Hurricane Could Hit New Orleans on 7th Anniversary of Katrina

Hurricane Could Hit New Orleans on 7th Anniversary of Katrina

The National Weather Service is forecasting Tropical Storm Issac will hit the New Orleans area as a Category 1 hurricane exactly seven years to the day after Katrina.

The Times-Picayune has more details: Tropical Storm Isaac’s forecast path shifted slightly west, but remains draped across the New Orleans area in the National Hurricane Center’s 4 a.m. forecast. But forecasters now say Isaac is likely to grow only to strong Category 1 strength, with top winds of 90 mph, when its center crosses the mouth of the Mississippi River at about 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Isaac pushed over Cuba on Saturday after going across Haiti’s southern peninsula, where it caused flooding and at least 19 deaths.

Brentin Mock Talks Voter Suppression on MSNBC’s ‘PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton’ Investigative Reporter Brentin Mock appeared on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton” as a part of Voting Rights Watch 2012, in partnership with the Nation. Sharpton discussed Brentin’s latest article, “How the Right’s Building a ‘Poll Watcher’ Network for November” on True the Vote’s rapidly growing influence in right-wing political circles.

Brentin: “Poll watching is not illegal. But we also know that ‘watching’ and ‘monitoring’ are not race-neutral verbs, especially with our country’s racial history. George Zimmerman was merely ‘watching’ and ‘monitoring’ the neighborhood, and following Trayvon Martin before that ended tragically… We can see how this kind of ‘watching’ and ‘monitoring’ can lead to completely unnecessary and completely avoidable confrontations.”

For more discussion see the live online chat hosted this week with reporters Brentin Mock and Aura Bogado, along with Nation reporter Ari Berman.

First Look: Oprah’s Balance Beam Routine with Gabby Douglas!

First Look: Oprah's Balance Beam Routine with Gabby Douglas!

Oprah Winfrey recently took a trip to Des Moines, Iowa to interview Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas for her show “Oprah’s Next Chapter” that will air this Sunday.

Watch the clip above as Douglas teaches Oprah a thing or two on the balance beam.

In the interview Douglas also opens up for the first time about being bullied in her hometown.

Oprah’s interview with Douglas will air Sunday, August 26, at 8:30/7:30c.

Federal Departments Will Research Children and Immigration Enforcement

On Monday I spoke about my Shattered Families investigation on a panel at the Center for American Progress. The panel aired live on C-Span 2 and can be viewed here.

I joined a several others on the panel, including Ajay Chaudry, (prepare for the longest title ever) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Chaudy announced that HHS recently issued a call for proposals for a national research project on the implications of immigration enforcement on children. The project will include analysis of children in foster care with deported parents and call for proposals cites the Shattered Families investigation.

Before Shattered Families was released, there was no data on the number of children in foster care with detained and deported parents. That’s largely because no government agency collects the data. The call for proposals is a small step toward changing that, though once the research grant is awarded, researchers will have more than a year to complete it, so we’re not likely to have any new information any time soon.

Monday’s panel also included Joanna Dreby, a sociologist who just completed a paper on the impacts of immigration enforcement on children and Miriam Yeung, director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

Black Hills Sacred Site Auction Cancelled

Black Hills Sacred Site Auction Cancelled

The auction scheduled for August 25, 2012, for the acreage known as Pe’Sla to the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation), has been cancelled, according to Brock Auction, Co., Inc. The sacred land been taken off the auction block, but the property is still publicly listed and the owner’s intent is not clear.

The owners are not commenting as to why the auction has been cancelled, according to the press relase.

“They are not giving us any reason whatsoever. My wife called the auction company and they would not offer any reason,” said Chase Iron Eyes, an attorney and founding writer of the Last Real Indians that has been working in the defense of Pe’ Sla, to IndianCountryToday.

“Nobody knows what to think, so we don’t know if this is good or bad. We just know it has been pulled off the auction block,” Iron Eyes said. “It’s good because there is no pressure of the auction - but it is bad because they are private sellers, they can sell to anyone they want to.

