Asian American Studies

Asian American Studies

CSUN Asian American Studies Statement: Solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives & Condemnation of Mr. George Floyd's Murder

We here at CSUN's Asian American Studies Department unequivocably condemn the heartless and cruel murders of Mr. George Floyd, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Ms. Dominique Clayton and countless others. We stand firmly in solidarity with African American, Native American, Pacific Islander and Latina/o/x communities who bear the brunt of police brutality in our society. Those of us in Asian American Studies/ethnic studies know all too well the fractured relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. Asian American Studies/ethnic studies was born out of struggle and protest 51 years ago. Students, faculty and community supporters were beaten and bashed with billy clubs at gunpoint by police in riot gear, simply for wanting our histories and experiences reflected in university curricula. Black students took the lead at San Francisco State College, San Fernando Valley College, UCLA, UC Berkeley, etc. so we could all have ethnic studies on our college campuses.

After telling the officer who had his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck and chest that he couldn't breathe and that he was in pain, Mr. Floyd's last words were to call out for his mother who had passed away two years prior. We feel disheartened that, at least one of the officers who stood by and observed Mr. Floyd being murdered in broad daylight on May 25, 2020, is Asian American. We as Asian Americans who know all too well how systemic racism and colonialism impact our lives --especially amidst the current Covid-19 pandemic-- must say, "Enough is enough!" And when the perpetrators of or accomplices to racialized hate violence, police harassment and murder are one of our own --whether in uniform or not, we must be the first to say "We won't stand for this!" We condemn both state violence and its agents and stand firmly against anti-Black racism within the Asian American community. We hurt for and with the family of Mr. Floyd and for all people affected by his death.

28 years ago on April 29, 1992, we watched in shock and horror when the officers who brutally beat Mr. Rodney King were acquitted, sparking the Los Angeles Civil Unrest of 1992. We hope in this case, justice is swift for the family of Mr. George Floyd.

The Asian American Studies Department at CSUN stands in solidarity with Black communities here in Los Angeles and across the nation to say that the lives and voices of Black people matter, period! We call for systemic change and accountability to end these senseless murders of our Black brothers and sisters and all people of color.

***************

The poem, written by CSUN alum, Mr. Tony Osumi, is about 25 years old and was updated for a poetry reading for Mr. Ahmaud Arbery. In the wake of Mr. George Floyd's death, Osumi's words prove especially poignant.

Asian America--We Were There
By Tony Osumi

Asian America we were there
we were there
jumping off Spanish galleons in the 1500s
we were there
burning up Hawaiian sugar cane profits
we were there
pushing back on 19th Century White supremacy
we were there
uniting in Oxnard with Mexican American sugar beet workers.
we were there
dying for the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain
we were there
doing political time at Leavenworth for taking a stand against the draft
we were there
giving birth to Local 770 Grocery Workers
we were there
fighting for the ”°Rights of the Foreign Born”±
we were there
singing America in West Side Story
we were there
down South for Freedom Summer
we were there
as Malcolm X took his last breath
we were there
crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge
we were there
sitting down in the orchards of Delano
we were there
out at the earliest gay rights demonstrations
we were there
shutting down Berkeley and S.F. State
we were there
”°Blowing-out”±of Eastside schools
we were there
marching the Chicano Moratorium August 29, 1970
we were there
T.B. testing with the Young Lords
we were there
singing center stage at Panther rallies
we were there
leafleting grape-selling Safeways
we were there
counseling G.I.s and resisting the Vietnam draft
we were there
clutching Red Books in China with long lost cousins
we were there
authoring Title IX and the WomenӮs Educational Equity Act
we were there
running support at Wounded Knee
we were there
defending the I Hotel 9-years strong
we were there
in court for Vincent Chin
we were there
campaigning for Jesse and the Rainbow Coalition
we were there
winning Redress and Reparations
we were there
boycotting Apartheid in South Africa
we were there
ACTing Up and providing a Critical Path during the HIV/AIDS struggle
we were there
strategizing to keep the General Motors plants open
we were there
rising up against CaliforniaӮs Proposition 187
we were there
forcing dressmaker Jessica McClintock to the bargaining table
we were there
fighting to end police brutality
we were there
phone banking for Affirmative Action
we were there
mobilizing for mother tongue language classes on college campuses
we were there
working to unionize the New Otani Hotel in Little Tokyo
we were there
resisting roadside mugshot books in Orange County
we were there
in solidarity with ”°Comfort Women”± around the world
we were there
standing by the Rafu Shimpo newspaper workers
we were there
freeing the land in Okinawa
we were there
continuing the redress fight for Japanese Latin Americans
we were there
marching against another Iraq war
we were there
breaking the fast for Ramadan with our Muslim friends
we were there
supporting Lt. Ehren WatadaӮs stand against war crimes
we were there
occupying Main Street with the 99%
we were there
raising a fist for Michael Brown in Ferguson
we were there
chanting at LAX to end TrumpӮs travel ban
we were there
a million strong at WomenӮs Marches across the nation
we were there
we were there
we were there
And Asian America
we are here
walking the line for public education
we are here
picketing for $15 an hour
we are here
holding hands with our queer and trans brothers and sisters
we are here
door knocking to get out the November vote
we are here
folding origami cranes to close camps because Never Again Is Now!
we are here
sewing face masks for frontline workers and the Navajo Nation
we are here
documenting our lives for PBS
we are here
raising thousands and donating backpacks to asylum seekers
we are here
running 2.23 miles for Ahmaud Arbery
we are here
putting pen to paper in the name of justice
we are here
we are here
together
tonight
we are here

*********
As this poem by our alum, Tony Osumi says,

CSUN Asian American Studies, WE ARE HERE. We take a knee and raise a fist for George Floyd and the countless others who have been killed.

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