Vimalin Rujivacharakul, Asian American Anti-racism UDARI Small Grants Sub-committee Update

Posted on August 4, 2021 at: 11:00 am

UDARI Grant Report: Asian American Subcommittee
Fighting for All: Legacies of Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs

The Asian American subcommittee applied and received a grant in the amount of $1000 from
UDARI to support our project Fighting for All: Legacies of Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs.
The project consisted of two major weeklong events, each comprising a public film screening, a
structured panel of discussion, structured questions from graduate students and undergraduate
students, and finally a Q&A period open to all participants. Both events are virtual. We had a
record of 237 registered participants for the first event, and 186 registered participants for the
second event. Panelists in the first event included the Kochiyama Family members (Audee,
Akemi, and Zulu) and renowned film producer Rea Tajiri. Grace Lee was the guest of honor for
the second event. Peter Feng and Madinah Wilson-Anton moderated both events. Participants
for structured Q&A sessions were: Angela Yu (undergraduate student, president of Asian &
Pacific Islander Student Association), Marissa McClenton (undergraduate student, vice
president of Black Student Union), Danni Statia (undergraduate student), Jessica Thelen
(graduate student, English), and Jennifer Semrau (faculty member, Women’s Caucus). Drs.
Michael Vaughan and KC. Morrison gave opening remarks at the beginning of each event.
The Asian American subcommittee also worked with UD’s Admissions Office to invite high
school teachers and students from Delaware and nearby states to participate in both events.
Additional funding (see below) allowed the subcommittee to acquire rights for participating
high schools to stream films about Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs for 14 days. We also
developed teaching materials and circulated them to participating high schools in advance of
the events.
For this project, the Asian American Antiracism subcommittee received a grant from UDARI in
the amount of $1000. We subsequently raised additional funds from the Center for Black
Culture ($500), Student Diversity and Inclusion ($1000), the Center for Global Studies ($200),
the Department of History ($100), the Department of Art Conservation ($200), the Department
of Art History ($200), the Department of English ($200), and the Japanese Studies Program
($100). UD’s Office of Equity, Equality, and Diversity generously financed all participants’
background check fees. UD Admissions kindly covered the costs of all PR and service to
circulate materials to all high schools in Delaware and nearby states.

Respectfully submitted,
UDARI- Asian American Subcommittee

Grace Lee Boggs: Fighting for All of US

Posted on May 25, 2021 at: 1:17 pm

Contributing Reporter/UD Review

Grace Lee Boggs was a social activist who played a vital role during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. She is one of the most famous Asian Americans in United States history who stood alongside hundreds of other activists to ensure equality and justice for all.

“When we thought about the history of political activism and solidarity, we immediately thought of this woman, who spent decades living and fighting for all of us,” Peter Feng, associate professor of English at the University of Delaware, said.

On May 5, the University of Delaware’s Anti-Racism Initiative (UDARI) presented a webinar entitled, “Legacy of Grace Lee Boggs.” Filmmaker Grace Lee of “American Revolutionary: Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” was the invited panelist. The webinar was co-moderated by Peter Feng and Delaware House of Representatives member Madinah Wilson-Anton, D-Newark. Members from the university community, including graduate and undergraduate students, participated in the structured Q&A. All participants had the opportunity to engage in an hour-long conversation about the civil rights movement, the influence Boggs has had and how the films were created.

Read More…

Fighting for All: Thank you & Acknowlegement

Posted on May 24, 2021 at: 11:29 am

With your support, our project Fighting for All: Cross-racial Anti-racism had a great start with the events on April 28 and May 5 on legacies of Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs.  The Review recently published an article on the project.  

We thank first and foremost the UDARI leadership (Alison Parker, KC Morrison, and Lynnette Overby) whose grant enabled us to take on this challenging yet rewarding task, and we thank Doug Tobias and Debbie Hartnett who oversee and manage our grant.

With heartfelt gratitude, we thank the OEI Chief Officer Fatimah Conley, Vice Provost Vaughan, Kasandra Moye, and Adam Foley, Stefanie Chang, Dana Perry, Alice Moore for their unwavering support. Their guidance and assistance are indispensable.