Alfred Walking Bull, communications specialist of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, tells Indian Country today he’s optimistic but also very cautious

“Right now we are all holding our breath. It is more of a sigh of relief because this puts an end to the auction, which is good, but on the other hand we are still very cautious because this could also mean there is a private sale going on. We are waiting until we get more information. The owners or the auction company has not given a comment.”

The announcement came as a petition on reached close to 40k signatures urging the owners not to sell the land.

The petition also points to an IndieGoGo fundraiser in hopes of raising $1 million to help the Sioux Nation buy as much of land as possible.

George Zimmerman Judge Lets Trayvon Martin Murder Suspect Travel to Meet Lawyers

Last month, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester agreed to let George Zimmerman out of the Seminole County Jail, provided he post $1 million in bail, wear a satellite tracking device, check in with law enforcement several times a week and stay within the county’s confines.

But on Friday morning Lester granted Zimmerman permission to leave the county and travel to neighboring Orange County to meet with lawyers.

The judge also denied the state’s request to allow Zimmerman’s medical records to become public.

Orlando Sentinel has more details on the medical records request:

Lester ruled in favor of Zimmerman, at least partially, on another matter today: He won’t allow the defendant’s medical records to become public.

He said he would review them in private then later listen to lawyers argue about them in a closed court session.

O’Mara had asked the judge to quash a state subpoena for Zimmerman’s medical records from an Altamonte Springs doctor’s office.

O’Mara described the subpoena as overly broad, seeking irrelevant information and a breach of his client’s privacy even if they disclose only a “hang nail, a bunion.”

Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda argued in court paperwork that he needs to know more about injuries Zimmerman says he suffered the night he shot and killed Trayvon, who was walking through Zimmerman’s Sanford neighborhood and whom Zimmerman described to police as suspicious.

In related news, George Zimmerman’s Facebook page was shut down by his attorney, Mark O’Mara.

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the judge allowed Zimmerman to travel outside the state.

Actress Amy Poehler Stars in California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights PSA

Earlier this month the New York Times endorsed the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights that would to extend basic labor rights to domestic workers: the nannies, cooks, housekeepers and other caregivers who have long been excluded from many of the fundamental protections most other workers receive under federal labor law.

Now Actress Amy Poehler (SNL, Parks and Recreation) has taken the bill’s message and filmed a PSA in support of the passage of the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

“Many people ask me how I balance it all and the truth is it wouldn’t be possible for me to do all those things without the help I get in my home every day,” Poehler says in the video. “Every day, so many working women get to do what they do because there are wonderful people in their home, helping them. These workers, who inspire and influence our children, who take care of our loved ones and our homes, have been excluded from basic labor protections for generations. Please help us right that wrong and pass the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights this year. It’s time these workers were treated with dignity and respect.”

Poehler’s video is part of her collaboration with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Ai-jen Poo led group behind the bill (also known as AB 889) that is currently being considered by the Governor.

This isn’t the first time Poehler has publicly announced her support for domestic workers. At TIME Magazine’s TIME 100 gala last year Poehler took the time to thank the domestic workers in her life that allowed her to be there at that moment.

Poehler’s speech at the TIME 100 Gala. At the 1:30 mark she begins to thank her nannies.

I have thought very hard and long about what has influenced me over the past couple of years, and since I have been at this dinner in 2008, I have given birth to two boys and I’ve left Saturday Night Live and I started my own TV show, and it’s been a crazy couple of years, and I thought who besides Madam Secretary Clinton and Lorne Michaels have influenced me? And it was the women who helped me take care of my children. It is Jackie Johnson from Trinidad and it is Dawa Chodon from Tibet, who come to my house and help me raise my children. And for you working women who are out there tonight who get to do what you get to do because there are wonderful people who help you at home, I would like to take a moment to thank those people, some of whom are watching your children right now, while you’re at this event. Those are people who love your children as much as you do, and who inspire them and influence them. So on behalf of every sister and mother and person who stands in your kitchen and helps you love your child, I say thank you and I celebrate you tonight.

As Poehler says in the PSA, “it’s time that these workers were treated with dignity and respect.”

Visit to learn how you can take action to support the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.

