Asians 4 Black Lives

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Asians 4 Black Lives are a diverse group of Asian voices coming from the Philippines, Vietnam, India, China, Pakistan, Korea, Burma, Japan, and other nations, based in the Bay Area. We are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, educators and organizers, students and teachers, artists and techies, dancers and workers, youth and elders. We are immigrant and U.S. born, we are queer and we are straight, we are many genders, we are families.

Asians 4 Black Lives began in Oakland, CA in late 2014 after the non-indictment of the police officer who killed Eric Garner, Daniel Pantaleo. It began as a response to a call to action from Black Lives Matter organizations in the Bay Area (including the The BlackOUT Collective, Black Brunch organizers, Onyx Organizing Committee, and more) and the larger Black Lives Matter movement, to put forward these principles and protocols as a model for why and how we, as diverse Asian communities around the country and the world, can show up in solidarity with Black people in this struggle.[1]

Members and supporters

#Asians4BlackLives: Notes from the Ground

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  1. Asians4BlackLives: Notes from the Ground Amerasia Journal 2019 Vol 46 No 2

May Fu, Simmy Makhijani, Anh-Thu Pham, Meejin Richart, Joanne Tien & Diane Wong.

The editorial collective wishes to acknowledge the following people for their contributions to this article: Anita de Asis, Cynthia Fong, Cat Fung, Jasmin Hoo, Kubo Ikino, Fei Mok, Juliana Hu Pegues, Caitlin Peng, Mark Tseng-Putterman, Sammie Ablaza Wills, and Eunha Jeong Wood.

Woking Ed Lee

According to Alvina Wong and Marie Choi, of Asians 4 Black Lives in January 2016 Asians 4 Black Lives, a Bay Area group of Asian community organizers, held a community intervention in front of Ed Lee’s house to demand that he stand with the Black Lives Matter Movement. At 6 a.m., activists woke the mayor with drums and gongs. Five activists chained themselves to a table in front of his house, calling on him to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s radical legacy by coming to the table to join them in standing with Black Lives Matter, by terminating Police Chief Suhr and all officers involved in the murders of Mario Woods, Amilcar Lopez and Alex Nieto.

“From gentrification to police terrorism, there is a war on Black lives happening in SF and across the nation,” said Jasmin Hoo, Asians 4 Black Lives activist and SF resident. “As Asian Americans, we refuse to be complicit in the violence that Lee’s decisions have committed against our Black siblings. We are ashamed that the first Asian American mayor of SF is acting as a general in this war.”

“Piecemeal reforms – while the officers responsible for these unjust killings are still on payroll – are steps in the wrong direction. We are here today to demand Lee demonstrate that Black Lives Matter by acting on the community’s demands,” said Simmy Makhijani, Asians 4 Black Lives member and longtime SF resident. “As mayor of SF, it is Lee’s job to serve his constituents and ensure the safety of all SF communities by holding the police force accountable.”

Non-Black people of color have been bold and active allies of the Black Lives Matter Movement for over a year, first prominently involved on Dec. 15, 2014, in Shutdown OPD, when Asians 4 Black Lives chained themselves to one of the Oakland Police headquarters entrances for hours. Spreading these alliances nationwide will vastly enhance the chances for winning real justice.

“Ed Lee’s work as a civil rights lawyer, serving low-income communities of color, launched his political career. However, in his first term as mayor, he has turned his back on his constituents,” said Mabel Tsang of Asians 4 Black Lives. “We are here today to remind Lee of his history of activism. We invite him to join the people once again by terminating Chief Suhr and working towards a city that is equitable and livable for all.”[2]

APA Heritage Month District 1

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Eric Mar, former SF Supervisor & Board of Education member is with Mabel Tsang and Eric Mar at San Francisco City Hall.

May 5, 2015 · San Francisco, CA ·

I am proud to honor the #Asian4BlackLives movement as our APA Heritage Month District 1 honoree in fighting for civil rights, social justice, and showing pan-ethnic solidarity with our Asian, Black and Brown brothers and sisters! Thank you Mr. Vincent Wu, Jessy Zapanta, and Mabel Tsang for coming out to represent Asians 4 Black Lives.

Lunar New Year event

March 7, 2015 – As hundreds of thousands gathered in San Francisco’s Chinatown to celebrate the Lunar New Year, #Asians4BlackLives used large-scale artwork and light projections to share their wishes for safety, justice, and resilience for Black communities.

To maintain the Chinese tradition of hanging red scrolls and handing out red envelopes to extend blessings, #Asians4BlackLives members lined the parade route with 10-feet-tall lanterns decorated with red scrolls reading “Everyone benefits when we value black lives.” They handed out over 1000 red envelopes with blessings in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

“Lunar New Year celebrations are about setting the foundation for a prosperous year,” said Sydney Fang of #Asians4BlackLives. “Black communities nationwide have been standing up to state-sanctioned violence and fighting for their liberation. As Asian Americans, we have the power and responsibility to stand on the side of justice. We are passing out red envelopes here to share our wishes for safety, justice, and resilience of Black communities, so that all communities can prosper.”

Another Chinese New Year tradition is that of repaying debts to start the new year on a positive note. #Asians4BlackLives recognizes the debts owed to their ancestors who have sacrificed for them and protected them, as well as the debts they owe to Black movement activists and leaders. “Many of the rights that we enjoy as Asian Americans were fought for and won by Black liberation movements, including voting rights protections, desegregation in schools, and an end to Asian immigration bans. We stand on the shoulders of Black organizers who have fought against racial inequality and institutional oppression. Their organizing has benefited Asian American communities in America. And it is our duty to honor and recognize it. Paying this debt means continuing to fight for Black lives because our struggles are connected,” said Sydney.

“Often times, Black and Asian communities are pitted against each other. Asians are seen as the “Model Minority.” We are here to say that we are not a wedge, and we are not each other’s enemies. This is why it is important for Black and Asian communities to stand together during this time,” said Navina Khanna of the activist group.

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar also demonstrated support for the actions during the Parade by wearing a “#BlackLivesMatter” t-shirt.

Asians 4 Black Lives is calling on other Asian Americans to join the struggle in solidarity with Black lives. “We need our communities to join us in challenging anti-black racism by talking with your family and co-workers or supporting organized direct actions to call for an end to the war on Black people,” said Navina Khanna. “Our communities’ liberation depends on the liberation of Black people. As we wrap up the Lunar New Year celebrations and welcome the year of the Ram, we will make this the year that we stomp on injustice”[3]

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