See below for our statement on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans & Pacific Islander’s “What’s Your Story” video challenge, in which GAPIMNY, a member of the Asian Pride Project, participated.
As LGBT Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, issues of deportation and repatriation are our issues too.
For Immediate Release
May 3, 2012
For a Pdf version, of the statement Click Here.
GAPIMNY, Q-WAVE, and SALGA Stand With My Asian Americana
New York, NY — GAPIMNY, Q-WAVE, and SALGA are core partners in the Asian Pride Project (APP). Together, we submitted a video for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) “What’s Your Story” video challenge. WHIAAPI received over 200 submissions for the contest. After choosing 11 finalists from the pool, WHIAAPI asked the public to watch and vote to aid the judges’ choice in who would be invited to the “Champions of Change” event on April 5, 2012. APP was one of the finalists ultimately recognized.
We are truly honored by the recognition of our work elevating the stories of parents, siblings and friends of LGBTQ Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. However, we are also disappointed that another project was not given similar recognition.
“My Asian Americana”, a video featuring experiences of several Southeast Asian American deportees, received over 10,000 views by the end of the competition, nearly double the views of most of the finalists, including APP. Although views do not equate to votes, we believe that “My Asian Americana” should have been recognized not only because of the overwhelming public interest, but also mainly because of its pressing and too often neglected subject matter of criminalization and deportation of members of the Southeast Asian American community.
We recognize that WHIAAPI ultimately had the right to choose which finalists to honor at the “Champions of Change” event, but we are disappointed that WHIAAPI did not use this opportunity to highlight this important cause. The issues around immigration, specifically repatriation, and criminalization go beyond the WHIAAPI video challenge. But unfortunately, the decision to not recognize “My Asian Americana” falls into a familiar pattern of inaction by the current Administration to rectify unjust and unfair immigration policies.
As such, GAPIMNY, Q-WAVE, and SALGA, community organizations with a long history of organizing in LGBTQ Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, would like to express their solidarity with the leaders, organizers, and activists in the Southeast Asian American community working toward visibility, healing, and justice for their communities.
The experiences of exiled Southeast Asian Americans featured in “My Asian Americana” are particularly resonant with us. Many members of our community identify as Southeast Asian American or immigrants. Many members of our community are also unjustly caught in a broken immigration system. Furthermore, far too many of us know what it’s like to feel invisible and silenced.
We call on all members of our LGBTQ, Asian, and Pacific Islander American communities and beyond to watch “My Asian Americana”, work towards further awareness of the various stories of Southeast Asian Americans, and take action for recognition and justice for all of our communities.
From our friends at One Love Movement:
Here are steps you can take to get involved:
- Organize a community screening of Studio Revolt’s My Asian Americana and Return to Sender in your home or other space. Discuss the issue and brainstorm how you can organize your community together. And continue to follow the work of Studio Revolt.
- Write a statement against unjust and retroactive deportation for past criminal convictions, the silencing of this issue, and ICE and DHS’s destructive policies that rip families apart. Send it to the White House, WHIAAPI, and your US Congressional members. You can find out who they are at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov. Send us a copy and we’ll post your letters on One Love Movement’s website: [email protected]
- Become more educated on this issue and spread the tools to others. See Deported Diaspora’s Resources and Links, One Love’s Know The Issue, and Families For Freedom, Immigrant Defense Project, National Immigration Project and Detention Watch Network’s Community Organizing Manual Deportation 101.
- Join the SEARAC’s legislative visit database – commit to visiting your local and federal elected officials to engage them on this issue. For more info, email [email protected].
- Read and share One Love’s Statement against the government’s use of the word “Criminal” to target our loved ones, and join our Mailing List to stay informed. And see PrYSM’s End Racial Profiling Campaign to learn how to organize against institutionalized oppression by law enforcement in your community.