Jennifer Lopez to Produce Show on Non-Traditional Families

Jennifer Lopez to Produce Show on Non-Traditional Families

ABC Family said Thursday they’ve ordered a comedy-drama pilot, titled “The Fosters,” about two women raising a “21st century,” multi-ethnic mix of foster and biological kids. Jennifer Lopez has been named as the executive producer.

Lopez will be an executive producer for the hour-long project. Nuyorican Productions, Inc., the company Lopez founded with Benny Medina is in charge of delivering the pilot, alongside Prodco.

“We are thrilled to be producing such an exceptional and timely project with ABC Family,” Simon Fields of Nuyorican told the Hollywood Reporter. “The show will entertain and provoke meaningful discussion about the contemporary definition of ‘family.’ “

“ABC Family continues to find and develop original programming that adds new dimension and depth to the storytelling we offer,” Kate Juergens, the ABC Family’s executive vp of original programming and development, told the Hollywood Reporter.

Report: Deportation Program Costs L.A. County More Than $26 Million

Report: Deportation Program Costs L.A. County More Than $26 Million

Los Angeles County is spending an estimated $26 million a year to hold undocumented immigrants under the Secure Communities program, according to a report released Thursday by Justice Strategies. Secure Communities, also known as S-Comm, checks the legal status of anyone booked into a local jail and transfers those who are undocumented to ICE custody.

Among the report’s findings: - Los Angeles County taxpayers spend over $26 million per year to detain immigrants for ICE. - Individuals in Los Angeles County custody who are subject to immigration detainers spend, on average, 20.6 extra days in county custody. - California taxpayers spend an estimated $65 million annually to detain immigrants for ICE. - Based on L.A. County averages the report concludes S-Comm is costing the state an estimated $65 million.

“We have known for some time that Secure Communities has undermined public safety and imperiled civil rights, and we now know it is also a massive unfunded mandate and an enormous burden on California taxpayers,” Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said in a statement. “It’s time we put this ineffective, dangerous, and expensive program to rest.”

The report estimates LA County is turns an estimated 20,000 immigrants over to ICE each year.

According to data records compiled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, 5,184 people who were booked into the jail system during the first three months of 2011 were handed over to ICE, the deportation enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security. Using these figures, it is possible to estimate that over a year’s time, 20,736 County Jail prisoners will be released into ICE custody.

The report used the L.A. County findings to estimate S-Comm is costing the state of California $65 million a year.

Los Angeles County and the State of California are spending tremendous amounts of tax-payer dollars to detain immigrants for civil immigration violations. A conservative estimate places this cost at $26 million annually for Los Angeles County alone. The cost to California taxpayers of holding people for ICE is estimated to be more than $65 million.

“We can begin to solve this problem in California by enacting the TRUST Act, which already passed the state senate,” said Newman. “The TRUST Act stands for the basic proposition that immigrants who pose no threat to public safety should not be jailed at California taxpayer expense. This report gives us a much better sense of how much money the TRUST Act will save California taxpayers.”

Eduardo Nájera Becomes First Mexican-Born Head Coach Under NBA umbrella

Eduardo Nájera Becomes First Mexican-Born Head Coach Under NBA umbrella

The Texas Legends have named Eduardo Najera the first Mexican-born head coach under the NBA umbrella, pending NBA approval. The 6 ft .8 in. former basketball player announced his retirement Wednesday after playing 12 seasons with six different teams.

Nájera will lead the NBA D-League’s Texas Legends.


Najera becomes the third head coach in Legends history, following former NBA Coach of the Year Del Harris, and basketball Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman.

Subject to NBA approval, Najera will also be a minority owner of the Legends, as well as hold a front office position with the Mavericks. Najera’s NBA career began with the Mavericks in 2000, after he became the first Mexican-born player to be drafted in NBA history.

“I have the utmost respect for Eddie,” commented Legends Owner Donnie Nelson. “The work ethic he exhibited as a player, and his knowledge of the NBA game will serve him well in his role as Head Coach of the Legends. Whether coaching a rookie, or an NBA veteran, Coach Najera will have valuable insight for all of our players. I am equally excited to begin working with Eddie in a front office capacity with the Mavericks as he learns the management side of the game. I am proud to be able to call Eddie an ownership partner with the Legends.”

