Asian American voters were treated this morning by a surprise visit by Barack Obama’s half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, during the Asian American Pacific Islander caucus at the Democratic National Convention. She gave a rousing speech that fired up the people in the room.
Here are DNC-related “tweets” from my Twitter feed, which shows up in my Facebook updates and also in a widget on my blog pages. Some videos, too: Above, emcee Tamlyn Tomita (“Joy Luck Club,” “Come See the Paradise,” “Picture Bride,” Karate Kid II”) introduces Mee Moua, the historic first-ever Hmong American lawmaker, a state senator from Minnesota, during the APIAVote Gala at the Marriott City Center.
The week began before the convention itself, with a Saturday night Media Kickoff Party that was the city’s show of excess to 15,000 journalists from around the world. I bet there were over 5,000 jrounalists, maybe 10,000, who attended the evening at Elitch Gardens amusement park. The admission was free, the rides were free, there was free food and drink everywhere, and even the arcade games were free, and the staff handed out stuffed animal prizes to anyone who played anything.
The next day, Sunday, was an Asian American Summit organized by a Denver committee, which featured speakers including Congressman Mike Honda. The session was a first step towards organizing Colorado’s AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander, which I’ll try to use as my standard acronym when I’m not spelling out Asian American) community to participate in the political process. Monday night, the first night pof the convention, was the APIAVote Gala. Continue reading →
It’s been a couple of weeks since the Japanese American National Museum‘s national conference was held in Denver. Sorting through the many bits of video I took over the conference, which ran July 3-6, my favorite parts were the tribute to JA veterans on the Fourth of July, and the July 6 bus tour to Amache, the internment camp in southeast Colorado.
The conference brought a bevy of famous and not-so famous speakers and panelists (I moderated a panel on Hapas, mixed-race Americans who are the future of the JA community) to Denver’s nice new Hyatt right by the nice new Convention Center. The famous included the likes of actor George Takei, a superstar in the JA pantheon; Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawai’i), a Medal of Honor World War II veteran of the all-JA 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team; Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), who as a baby was interned at Amache with his family; former Congressman and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta; JA leaders and activists such as John Tateishi and Dale Minami; authors including mystery novelist Naomi Hirahara; Cynthia Kadohata, who writes books for pre-teens; and Uma Krishnaswami, who writes multicultural children’s books from a South Asian perspective.
The conference, which had the awkward and ungainly title but righteous theme of “Whose America? Who’s American?,” also brought more than 800 attendees and volunteers for the four-day span, meeting and greeting and learning about the history, present and future of not only Japanese Americans but also of Americans in general. One of the noteworthy speakers was Anan Ameri, the director of the Arab American National Museum, who spoke at a Plenary Session alongside JA scholars about internment, civil rights and the question of American identity posed in the conference title. Continue reading →
Yesterday it was 82 degrees, close to a record high, in Denver. It was as if summer had arrived in one day, with students sunning themselves at the University of Colorado, and people everywhere doing what Coloradans do during the summer: biking, walking, throwing Frisbees.
Yesterday is like a dream. You wouldn’t know it happened. Today it snowed, and tonight the lows will drop to 20. Here are some photos of the return of winter. Continue reading →