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What Asian Americans Are Bringing to Campus Movements for Racial Justice

On November 9, 2015, a tent encampment set up on the University of Missouri Columbia’s campus quad erupted in celebration. President Tim Wolfe, who student protesters charged with failing to address campus racism, had announced his resignation.

Amidst cheers, tears, and a mass rendition of “We Shall Overcome,” a new controversy emerged. A six-minute viral video clip showed a student reporter named Tim Tai, who is Asian American, being physically blocked by a group of protesters demanding the media stay out of the encampment.

“I don’t have to move back. I have a job to do,” the video shows an …

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On Solidarity, “Centering Anti-Blackness,” and Asian Americans

As a long-time racial justice worker – a grey head in a movement mainly made up of young people – earnest young Asian Americans, anxious to acknowledge the pivotal role anti-Black racism plays in the perpetuation of white supremacy, often ask me how to “center anti-Blackness” in Asian American racial justice activism. I am as often asked that question by white progressives who aspire to become allies in the Movement for Black Lives.

My answer is simple. Acknowledge the leadership of Black Lives Matter and use the political space and opportunity the movement has created – including the 24/7 media …

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The Bernie Sanders Kerfuffle, #blacklivesmatter, and White Progressive Colorblindness

I lived for nearly 25 years in Portland, Oregon. There I staffed an organization dedicated to fighting vigilante white supremacists. In order to fight the white right, we built a base that was made up almost entirely of white progressives. I also served as the Executive Director of the McKenzie River Gathering Foundation, a financial resource for progressive causes in Oregon. The foundation is supported almost entirely by wealthy white progressives. During my years in Portland, I also worked to end the prison build-up through a group made up of incarcerated people and their loved ones. The prison population …