Yahoo Sport’s Eric Freeman has more on the significance of the announcement:

Najera deserves this job on the merits — he built a relationship with Dallas over time and has proven a strong understanding of the sport over his long career. But the importance of his background cannot go unmentioned. While soccer continues to be the most popular sport in Mexico by a wide margin, Najera is extremely popular and has consistently ranked among the NBA’s top 10 endorsers worldwide. Having him at the helm of a team in Texas (and tied to the Mavericks) will be very good for business. He’s the kind of asset a franchise would like to keep around long term.

Of course, this isn’t just a business issue. Najera was already a legitimate trailblazer — he was the first Mexican selected in the draft and has easily had the most successful career of the three Mexican-born players in NBA history. Now that he’s a coach, he can create new paths for minorities in basketball.

Study Finds Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Among Fifth-Graders Across Country

A national health study of 5,119 randomly-selected 5th graders who attend public schools in Los Angeles, Birmingham and Houston found that black children and Latino children fared worse than white children in almost every category.

The study, led by Boston Children’s Hospital researchers and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, examined differences among black, Latino, and white children on 16 measures, including witnessing of violence, peer victimization, perpetration of aggression, seat-belt use, bike-helmet use, sub- stance use, discrimination, terrorism worries, vigorous exercise, obesity, and self-rated health status and psychological and physical quality of life.

The results:

There were significant differences between black children and white children for all 16 measures and between Latino children and white children for 12 of 16 measures, although adjusted analyses reduced many of these disparities. For example, in un- adjusted analysis, the rate of witnessing a threat or injury with a gun was higher among blacks (20%) and Latinos (11%) than among whites (5%), and the number of days per week on which the student performed vigorous exercise was lower among blacks (3.56 days) and Latinos (3.77 days) than among whites (4.33 days) (P<0.001 for all comparisons). After statistical adjustment, these differences were reduced by about half between blacks and whites and were eliminated between Latinos and whites. Household income, household highest education level, and the child’s school were the most substantial mediators of racial and ethnic disparities.

Adjustment for socioeconomic status and the child’s school substantially reduced most of these differences.

TAGS: health Youth

Oprah: ‘It Always Turns to Race. I Got All of the, ‘N-word, Go Back to Africa”

Oprah: 'It Always Turns to Race. I Got All of the, 'N-word, Go Back to Africa''

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Oprah Winfrey said she received a lot of hate mail and was called the n-word after she made a guest appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ ABC sitcom back in 1997.

Winfrey played a therapist in the episode where DeGeneres’ character Ellen Morgan revealed her sexual orientation for the first time.

“I did it because she asked me to do it and I wanted to support her,” Winfrey tells The Hollywood Reporter of her decision to be part of the “puppy episode,” as it was famously code-named, in this week’s cover story. “It didn’t occur to me that there would be a backlash.”

The Hollywood Reporter offers more details on the explosive backlash:

After the episode aired on April 30, 1997, Winfrey was on the receiving end of vitriol-fueled letters and phone calls. “It always turns to race. I got all of the, ‘N——-, go back to Africa. Who do you think you are?’” she says of the venom hurled her way, noting that she had never experienced anything like it before.

Winfrey was not alone. The episode, watched by a record 42 million people, drew fire from advertisers (Chrysler was among the brands to pull ads) and affiliates. Rev. Jerry Falwell called DeGeneres “Ellen DeGenerate”; religious groups staged protests; and execs involved were on received death threats that required security at their homes.

Although Winfrey was speaking specifically about the backlash after DeGeneres came out her use of the words “It always turns to race” may be more telling of the general hate mail she gets.

TAGS: N-Word Oprah

ICE Agents—With Anti-Immigrant Group’s Help—Sue DHS

ICE Agents--With Anti-Immigrant Group's Help--Sue DHS

Ten officers and agents for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) including ICE Agents Union President Chris Crane, today filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton challenging the Obama Administration’s deferred action Directive. The lawsuit alleges the deferred action program will prevent ICE officers, employees, and agents from “fulfilling their sworn oath to uphold the law and defend the US Constitution.”

“Both the Directive and memorandum command our agents to violate federal law and our oaths to uphold federal law. We are federal law enforcement officers who are being ordered to break the law. This directive puts ICE agents and officers in a horrible position,” Chris Crane, veteran ICE agent and President of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, said in a press release sent by anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA.

