The above was the title of a piece that I wrote, published in The Free Press 14 years ago, in October 2007, following the massacre of monks in the streets of Rangoon by the military regime. Nothing has changed. Today, in early April, over 500 protestors have been killed by the new dictator, who took over February 1. It is heartbreaking to be retired in Maine and observing, yet again, decade after decade, the cruelty in that land.
I have had a special relationship with Burma for close to 60 years and it grieves me.
I came to this land, the land of indigenous Native Hawaiians, from the Philippines. Today I want to speak to my fellow immigrants and fellow AAPIs: to the essential workers on the front line, to the service members who wear our flag, to the parents with big dreams for their children. No matter where we came from, AAPIs and immigrants belong in our country’s long fight for justice. We belong in the America we are building together.
Amefil “Amy” Agbayani
“Legacy and Recommitment to Advocacy, Equality, Justice for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and All Racial Groups” by Doris Ching (EWC/EWCA International Conference, 2014) and Amefil “Amy” Agbayani (Institute for Student Exchange, PhD in Political Science 1964-1969), is based on a survey of national community and higher education Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders. The article focuses on five current challenges: 2020 Census, COVID-19, immigration, elections, racism and discrimination. The diverse AAPI community is the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States (6%). An internally strong and united AAPI, coupled with external partnerships with all racial/ethnic groups, can create a more powerful force for equity and justice for all racial/ethnic groups than standing alone.
The analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, this month examined hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities. It revealed that while such crimes in 2020 decreased overall by 7 percent, those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent.
“Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Increased by Nearly 150% in 2020, Mostly in N.Y. and L.A., New Report Says”, NBC News, March 9, 2021
Alumni in and from Myanmar have reached out and we share their voices
Myanmar civilians are in a war zone with security forces. People are killed without hesitation. Soldiers shoot into apartments, capture civilians and rob at shops. Their actions are not limited to the protestors, but indiscriminately to civilians, including kids, mothers, and elderly people. Ambulances are shot. Journalists and lawyers are beaten, kidnapped at night, or seized at the scene. Children are shot with catapults and guns even while staying in. Young students, men, and women are shot in the head, neck, and abdomen daily. Sound bombs, gunshots noises, and tear gases are everywhere. Nothing makes sense. It is as if we are trapped in the nightmare of a barbari This is all happening in villages, towns, and the big cities of Myanmar. Imagine a life where you are aware that you or your beloved ones can die any day. Imagine being afraid to walk outside or drive on the road, because you might be shot on the spot, stopped at any moment, captured or beaten up with no apparent reason. (A woman was shot randomly on purpose while she was walking by the road.) Imagine a life where you need to secretly guard your ward in groups at night. You can’t even guard publicly because they will shoot if they see you. Seeking justice is out of the question even when you get killed in plain sight.
EWC Alumni Feature of the Week! @Rafid Shidqi and @Nesha Ichida. Thresher Shark Indonesia has been working alongside thresher shark fishermen, and all Alor stakeholders to put an end to targeted endangered thresher sharks in two small and remote fishing villages. Their engagement since 2018 has made them gain trust from community members, village elders, indigenous leaders as well as the government. Thresher shark fishermen have been asking for ways to increase their skills and for facilities to transition into sustainable yellowfin tuna fisheries, which are thriving in the region. Rafid and Nesha are asking EWC Alumni to consider donating to help these fishermen get out of poverty and prevent the thresher sharks from going extinct. Together with other EWC alumni we can achieve this conservation outcome by 2022!
When you’re a member of the EWC “family” the world opens up and you have friends throughout the region — whether in capital cities or in remote villages. Wherever I traveled, EWC alumni extended generous hospitality and provided much appreciated guidance. When I sprained my ankle on one trip alumni showed up at my hotel with walking sticks and canes. I still have them. They’re a reminder of the bond of friendship we share. I’m very grateful to the alumni for their kindness and for their commitment to continuing the East-West Center’s mission. Being involved with EWC/EWCA International Conferences was always a rewarding highlight. I’ve worked on ten international alumni conferences and each of them hold a special memory for me. Joining hands and singing Aloha Oe at the close of each conference ends with the phrase, “until we meet again” . . . I look forward to “meeting again” with each of you in the future.
Working with alumni across the region and U.S. was one of the most rewarding and important highlights of my long career at the East-West Center. Our alumni are the Center’s most valuable and important legacy.
East-West Center Association
Chapter Development Committee, Quarterly Reports
2020 1st Quarter Chapter Reports (January to March)
Editor: Dr. Jessica A. Sheetz-Nguyen
Vice President for Chapter Development