Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Video of Frances reading at "Navigating the underCurrents" activist poetry reading at "underCurrents & the Quest for Space" art exhibit in San Francisco

Awesome, very short video by Mido Lee of the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) "underCurrents & the Quest for Space" art show at SOMArts Gallery in San Francisco. I'm at the 2 minute mark! It was so worth it to sneak away to San Francisco for a day--11 hours on the plane, 12 hours in the City (although I did work the whole way there and back on the plane :). 

Much thanks to the beautiful and wonderful May-lee Chai for curating this invigorating and politically charged poetry reading, "Navigating the underCurrents." http://www.somarts.org/undercurrentspoetry/ 

She called me an "activist poet" therefore I am! I'm at the 2 minute mark! From my prose poem, "Tsundere Pride or You Are So Prickly!"

Link to video: http://vimeo.com/midolee/aawaaundercurrents2013"

underCurrents & the Quest for Space 2013 from Mido Lee on Vimeo.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

an appropriate bookmark for this day: What does the Vincent Chin case mean to you?

this just in from calvin ho @calvinhyj: Found an appropriate bookmark for today's reading.#rememberingvincentchin #china @fkwang @AsianArguments pic.twitter.com/0NwY19mxp9

What does the Vincent Chin case mean to you? Tweet with tag @fkwang #vchin. Check out all the responses at www.rememberingvincentchin.com

Lots of articles and reflections last year archived at: http://www.rememberingvincentchin.com/2012_06_01_archive.html

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

V3 Asian American Digital Media Conference--kissing all the boys and making them cry

V3 Asian American Digital Media Conference sponsored by Asian American Journalists Association Los Angeles at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles is the highlight of my year, a time and space where I can be myself, see my friends, regroup, get grounded, and of course, kiss all the boys and make them cry. So great to not have to explain SEO or that I speak English. So funny to not be the only one with my pockets stuffed full of napkins. So sad not enough time for ramens this trip. And of course, so proud to have played a very very small part in connecting the conference with amazing civil rights icon Grace Lee Boggs.  OH! And I got to meet @jozjozjoz's hunky cousin Daniel Liu http://www.8asians.com/2009/08/25/more-of-my-cousin-daniel-liu-or-maybe-a-little-too-much/ (which was actually a little awkward because I had already seen too much of him before, lol...)

I have already registered for next year, how about you? http://v3con.com/registration/

Kiss the boys and make them cry! Michael Hornbuckle of 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors (18mmw.com).

Hanging out with my friends Eric Ignacio (http://eignaciofilms.com), Michael Hornbuckle (18MMW.com), Nelson Wong (AARising.com), and Patrick Epino (NationalFilmSociety.com) (who didn't cry this time, maybe I distracted him with my "Awesome Asian Bad Girl T-shirt.")

Stuffing my pockets full of napkins at the kogibbq.com korean taco truck, lol. 

Sitting in the same spots as last year, we are such dorks (but it's not the same without @emilamok).

Working our most amazing #v3activism panel with Phil Yu (angryasianman.com), Lisa Lee (ThickDumplingSkin.com), Jenn Pae (18millionrising.org), Tanzila Ahmed (tazzystar.blogspot.com and beatsforbangladesh.org), and inexplicably, me.

We are so angry! Phil Yu of AngryAsianMan.com

We are even more angry! @Angry+1 you might even say! Joanna Lee.

Of course, must take a photograph with Hochie Tsai of TaiwaneseAmerican.org or it never happened.

And the great search for ramens with Quincy Surasmith of Asian Americans Advancing Justice APALC and Tuesday Night Project.

Here's most of our amazing #v3activism panel, plus a few friends (Thanks Hochie Tsai for photo).

But mostly I'm just glad to be myself and among friends in the sunshine (Nelson Wong, Koji Sakai, Gil Asakawa, Eric Ignacio, Tamiko Wong.) (Thanks Eric Ignacio for photo.)