We are most grateful to Vice President Morrison, Director Doug Zander, and the Admissions-Event & Communication team (Adam Shutz, John Cogan, and Marianne Nagengast), for helping us reach out to all high schools in Delaware, in addition to dozens more in nearby states.  Your support is essential to our hope for cross-racial unity in future Delaware. Thank you!

We thank UD’s Morris Library and Meghann Matwichuk for acquiring perpetual rights to stream Yuri Kochiyama: Passion of Justice and American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. 

We thank Rea Tajiri, Grace Lee, Gooddocs, and Women Make Movies for allowing us to distribute their films with 14-day streaming rights to participating high schools and youth groups in Delaware.

We thank all UD panelists: Madinah Wilson-Anton (co-moderator of both events with Peter Feng), Jennifer Semrau, Marissa McClenton, Angela Yu, Danni Statia. We thank the Women’s Caucus for sending their board member to participate. 

We are grateful to Chris Martin and UD-Event for overseeing the webinars.

We are grateful to both Tara Kee and the Biden Institute administrators, who shared with us their experiences and logistics in handling major public events.  

Most importantly, we thank our sponsors: The OEI, Morris Library, Student Diversity and Inclusion, Center for Black Culture, Center for Global Studies, Departments of Art Conservation, Art History, English, History, and Japanese Studies Program.  We also thank Dean Pelesko and the College of Arts and Sciences for generously considering assisting us with the cost of the POM process. 

Thank you.

Sincerely and with appreciation,

UDARI-Asian American subcommittee

Vigil for Victims of Atlanta Shootings and Anti-Asian Violence.

Posted on March 26, 2021 at: 4:32 pm

Vigil for this Sunday, 7pm at Grace Church in Wilmington, DE. Please help us to spread to the word at UD. Thank you.

Please join us to remember the victims of the Atlanta shootings and unite against acts of racial/sexual/gender violence towards Asians/Asian American Women and AAPI communities. We are a few in DE, but I believe our experiences matter, not only in our injury, but also in our commitment to the coalitional work of justice and liberation.

#StopAsianHate Vigil

March 26th is StopAsianHate Day

Posted on at: 3:07 pm

Racism and the Invisible Asian Americans

Eight people, six of them Asian women, were killed in Atlanta on March 16. In the aftermath of the slaughter, many competing explanations have focused on the shooter’s motivation.  A Cherokee County sheriff department spokesman’s careless words seemed to express sympathy with the shooter and manifested anti-Asian racism. Increasingly, discussions have turned toward the shooter’s sexual temptation and the association of spa businesses with sex work, serving to transfer the blame unfairly to the women and their hypersexualized Asian bodies.

The growing awareness of violent assaults on Asian Americans over the last year has shaped our understanding of the killings in Atlanta in a certain direction.  Americans are still struggling to comprehend and foster meaningful dialogue about racism, sexism, xenophobia, and classism.  Now, living in 2021, Americans of all colors and races still lack the vocabulary to talk seriously about violence against Asian American women who continue to be framed in hypersexualized terms. The historical legacy of the U.S. wars in Asia coexists alongside records of sexist and racist restrictions on Asian immigration. Racism, sexism, xenophobia, and classism cannot be separated.

The Asian American Anti-Racism Initiative is a group of faculty, students, and administrators at the University of Delaware working to offer a forum to understand the contributions of Asian Americans to the public discourse around race.  We denounce the killings in Georgia and we are dismayed by the coverage of the mainstream American media.

We will act. We will counter all forms of stereotype and typecasting.  We will reframe the pre-established views.  And we will combat systemic racism, sexism, classism, and xenophobia.

As the first step to create a more inclusive community, on Wednesday April 28 and Wednesday May 5, we invite members of the UD community to join us for #FightingforAllofUS: film streaming and conversations about Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs, two Asian American women who challenged all of us to create a more just and equitable society. Kochiyama and Boggs fought for women, men, children, Asian, Black, Latinx, and Native Americans. They worked across class and social groups, combatted systematic racism, and fought for equality and equity.  Their passion and revolutionary activism cut across all racial thresholds and barriers.  They stood tall in history, side by side with others in the Civil Rights Movement.  And we invite all of you to join and discuss how acts of antiracism must first begin with unity that span across racial boundaries and socioeconomic backgrounds.