(en) * Congressional Hearings & Anti-Asian Violence (fwd)

John Choe (john.choe@csh.org)
Sun, 08 Jun 1997 13:58:00 -0700

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--------- Begin forwarded message ---------- From: Mark Keam Date: Fri, Jun 6, 1997 2:26 PM Subject: Asian Pacific American issues Concerned Korean Americans: Some of you may be following stories about the recent Denny's beating involving APA students in Syracuse, NY, and the police shooting of a Chinese American in Rohnert Park, CA. All of you should be familiar with the campaign fundraising controversy (CFC) which has been, and is continuing to be, one of the most important issues that APA community-based organizations across the nation are reacting to. Here's a real quick synopsis: CFC began last October when stories broke that a Democratic National Committee official, John Huang, MAY have been involved in illegal fundraising activities on behalf of the President's reelction campaign. Since then, the media has turned this story into an all-out attack on APAs, making suspects out of every single Asian or Asian American involved in any political activity whatsoever. Worse, the elected officials and political parties have taken advantage of the public's anti-foreigner sentiment and turned the CFC into a partisan battle at the cost of our communities. They and the media have done nothing to ackowledge that "foreign" money includes Canadian, European, African and South American moneys as well as Indonesian or Chinese money. They have also ignored the fact that illegal campaign fundraising activities are rampantly practiced by BOTH parties, and have been occuring for decades. Instead, they are solely focusing all their attention to the so-called "Asian Connection" to CFC, and thereby making all of us look real bad..... The climax of this controversy will be this summer or fall when the Senate investigatory hearings begin on this issue. Anyway, what follows, FYI, is a message from San Francisco journalist Helen Zia, who is very active with the Asian American Journalists Association. She is also a community activist well known for her involvement in the Vincent Chin murder, and many other APA issues. Thanks for your attention. Mark L. Keam Washington DC Representative Korean American Coalition (703) 522-4769 --------------------------------------------- (please post) There have been several postings about the Denny's incident in Syracuse, NY involving the hospitalization of 3 students and the police killing of Kuanchung Kao in the middle class suburb of Rohnert Park in Northern California. About these incidents, I have a question and an observation for the APA cybercommunity: 1. My question is whether anyone has seen media coverage of the Denny's incident, local or national. Here in California, there has been none. I had a recent discussion with some other Asian American journalists and we wondered why we had not seen a single AP wire report. Other racially suspect incidents at Denny's that didn't involve sending patrons to the hospital have received a great deal of media attention, so why not this one? But before any inquiries/actions can be made from the inside of the newsroom, we need to know if there has been an effort to get this news out, and if so, what has been the result. So if anybody knows of news coverage, could you please post what you've seen and approximately when it ran? Thanks. 2. My concern is that climate during the last nine months of Asian-bashing has contributed to these violent incidents and possibly others; who knows how many less injurious or deadly situations have gone unreported. In San Francisco, an Asian American business district was vandalized with swastikas and other hate messages. We have certainly seen this cycle many times before, most recently with Japan-bashing and Korean-American bashings and the subsequent increases in hate crimes. Now we are in a period of broad Asian-bashing--and this is only the beginning. Last week I attended the CAPACI (Congressional APA Caucus Institute) conference in Washington, and Kent Cooper, the executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog for issues like campaign finance, was on one of the panels. Cooper, who is white and as far as I know has no particular ties to the APA community, made some sobering predictions. He said that he fully expects the congressional hearings into campaign financing to go on for "at least a year, perhaps two" and that the APA community should "prepare itself" and "go into alert mode" because he expects these hearings will make the last nine months look tame. He suggested that APAs find whatever extra resources we can to deal with the upcoming hearings. My interpretation: the hearings could turn into a real witchhunt. I think APA groups need to consider Cooper's predictions carefully, and in any case, remember what we already know about times of heavy anti-Asian publicity. Other postings have suggested ideas for APA organizations to build a cohesive response. Where media coverage is concerned, the community needs to play an active role in holding the news media accountable for fair coverage of APAs. Letters, emails, phone calls, op-ed pieces, meetings with editorial boards, press conferences and other media events should all be considered. Anti Asian incidents should be documented, publicized, and sent to the various regional and national APA groups like NAPALC for tracking, and media coverage of such incidents should be monitored. If you have questions on how to reach the media, your local Asian American Journalists Association chapter may be able to help (though please be aware that APA journalists who may have to report on such stories will be unable to be involved. Other APA journalists, however, might be able to assist.) I offer these comments and ideas for discussion and I welcome your feedback. Thanks, Helen Zia HZia1@aol.com --------- End forwarded message ----------

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