Yvonne Yen Liu

Yvonne Yen Liu
Oakland, CA

Yvonne Yen Liu is a senior researcher at the Applied Research Center, a racial justice think and action tank, which publishes In addition to contributing regularly to, Yvonne has been published in Yes Magazine, In These Times, and Alternet. She serves on the board of SmartMeme and the advisory committee for the Food Chain Workers Alliance.

Yvonne has a BA in cultural anthropology from Columbia University and a MA degree in sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she pursued a PhD.

Yvonne considers herself part of the post-Seattle generation, global justice activists both influenced and critical of the anti-WTO mobilizations. She cofounded NYC Summer, a youth of color organizing school, and served on the boards of WBAI 99.5 FM and Seven Stories Institute.

A native New Yorker, Yvonne is now based out of Oakland, California. Her family lives in Shanghai, China.

Follow Yvonne at @yvonnegraphy.

Got Green? Mobilizing Women and People of Color to Seize the Green Promise

by Yvonne Yen Liu on November 13 2009, 7:42PM

This piece originally appeared at In These Times. “Green jobs” has become the latest buzz-word, with stimulus monies pouring into green job creation programs around the country. There is a window of opportunity to ensure equity, transparency, and accountability in…


Is Sammy Sosa bleaching his skin white?

by Yvonne Yen Liu on November 9 2009, 12:20AM

This question has making the rounds on blogs and Facebook this weekend: is Sosa bleaching his skin white? A recent photo released of him reveals a starkly lighter-skinned Sosa with his wife at a glamourous black tie affair in…


Whiting Out Hollywood: Fewer People of Color Hired for Film and TV

by Yvonne Yen Liu on October 27 2009, 6:02AM

Quick, name the most recent movies you saw. Here at RaceWire, the unrepentant nerds that some of us are, we’ve eagerly skipped an afternoon of work to watch Harry Potter, awaited the release of Star Trek: The First Generation,…


The White City

by Yvonne Yen Liu on October 23 2009, 2:15PM

Click here for a larger pic. Check out this entry by Aaron M. Renn on the New Geography blog. I think it’s messed up that Tier One cities that are exemplars of progressive, urban planning are predominantly white. What…


An Open Letter to Target, Regarding “Illegal Alien” Costume for Halloween

by Yvonne Yen Liu on October 16 2009, 10:00PM

via Cindy Mosqueda at Loteria Chicana & LA Eastside Dear Target, What’s up with this “Illegal Alien” costume? I don’t get why a corporation that boasts about giving back to the community (can’t say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the ¡Bienvenido…

Topics: Immigration

How Fair is Recovery in Florida? Tracking Race & Recovery in the Sunshine State

by Yvonne Yen Liu on October 16 2009, 6:30AM

via Joseph Phelan of the Miami Workers Center Last week, over 150 concerned residents of Miami Gardens, Florida gathered with local activists and organizers to share their grievances about the lack of stimulus funding within their community. The evening opened…

Topics: Race and Recession

Organizing Upgrade: Communities of Possibilities

by Yvonne Yen Liu on October 1 2009, 8:57AM

The concept of community is an ever-shifting one. It first becomes applied to movements for social change after World War II, when a dissatisfied social worker Saul Alinksy shifted his efforts into organizing urban communities, based on geographic proximity….


A Tale of Race and Recovery

by Yvonne Yen Liu on September 30 2009, 9:30AM

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.* The Obama administration enacted the $787 billion…


Green Jobs for Navajo Youth: Q & A with Nikke Alex

by Yvonne Yen Liu on July 23 2009, 6:00AM

Nikke Alex, the youth organizer for the Navajo Green Jobs and the Black Mesa Water Coalition, talked with us for a few minutes while she was at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock, Arizona, celebrating the historic passage…


Racializing Uighurs: The Story of Internal Colonialism in China

by Yvonne Yen Liu on July 9 2009, 6:20PM

China extends 3,400 miles from the west to the east and falls into five different time zones. Yet, the country operates on a single standard of time, eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, all year round based on…

Topics: History

Freedom Rides: Black Kids on Bikes

by Yvonne Yen Liu on June 27 2009, 12:10PM

Once a month, a movement courses through the streets of Los Angeles. Moving together, in solidarity, Black cyclists are spurred forward by the revolutions of their wheels. Each individual coming together to join the flood that takes over the…


Equity and the Green Recovery

by Yvonne Yen Liu on June 8 2009, 6:00AM

More depressing numbers about the recession: Unemployment last month was at 9.4 percent, according to the latest figures by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. An additional 787,000 people lost their jobs, most were people of color. Since the recession began…


Tent City Stories

by Yvonne Yen Liu on June 5 2009, 12:00PM

People of color reflect on the role racism played in leaving them without jobs and homes.


Young, Gifted, and Broke

by Yvonne Yen Liu on May 22 2009, 4:02PM

Summer. Hot days finding respite in supermarket freezer aisles. Auditoriums filled with families eagerly awaiting the moment that their beloved child receives their diploma. An arid field awaits this summer’s graduates. It’s hard for anyone to get a job right…

Topics: Race and Recession

Happy Birthday, Yuri Kochiyama

by Yvonne Yen Liu on May 19 2009, 5:31PM

Yuri Kochiyama turns 88 today. Born on May 19, 1921, Yuri grew up in a white middle class suburb of San Pedro, California. Her life was irreparably changed when Pearl Harbor was bombed. She and her family were forcibly removed…


Justice for Troy Davis

by Yvonne Yen Liu on May 19 2009, 12:14PM

Troy Davis was convicted of killing a police officer in Savannah, Georgia nearly two decades ago. He sits on death row waiting for execution tonight, even though evidence points to his innocence. Seven out of the nine witnesses have recanted…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Victims of Violence, Victims of Recession

by Yvonne Yen Liu on May 18 2009, 6:00AM

Four years ago, Maria Cecilia Osorio followed her husband north from Mexico with her two children, now eight and twelve. Her husband traveled to the United States in search of work and Maria followed. But upon arriving in Nogales, Arizona,…

Topics: Race and Recession

NAFTAchoo! The Global Virus Cultivated by Globalization

by Yvonne Yen Liu on April 30 2009, 11:41AM

Paula Deen promises us special Mother’s Day recipes on the Smithfield Foods website: Bacon wrapped shrimp over pasta, sweet potato biscuit sandwiches, all served with generous helpings of Smithfield’s bacon and luncheon meats. Her teeth gleam against her skin,…


New Money but Old Formulas Mean Schools Get Unequal Funds

by Yvonne Yen Liu on March 27 2009, 6:00AM

Within weeks, monies from the approved stimulus bill will trickle down to schools nation-wide. For some states, the funds are a lifesaver, staving off mass layoffs of teachers in Alabama, and providing a needed infusion of cash for schools who…

Topics: Schools & Youth