from his exposure to the chemical. We talk to one of the organizers of the delegation about the passing of Mr. Quy and about the lawsuit, which charges the chemical companies that profited from the manufacture of Agent Orange, including Dow Chemical, Monsanto, and 35 others, with knowingly providing the government with a poisonous agent to be sprayed indiscriminately on civilians.
MERLE RATNER is the coordinator of the most recent tour for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange. She has been active in efforts to achieve justice for Vietnam’s Agent Orange victims for many years and has also worked to build solidarity between the U.S. and Vietnam. More at www.vn-agentorange.org.
Colma: An Asian American Coming-of-Age, With Singing
Set in suburb of San Francisco, Colma: The Musical follows three best friends, just out of high school, as they make the awkward transition into adulthood in small, dead-end town. One is an aspiring actor, another has just been kicked out of his house for being gay, and a third struggles with adolescent pangs while running a side business making fake IDs. The film features thirteen original musical numbers by H.P. Mendoza and marks the directorial debut of Richard Wong, who will join us in the studio.
RICHARD WONG is a native of San Francisco, California. Colma: The Musical is his feature directorial debut. He has worked as a video engineer on episodic television, most recently on the Emmy Award-winning comedy Arrested Development. He has served as cinematographer for a number of short films and pilots and was a 2005 International Cinematographers Guild Film Showcase Award Honoree for his cinematography on the film Surfacing. He is working on a project with Wayne Wang is developing another musical with H.P. Mendoza. Colma: The Musical is currently playing in NYC at the Quad Cinema.
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