AAUC Newsletter is published by Dr. SK Lo, AAUC President
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The Awakening of AAPI

By SK Lo, AAUC President

The stereo-typical Asian Americans are hardworking and mind their own business. They tend to bury their heads into their work and careers since sticking their heads up would invite trouble. However, the rise of Asia and the pandemic accompanied by the increase of anti-Asian hate crimes have awakened the AAPI communities. Asian Americans realize that they should no longer be powerless and suffer quietly. For the younger generations of AAPI, US is home and civic engagement is not an option anymore to take control of their lives. 

In the past few years there has been a significant rise of civic activism across many different social strata in the AAPI communities. From the various rallies around the anti-Asian hate in 2021 and the dramatic increase in AAPI voter participation in 2020 to the increase number of AAPIs running for and gaining seats in elected offices, many AAPIs are coming out in various ways to be civically engaged. We also witness many more AAPI civic organizations are formed in recent years reaching out to the AAPI communities. Social justice groups are gaining traction among prestigious university faculties to fight against racial profiling. Asian American Studies have been established in many university campuses and legislations are being proposed to incorporate that into the K-12 curriculum.
Needless to say, these are good signs for AAPI awakening to the reality that we all belong to this country. US is our home for generations to come. We need to build this country to be an open society with fair opportunities for all to thrive, serve and contribute. We also need to feel safe and protected while doing so.

End of the China Initiative?

By Steven Pei, Constitution & Bylaws Committee Chair, AAUC

On February 23, 2022, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Matthew G. Olsen, announced the end of the “China Initiative”. While we disagree with Mr. Olsen’s self-assessment that the DOJ did not find racial bias in “China Initiative” cases, we welcome the end of the ill-conceived initiative.

Three years after the program’s start, less than a third of the defendants have been convicted. In 2018, none of the cases were about research integrity. By 2020, 16 of the 31 of newly announced cases were. Instead of catching real spies, scientists became frequent targets for violation of federal fund granting agency policies, not for trade secret theft or economic espionage.

In particular, the “China Initiative” has been (1) ineffective in achieving its stated goals to combat economic espionage and trade secret theft, (2) counter-productive against open science and US leadership in science and technology, (3) discriminatory against Asian American and Asian immigrant scientists and students, (4) un-American in its lack of transparency, accountability, oversight, and integrity and (5) causing immeasurable damage to victims and eroded the trust and confidence Asian and academic communities placed in law enforcement.

Without correcting the aggressive prosecutions and investigations by the DOJ and FBI, changing the name will only make the situation worse.

The DOJ must rebuild trust with the people it serves, particularly the Asian and academic communities. Congress and the public must continue to hold our institutions accountable for misconduct and misguided policies in our society ruled by law, not by xenophobia and creating fear.


By Angela Anand, Vice President of AAUC, President of SAWN, and former President of NFIA

I love the smell of fresh brew of coffee. The aroma is tantalizing. No matter how much I resist, I like to get a cup of coffee from Starbucks. The price is steep but they have good beans and an excellent product marketing. Growing up and visiting Connaught Place, Delhi, India, where most of the commercial business is conducted, English movies featured, and elegant hotels located, there was Madras Palace and Annapurna two eateries. This was the place for great coffee and dosa, the famous food from South. I did not know that South India, had such good coffee bean plantations a century ago.

Recently, I read about Sakamma “coffee Pudi” from Bangalore, Karnataka, India. She was a good student but due to family hardships was married to a wealthy coffee bean planter who already had two wives. She was 16 and at 19 became widow and the sole owner of a large business that she did not have any knowledge but did a stellar job of managing and became the first women of a sprawling coffee business. She was so successful that even the British recognized her and awarded her the ‘Kaisar-i- Hind’ (Jewel of India) medalShe may not be that well-known but at that time in 1880 – 1900, product marketing was unheard of and the mass communication did not exist.