My whole life changed after Banana 2, and I keep finding myself every year at V3con. Thanks to @jozjozjoz, @hfurhman, and all the good folks at V3con and AAJA-LA for putting this together and creating this space in which we can be authentic and Asian American and writers (and digital media mavens).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

InCultureParent | Crime Without Punishment: Why the Death of Vincent Chin Resonates Today

Revisiting this article on the Vincent Chin case from 2011 in InCultureParent.com http://www.incultureparent.com/2011/05/5009/
More information at RememberingVincentChin.com.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Crime Without Punishment: Why the Death of Vincent Chin Resonates Today


vincent chin

Before I came to Michigan for graduate school, the only thing I knew about Michigan was that it was where Vincent Chin was killed. My parents’ Japanese-American neighbors warned me to sell my father’s Toyota 4Runner and buy a Ford Bronco. I asked about safety as much as I did about academics before I decided to come.

This year marks the 29th anniversary of the baseball bat beating that caused the death of Vincent Chin. Unfortunately, with the recession and rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, the case is even more relevant than ever.

Vincent Chin was a 27-year-old Chinese-American raised in Metro Detroit. A week before his wedding, June 19, 1982, he went to the Fancy Pants strip club in Highland Park with a few buddies for his bachelor’s party. There, they encountered two autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, who, like many at the time, blamed the Japanese for the U.S. auto industry’s troubles. Even though Chin was not Japanese and worked in the auto industry himself as a draftsman, Ebens was heard saying, “It’s because of you little m—f—s that we’re out of work,” as well as other anti-Asian racial epithets.

The men were thrown out of the bar, and the fight continued in the parking lot and into the night. Ebens and Nitz searched for Chin and his friends, and upon finding them, Nitz held Chin in a bear hug while Ebens struck Chin’s head four times with a baseball bat, cracking his skull. Vincent Chin died four days later. His wedding guests attended his funeral instead.

On March 18, 1983, Judge Charles Kaufman sentenced Ebens and Nitz to three years’ probation and a $3,000 fine, saying, “These aren’t the kind of men you send to jail. You fit the punishment to the criminal, not the crime.” This was followed by a federal civil rights trial and a civil suit. To this day, neither Ebens nor Nitz has spent a single day in jail.

Such a light sentence for such a vicious crime was a shocking wake-up call for Asian-Americans of all ethnicities who suddenly realized the brutal consequences of the “all Asians look alike” stereotype and anti-Asian slurs. Coming to America, working hard, and keeping your head down per the model minority stereotype was not enough. This could have happened to anyone.

In 2009, the State Bar of Michigan designated the Vincent Chin case as the 34th Michigan Legal Milestone. This case is credited with giving birth to the Asian-American civil rights movement and the victims rights movement. Many legal developments came out of this case that benefit all of us, including the practice of prosecutors attending sentencing hearings, victims and their families making a victim’s impact statement at sentencing, mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, understanding the sensitive nature of changing venues, the importance of the media, and the formation of Asian-American civil rights organizations.

Outgoing Mayor of Ferndale, Michigan, Craig Covey, who also installed an accompanying Vincent Chin memorial plaque by the City of Ferndale, recognized the struggles for equality throughout American history by “almost every group that has made this place home,” including Native Americans, African Americans, Chinese Americans, Irish Americans, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, gays and lesbians. He continued:

“Equal justice in America is not a given. It is not a guarantee… rather… it is a constant struggle. It takes vigilance and effort and energy. We must always strive toward fair and equal justice, knowing that it may never be fully achieved.”
© 2011 – 2013, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang. All rights reserved.

InCultureParent | Crime Without Punishment: Why the Death of Vincent Chin Resonates Today

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Cover art for Beats for Bangladesh.

Check out and support this great project put together by my friend Tanzila Ahmed:



LOS ANGELES - Over 30 South Asian American musicians have come together to collaborate on Beats for Bangladesh: A Benefit Album in Solidarity with the Garment Workers of Rana Plaza. A unique partnership between the music blog Mishthi Music (www.mishthi.tumblr.com) and media production company Someplace in Brooklyn (www.someplaceinbrooklyn.com), the benefit album will donate 100% of the profits to the victims and family of the victims who died in the collapse of a garment factory in the suburbs of Bangladesh that claimed over 1,000 people, mostly women. 

