when people use the word ‘senpai’ and are not a japanese schoolgirl im just like

friends who are following me for asian american things.

please remember that our freedoms are all tied to each other’s.  this is not solidarity work alone, this is liberation-building.

I’ve had 2 people on Facebook share my last post and comment that I’m writing about “why justice is important to Asian Americans” and I’m not sure why.  Perhaps because the one line about the sheriff candidate?

ferguson.

As Ferguson, Missouri passes 2AM it is midnight in Los Angeles. As we brush our teeth and change into pajamas, check our e-mails and consider outfits for the next day my mind is locked in thought. Images of tear gas canisters blur into minute by minute reports of police in armor and wounded protestors.


We often hypothesize what we would do if we were alive during pivotal moments in history. If we were alive during the WWII concentration camp era surely we would raise our voices. If we were alive during the Civil Rights Movement, surely we would raise our fists.


Yet as my mind blurs while attempting to find 140 characters that represent connections and disconnections I don’t know what to do. I can tweet all I want. I can Tumblr all I want. But what action can I take to lend energy to this town many of us had never heard of until this past weekend?


For someone whose life is based in community-based liberation work, this leaves me at an end.


And then comes the flood of doubt. I wonder whether it even makes sense for me to speak up knowing so little about the town. I anticipate the “well, but…” comments that will undoubtedly materialize. My mind floats towards questions of ego, whether I need to do something just to do something or whether this is coming out of genuine understanding.
But as those come and go I am left with the facts. 18 year old Michael Brown, walking down the street, was ordered onto the sidewalk by an officer and then shot at. After hiding behind a car, he emerged with his hands up and was, without warning, shot and killed by the police officer. This came less than a month after Eric Garner was strangled to death by a police officer in New York. This is while Marissa Alexander potentially faces 60 years in jail for firing a warning shot in the ceiling to ward off an abusive husband. Had she shot AT him, she would have been covered under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, the same law that let George Zimmerman walk free after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin just as officer Johannes Mehserle was allowed to walk free after he shot and killed unarmed and face-down Oscar Grant on a BART platform in Oakland.


So I am left knowing that this is not the time to feel powerless, nor is it the time to make excuses for non-action. I will do what I can to help signal boost the voices of Black folks who have been and are rising up. I will work to educate myself and in turn my community, knowing that in our great city of Los Angeles, the Asian American community largely chose to financially support a sheriff candidate this year who has a White supremacist tattoo. I will continue to support the transformative work of organizations like End Sheriff Violence In L.A. Jails. I will work to change the way I speak of prisons, policing, militarization, and racism, understanding that orange may be the new black but with the privatization of jails that the goal is to not let it be the fashion.


Ferguson, Missouri is doing what they can. The people of the city are grieving through sadness and uprising. (Yes, there is vandalism coupled with that but if you are the sort of person who focuses on the vandalism and doesn’t look at the ideology behind the initial outburst then I hope you have a moment to re-evaluate your life.) We will continue signal boosting reports from the city and share images until our hearts can take no more.


And we will continue dialogue. The government and the police have much to answer for, but if we must start somewhere I hope we can start with ourselves as bridges to larger conversation.