LIVE STREAMING
Photo: Screenshot of CCP Zoom meeting
Photo: Screenshot of CCP Zoom meeting

CCP’s Enough is Enough series tackles AAPI hate

The discussion came close to the eve of the Atlanta spa shootings and dove deep on the history of the issue in the U.S.

MORE IN THIS SECTION

Relief for PR quake victims

June 26th, 2022

Shapiro Backs Choice

June 26th, 2022

"I'm the guagua 47"

June 25th, 2022

Gun Legislation At Last

June 25th, 2022

The boom of Bolivian cinema

June 25th, 2022

Colombian leader at NASA

June 24th, 2022

Philly Rallies for Roe

June 24th, 2022

"Roe is on the ballot"

June 24th, 2022

SHARE THIS CONTENT:

On Thursday, March 24, Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) hosted a virtual ‘Teach-In’ session titled ‘Enough is Enough: Taking a Stand Against Anti-Asian Hate.’

The panel was moderated by Dr. Michelle Myers, an associate professor of English at CCP and an award-winning poet and educator who appeared on HBO’S Def Poetry Jam.

Myers is also a founding member of the Yellow Rage Spoken Word poetry group where she harnesses her experiences as a biracial Korean-American woman. Her poetry has been featured in the new best-selling book called Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now.

As the session kicked off, Myers introduced the panelists, all prominent leaders within Philadelphia’s Asian-American community.

Cliff Akiyama is a pediatric behavioral specialist who works with youth at the intersections of the juvenile justice and behavioral health systems. He is also a commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia.

Akiyama also serves as a board member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, where he previously served as president.

Wei Chen is the Civic Engagement Director of Asian Americans United. After experiencing bullying and harassment as an immigrant student at a South Philadelphia high school, Chen emerged as a youth leader who helped establish safe, bias-free schools for students in the city.

Chen is the co-founder of Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the non-profit organization Victim-Witness Services of South Philadelphia Inc.

Peter Van Do is the director of the Pan-Asian American Community House at the University of Pennsylvania, and specializes in community outreach and program development.

Do has worked in higher education for over a decade at institutions like Harvard, Cornell and now Penn. His primary research areas include the Vietnam War and the South Vietnamese veteran experience.

Lastly, Catzie Vilayphonh is the founder and director of Laos in the House, and an award-winning spoken word poet and multimedia artist. Vilayphonh and Myers co-founded the Yellow Rage spoken word poetry group.

Throughout her artistic career Catzie has become a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Award recipient, a 2012 Creative Capital finalist and a four-time Leeway Foundation honoree.

In its most recent national report, the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate, from March 19, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021, nearly 11,000 hate incidents against AAPI’s were reported.

Akiyama shed some light on the long history of anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. While this surge in hate crimes was spurred by racist rhetoric related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the states have never truly been a welcoming place for the Asian-American diaspora.

“In 1942, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, there were nearly 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were sent to one of 10 internment camps, of which two thirds were American citizens by birth right,” Akiyama said.

He also mentioned the Page Act of 1875, the first restrictive federal immigration law in the United States, which effectively prohibited the entry of Chinese women, marking the end of open borders.

“Chinese women were deemed and viewed as not human, as dirty and unclean. So fast forward to a year ago, with the Atlanta spa shootings. Eight individuals died, six of which were Asian females, and this still goes on today, this hatred towards Asian women and Asian-Americans,” Akiyama said. 

Myers then cited the recent study released earlier this month by National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, which showed that 74% of the AAPI women surveyed experienced racism or discrimination within the past year. 

“Fifty-three percent said the person who mistreated them was a stranger, and 47% said that the incident occured in public. Another 40% said they had been sexually harassed in the past year as well,” Myers said. 

Vilayphonh expanded on the impacts of sexism and racism on Asian women, and her mixed reactions to last year’s Atlanta spa shootings.

“A lot of people started sharing information about sex workers and for me that sort of hit me in the wrong way, because you’re assuming that a massage place is really a sex parlor and that the women who were killed were sex workers,” Vilayphonh said.

“So even though the information that was put out afterwards was supposed to be helpful, it kind of wasn’t, because now you’re really re-attaching the stereotype that if you get an Asian massage, you’re really getting sex from a sex worker. So in that way, I don't know if progress has been made,”  she continued.

To conclude the session, Myers asked the panelists to reflect on the title of “Enough is Enough” and what that means going forward in the movement. Akiyama took the lead in his response. 

He stressed the importance of learning about each other’s cultures, with an “open mind and an open heart,” as that is where true healing occurs.

Akiyama ended his remarks by talking about the power and beauty in solidarity among different communities of color. 

“If you’re gonna mess with me, you’re gonna mess with my homies. So that is so important,” he said. 




 

  • LEAVE A COMMENT:

  • Join the discussion! Leave a comment.

  • or
  • REGISTER
  • to comment.
  • LEAVE A COMMENT:

  • Join the discussion! Leave a comment.

  • or
  • REGISTER
  • to comment.
00:00 / 00:00
Ads destiny link