On April 24th a nine-story garment factory in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed. It is estimated that over 6,000 people worked in the building and as of today, the death toll is at 1,129. Approximately 2,500 injured people were rescued from the building. Brands and companies producing their clothing in the building included Benetton, Wal-Mart, Gap, JCPenney, and H&M, among others. It is considered to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history, as well as the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history. 

The Beats for Bangladesh: A Benefit Album In Solidarity with the Garment Workers of Rana Plaza is a benefit album that brings together South Asian artists from across the country and beyond with the goal of raising awareness about the working conditions that Bangladeshi workers continue to endure and to raise funds to support workers. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the album, which will be released on June 18, 2013 for a donation of $15 or more as a digital download at www.BeatsForBangladesh.org, will go to the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Rights through the International Labor Rights Forum (www.ilrf.org), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. All album purchases will be considered a tax-deductible donation. 

The album includes an eclectic mix of twenty-six songs ranging from hip hop to electronic to indie-rock and features artists such as 8-piece bhangra brass band Red Baraat, the renowned jazz ensemble Vijay Iyer Trio, hip-hop rapper Chee Malabar, and many more. Executive produced by seasoned Brooklyn Shanti, the album’s exclusive title track features vocals of Mandeep Sethi, M.C. K-Swift and Sierra Carrera. Other artists contributing to the album include: Ami Dang, Bill Ding, DJ Drrrty Poonjabi, Elephant w/ Guns, EVILARTFORM, Fair & Kind, Genius Mistake, Ko the Timeless, lal, Nita Chawla, Ras Ceylon, Saraswathi Jones, Second Sky, Senica Da Misfit, Shahid Buttar, Slant, Smithfield Bargain, Tabla Pusher, The Fourth Stream, The Kominas and Thuggee Cult.

“Western corporations are greedily chasing to make the maximum profit on the backs of Bangladeshi female garment workers. The collapse of Rana Plaza is corruption reaching a tipping point,” said Bangladeshi American activist and Mishthi Music writer Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed. “I wanted to create Beats for Bangladesh to keep labor rights issues in Bangladesh highlighted in the media and to create a funding bridge between the South Asian diaspora community to the women and children on the ground in Bangladesh who are in desperate need for help.” 

In a truly grassroots community effort, the benefit organizers hosted two fundraising events in Los Angeles and New York, with two more slated for Boston and San Francisco by July. Community organizations co-sponsoring the album include: 18 Million Rising, Adhikaar for Human Rights, Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Food Chain Workers Alliance, Friends of South Asia, International Labor Relief Forum, South Asian Americans Leading Together, South Asian Bar Association - Southern California, South Asian Bar Association of Southern California Public Interest Foundation, and South Asians for Justice Los Angeles.

“We are not asking for people to boycott products made in Bangladesh,” says Executive Producer and co-curator, Brooklyn Shanti, of Someplace Called Brooklyn. “If this album can get people to check the labels on their clothing and think twice about how their decisions as consumers impact people around the world, then we have met one of our goals.” 

The album The Beats for Bangladesh: A Benefit Album In Solidarity with the Garment Workers of Rana Plaza is scheduled to be released on June 18, 2013 and will be a digital download available on Bandcamp. 

For more information on the album, please visit http://www.BeatsForBangladesh.org or www.facebook.com/BeatsForBangladesh.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Schedule | V3 Digital Media Conference presented by AAJA-LA

Check out the awesome cool #v3activism panel at 3:00 at V3con: V3 Digital Media Conference presented by AAJA-LA http://v3con.com/schedule/

Engaging the AAPI Community in Online Activism  JANM Education Center Classroom 2Click to Close

HASHTAG: #V3activism
Asian Americans are a growing power, but what makes a successful campaign tick? How can activists energize Asian Americans to take action on their issues? Hear from AAPI leaders who have harnessed the power of the Internet.