“The Directive is an extension of the DREAM Act, which was rejected by Congress, and aims to grant an amnesty to 1.7 million illegal aliens. It violates federal immigration laws that require certain aliens to be placed in removal proceedings, it violates the Administrative Procedure Act, and it encroaches upon the legislative powers of Congress as defined in Article I of the United States Constitution,” said Kris Kobach, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.

Kobach is the Secretary of State of Kansas and currently of counsel with the Immigration Law Reform Institute, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR.)

“FAIR is committed to ending immigration outright and creating conditions so unlivable that immigrants self deport,” Seth Wessler,’s investigative reporter wrote in 2010.

FAIR is also largely responsible for anti-immigrant laws in a majority of the states where legislation similar to SB1070 has been proposed or discussed. The leading lawmakers behind the bills are associated with FAIR’s legislative arm, a group called State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) that operates in at least 35 states.

Planned Parenthood President, Eva Longoria, Lilly Ledbetter to Speak at DNC

Planned Parenthood President, Eva Longoria, Lilly Ledbetter to Speak at DNC

The Democratic National Convention Committee unveiled a list of prominent women Wednesday that are scheduled to speak at the party’s upcoming convention, including Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, Lilly Ledbetter and actress Eva Longoria.

Among the other names announced on the all-female list announced today:

-Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
-Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth
-Sandra Fluke, Georgetown University Student
-Denise Juneau, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Montana
-Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America
-Caroline Kennedy
-Lilly Ledbetter
-U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, together with the women of the U.S. Senate
-Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Longoria, who is a national co-chair of Obama’s campaign and has helped Obama secure Latino voters, is perhaps the most recognized name on the list but Richards, the Planned Parenthood director is also expected to make headlines in light of Rep. Todd Akin’s comments on rape this week.

Fluke, the young woman made famous after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and “prostitute,” will also speak at the convention.

The speakers will use their platforms at convention to highlight the “War on Women,” according to the press release.

Obama Leads Romney Among Black Voters 94-0% (Yeah, as in Zero Percent)

Obama Leads Romney Among Black Voters 94-0% (Yeah, as in Zero Percent)

President Barack Obama has 4-point lead in the race for the White House, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Wondering how Mitt Romney is doing with black voters? I’ll let NBC deliver the news:

Obama continues to lead Romney among key parts of his political base, including African Americans (94 percent to 0 percent), Latinos (by a 2-to-1 margin), voters under 35-years-old (52 percent to 41 percent) and women (51 percent to 41 percent). Romney is ahead with whites (53 percent to 40 percent), rural voters (47 percent to 38 percent) and seniors (49 percent to 41 percent).

In the 12 key battleground states - Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin - Obama leads Romney by three points, 49 percent to 46 percent.

The image at the top of this page comes from a story published last month titled “The Faces (and Reactions) in the Audience as Mitt Romney Delivered NAACP Speech.” It’s a must see.

Funny or Die Brings You Jan Brewer’s ‘Self-Deportation Station’

Funny or Die Brings You Jan Brewer's 'Self-Deportation Station'

Actress Mary Steenburgen does such a good job at impersonating Jan Brewer that you won’t know whether to laugh or cry after watching this video.

You’ll remember earlier this year Mitt Romney was touting self-deportation as his plan for reducing the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The strategy is also at the heart of S.B.1070.

‘Self-deportation’ is most certainly not as pretty as the video makes it appear and the strategy comes with deep political and economic cost.

Driver’s Licenses for DREAMers? California Says It’s Not Out of the Question

Driver's Licenses for DREAMers? California Says It's Not Out of the Question

Only three states in the Nation allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses. But as young people lacking permanent status in the U.S. begin to apply to the Obama administration’s Deferred Action program questions about who’s eligible to drive are being raised.

Will Deferred Action applicants between 16-and-30-years old who are granted “temporary legal residents” status be eligible for driver’s license?

KPCC’s Immigration Reporter Ruxandra Guidi talked to a California DMV spokesman who provided more insight on the matter:

California Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Mike Marando said the state may have to consider Deferred Action applicants as “temporary legal residents” in order to avoid the state’s license ban.