Moving forward, I watched an interview of Sarah Nguyen, owner of Robusta coffee business. It came as a surprise to me that after Brazil, Vietnam, is the second highest producer of coffee beans. It was interesting to know that this young woman who graduated in Asian Studies and World Culture and Art from UCLA and was the first-generation Vietnamese of immigrant parents who lacked the acumen to do anything innovative. She did it all on her own. Ms. Nguyen has been profiled on major publications;
Wall Street Journal, VICE, New York Magazine, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, and she received 2019 Star Chefs Rising Star Award. Born in Boston, MD, resident of New York she is also known for her documentaries.

Welcome the Year of the Tiger in Solidarity
San Francisco celebrated with 50 API Elected Officials

By Joel Wong, President of National Asian American United, AAUC Organization Member

When the plague which swept through Naples, Italy ended in 1656, the city threw a 10-day festival to celebrate and memorialize the hardship they had endured. After a two year pandemic lock down and a 300+% increase in Anti-Asian Hate Crime, San Francisco was in the mood to let her hair down and “get down”. Celebrated they did on a balmy Saturday, February 19, 2022. Over a hundred floats participated, each decorated to welcome the year of the Tiger.

The API Coalition float was sponsored by Civic Leadership USA and Kenson Venture, supported by organizations such as SFCAUSE and NAAUnited. What sets this float apart is the 50 elected API officials matching alongside. Asian Americans are perceived to be high achievers, family but not community minded. Among minorities, Asians are least likely to vote or to participate in politics.

But things have changed. The recent successful recall of the three SF School Board members was a testament to Americans voting in numbers urged by SFCAUSE, the Chinese American Democratic Club among others. The marching API officials is another testamony that Asians are getting involved.  Participating in the API Coalition were California Attorney General, Rob Bonta; his wife Mia (State Assembly Candidate); Fremont Mayor Lily Mei (State Senate Candidate); and dozens of City Council, College and School Board members representing all parties.

Asian Americans realize they must get involved in our communities and not just aspire to become doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers and professors. Those 50 elected officials are just a glimpse of what things to come!

AAUC Podcast #14

The Power of Data & HAF

(Launched on Feb 27,  8 pm EST/ 7 pm CST/ 5 pm PST)

The focus of this February podcast is on the importance of data and data collection in impacting public policy. Our guest for this episode is Suhag Shukla, a co-founder and current Executive Director of the Hindu American Foundation or HAF.

HAF is a member of the Asian American Unity Coalition. It has successfully organized and expanded its work and impact here in America since its inception 20 years ago.

What is HAF and what kind of work does HAF do? How has data collection enabled HAF exert influence on public policy? What mindset is needed for coalition building? Let’s find out from Suhag Shukla, who is our featured guest this month. Please join us at your convenience for the fourteenth episode of “Building our Collective American Dream”.

The AAUC podcast series is supported by our member organizations and our lifetime Individual members. 
All podcasts are aired at 8 pm ET on the last Sunday of each month. Our next guest for the March Podcast features the National Field Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), Mr. Raymon Partolan on how data impacts the increasing AAPI voting power.

Click here to listen

AAUC Update

Las Vegas Meetings

To take full advantage of having an in-person gathering in March, AAUC plans to hold the Nonprofit Leadership Training, the bimonthly Board of Governors meeting and the AAPI Hub kickoff meeting into one back-to-back event in Las Vegas.

Nonprofit Leadership Training - Saturday March 12
AAUC Board Meeting - Saturday-Sunday March 12-13
AAPI Community Hub Project - Sunday March 13

We encourage our members register to join via zoom for the hybrid Leadership Training which will cover: 1) developing an effective leadership style; 2) organizing successful teams; 3) the importance of strategy. A detail schedule for the training and the meeting link will be sent to you. We hope through the professional training AAUC will develop into a strong, effective team to serve our community.

The AAPI Hub project will also kickoff on Sunday March 13 to develop the core team and the next step for making the online AAPI Hub into a reality.
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