  • Taz Ahmed, @tazzystar
  • Lisa Lee,  @rrrlisarrr
  • Jennifer Pae, @jennpae
  • Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, @fkwang
  • Phil Yu, @angryasianman
  • - See more at: http://v3con.com/schedule/#sthash.AuE9chbw.dpuf

    Schedule | V3 Digital Media Conference presented by AAJA-LA

    Saturday, June 8, 2013

    Who wants to go to V3con: V3 Digital Media Conference presented by AAJA-LA with Frances Kai-Hwa Wang?

    I am giving away one registration to V3con: V3 Digital Media Conference presented by AAJA-LA!

    1. Follow @fkwang on Twitter

    2. Tweet what the Vincent Chin case means to you. Tag @fkwang and #vchin

    3. Go to RememberingVincentChin.com and Comment what the Vincent Chin case means to you. (http://www.rememberingvincentchin.com/2013/06/who-wants-to-go-with-frances-kai-hwa.html) 

    I'll choose a winner on Tuesday, June 11, so don't delay!

    Looking forward to meeting you in LA, where I will be speaking on an amazing activism panel "Engaging the AAPI Community in Online Activism," with Angry Asian Man Phil Yu, APALC's Taz Ahmed, Thick Dumpling Skin's Lisa Lee, and JennReappropriate and 18 Million Rising's Jennifer Pae. 

    More info about the conference at v3con.com!

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Beyond Bollywood - Smithsonian Indian American Heritage Project

    So excited! Jyoti Omi Chowdhury and I (with help from Jean Piguet and Lauren Peng) just finished a multimedia art installation called "Dreams of the Diaspora," for the Smithsonian's Indian American Heritage Project's Beyond Bollywood exhibit's online gallery, set to open December 2013.

    We have been keeping this project somewhat quiet, but now that it is completed,

    The Smithsonian!!!

    AND they just wrote to ask if we would mind if they explored collaborations with other galleries around the country to show this collection in a separate exhibition on this theme. WOW!

    Beyond Excited does not even begin to capture it. 

    Thanks so much to the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Smithsonian Indian American Heritage Project for this opportunity! More info coming!

    Beyond Bollywood - Smithsonian Indian American Heritage Project

    Tuesday, June 4, 2013

    Panax Ginseng: The Other Wonders At Hawai’i | Lantern Review Blog

    Found this review/article by Henry Leung in Lantern Review of my second chapbook , "Where the Lava Meets the Sea." Don't know exactly what he's saying, but I checked with a literature professor who assures me it's mostly good and he liked my book best of the three. LOL academicese...

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    A Smithsonian Installment : The Dreams of the Diaspora

    Check out my friend Jyoti Omi Chowdhury's new blog and website at omigraphy.com:
    I will be doing an installation with Frances Kai-Hwa Wang of the New America Media’s Ethnoblog, and HuffPost Live, for the Smithsonian at the National Museum of National History in December 2013. The installment will go online during that time. You can keep track of it by visiting the Smithsonian Website. Here is a synopsis of the installment
    A Smithsonian Installment : The Dreams of the Diaspora

    Saturday, June 1, 2013

    UM Confucius Institute: Peony Blossoms and Pure Melodies

    from the University of Michigan Confucius Institute this Wednesday:

    Peony Blossoms and Pure Melodies

    Featuring CIUM singers   
    An Evening of Chinese Flower Songs in the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden  
     ~Free and Open to the Public~

    6 pm, Wednesday, June 5, 2013
    Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden
    1610 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor
    All are invited to enjoy a free concert of Chinese vocal music amid the peonies in the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden. The CIUM Singers and Canton Philharmonic Choir, led by Liyan Sun, perform a selection of popular Chinese folk songs including "Blooming Peony" 盛开的牡丹, "Jasmine Flower" 茉莉花, "Butterflies in Love" 梁山伯与祝英台 and more. A rare opportunity to hear live music in the Arb's peony garden.

    CIUM singers consist of U-M students, faculty, researchers, and local residents. They have been trained by Ms. Liyan Sun,
    a vocalist educated at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. 

    This special concert is is co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute at U-M and the U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.    

    Frances' books raffled off at API Circle Celebration

    Tamiko Wong with familiar-looking Raffle Prizes at the API Circle Celebration!

    Thanks for this photograph, Eric Ignacio!

    API Circle Celebration