He said further state legislative or regulatory clarification may be needed to issue the licenses.

“The driver’s license law does not change, but the immigration status of the young people in the country will,” Marando said.

In February Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told the L.A. Times California should issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

“My personal belief is that they should be able to” have licenses, Beck said in an interview with the LA Times. “The reality is that all the things that we’ve done — ‘we’ being the state of California — over the last 14, 16 years have not reduced the problem one iota, haven’t reduced undocumented aliens driving without licenses. So we have to look at what we’re doing. When something doesn’t work over and over and over again, my view is that you should reexamine it to see if there is another way that makes more sense.”

Undocumented immigrants were eligible for driver licenses in California until 1993, when the Legislature passed SB 976. Gov. Pete Wilson signed the bill which required residents to provide a Social Security number and proof that their presence in California “is authorized under federal law” in order to obtain a license to drive.

Utah, Washington and New Mexico are the only states in the nation that allow residents to access driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status.

Richard Aoki Documentary Directors Blast FBI Allegations

Richard Aoki Documentary Directors Blast FBI Allegations

In 2009 Mike Cheng and Ben Wang released “Aoki”, a documentary film that chronicled Richard Aoki’s rise to political prominence in the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. In response to a new report from the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Seth Rosenfeld this week offering evidence that Aoki may have worked as an FBI informant, the two filmmakers have released a sharp statement criticizing the allegations.

Writing that Rosenfeld is “armed with no evidence,” the filmmakers claim the following:

Immigrants Make Up Same Share of U.S. Population Today as They Did a Century Ago [Infographic]

gr-pm-110yearsimmigration1-462-2.gifLam Thuy Vo, from NPR’s “Planet Money,” has created two new infographics that illustrate how immigrants make up roughly the same share of the U.S. population today as they did a century ago.

Visit NPR’s Planet Money to read more.

Historian Calls for More Evidence Amidst Richard Aoki FBI Allegations

In light of the bombshell allegations that the late Black Panther Richard Aoki may have worked an FBI informant, I spoke with Scott Kurashige, the Director of Asian/Pacific Islander Studies at the University of Michigan. Since news broke yesterday about Aoki’s possible connections to the FBI, Kurashige has been offering his own analysis and critique on social media. I’ve excerpted selection portions of our conversation below that deal with the larger context of the allegations.

Kurashige calls the allegations “very serious” and is critical of the reports.

“We need to look at the research, and this is not something we can do overnight. Before we can draw any definitive conclusions about what [Seth Rosenfeld] is claiming, we really need to put some serious minds together. People who have both the research expertise and the personal knowledge of some of this history together…Every author has a perspective and a frame.”

Asked whether his view of the specific historical period would change if the allegations against Aoki turned out to be true, Kurashige offered the following:

“It probably wouldn’t complicate my view of that period much at all. I think for a lot of young Asian American activists, particularly in the Bay Area, Aoki was a very immediate inspirational figure because he was a very generous person and a lot of people talk about the positive effect he had on movement activism in the Bay Area. So I think people are concerned about his personal legacy, but they don’t want any stories — particularly before they’re fully verified — to tarnish that legacy.

“I’m a little bit older, and I think for people of my generation, Aoki wasn’t known very much…I bumped into him at conferences, but he wasn’t an icon on the level of Yuri Kochiyama. To ber perfectly honest, my own politics have evolved to the point where I think we need really challenge a lot of the really militant posturing that radicals in the Third World Liberation Movement did in the ’60s. We need to really understand what it meant at that time and place. For Japanese Americans there was this real need and desire to challenge the model minority myth that they were passive and paralyzed. Just as Fanon writes in “The Wretched of the Earth,” there was an unleashing of energy and the militant response to all the violence of repression and white supremacy comes out when a movement is being born.”

And finally, Kurashige says there’s much more analysis that needs to be done.

“Whether these allegations prove to be totally true, totally false, or somewhere in between, it needs to be used a teachable moment for people in movement organizing to really think about how we discuss and strategize the issue of state repression within movement organizing and how we study and discuss our own movement histories.

TAGS: Richard Aoki
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