On March 3rd, 2021, AABANY Board Director, Asia Practice Committee Co-Chair, and Issues Committee Chair Chris Kwok was invited to visit Spike Lee at his production site in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Known for his movie Do The Right Thing (1989), Director Spike Lee is in the process of filming an eight hour documentary to capture New York’s resiliency from 9/11 to Covid-19. For the upcoming documentary, Spike Lee interviewed over 200 people and wanted to interview Chris to speak about the Asian American community in New York.
For Chris, Spike Lee has been a part of his life since high school. Do The Right Thing was Spike Lee’s magnum opus—the movie illustrated race relations between Italians, Blacks, and Asians in New York. In one iconic scene, a riot breaks out and as the Blacks move on to destroy the Korean bakery after burning down the Italian pizzeria, the owner of the bakery tells them, “You, me, same.” The Koreans and Blacks are on the same side and as an assertive African American filmmaker about racial justice, Spike Lee understood that at the time. Through his many projects, Spike Lee has recognized the Asian American community and sees Asian Americans as part of the fabric of New York. That stood out to Chris and his friends in high school.
Spike Lee is iconic but also very personal. “He is including us and we should know more about African Americans and their culture. They have always been inclusive to us, and we should know their path in history,” said Chris. “BLM and fighting anti-Asian violence is the same fight. You don’t have to choose one over the other because it’s the manifestation of structural racism and the effort to dismantle it.” Chris’ comments reflect the message of Do The Right Thing. Asian Americans and African Americans need to be united and Spike Lee highlights that by writing “BLM + AABANY Brothers and Sista’s” in an autographed Do The Right Thing sign he presented to Chris at the interview (see image above).
Spike Lee’s new documentary “NYC Epicenters 9/11→ 2021½” is scheduled to be released later this year on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.
TRACKING (IN)JUSTICE: A Nationwide Dialogue on Hate Crimes Wed. June 26, 2013 10:00 am to 12:00 pm PDT / 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm EDT Asian Law Caucus 55 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, and other venues nationwide (TBD) Live streaming at http://tinyurl.com/TRACKING-IN-JUSTICE
NAPABA is sponsoring the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California’s “TRACKING (IN)JUSTICE: A Nationwide Dialogue on Hate Crimes.” The dialogue will focus on the need to monitor hate crimes against Arabs, Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. In the wake of recent vandalism of religious venues, discriminatory publicity materials, attacks on innocent individuals, Oak Creek shootings, and Boston Marathon bombing, there is growing concern about the safety and rights of all community members. Those perceived to be Arab, Sikh, Hindu, or Muslim are increasingly vulnerable to hateful speech and violence more than a decade after 9/11, yet the FBI only tracks hate crimes against Muslims. Join activists from around the country in a discussion urging the FBI to track anti-Arab, anti-Hindu, anti-Sikh crimes in addition to anti-Muslim crimes.
Did you know that Congress reopened and funded the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund for $2.775 billion to help to provide compensation for economic and non-economic loss to individuals or relatives of deceased individuals who were killed or physically injured as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001? Come find out how people in your community might be eligible under this important program!
Go here for all the details on this event. Register for this training here.
Julie Huang shared this event with us. Here’s an excerpt:
You are invited to join your neighbors on Tuesday, March 27, beginning at 7:00 pm at Mariners’ Temple Baptist Church, to share your personal perspective on Chinatown’s development. Did the events of 9/11 change the direction of this neighborhood forever? Have some things improved? What has been neglected? Is there a unified vision of Chinatown that we can all set our sights on and work toward?
– Overview of post-9/11 Chinatown, presented by Wendy Cheung, Beyond Ground Zero Network
– Audience discussion of Chinatown concerns
– Reflection and Perspective offered by:
Bethany Li, Staff Attorney, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Jan Lee, V. P. Exec. Board of Dir. Hamilton Madison House
JoAnn Lum, Executive Director, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops
NYCLA hosts a Special Event: 9/11 – Refuting Stereotypes & Challenging the Common Wisdom. Among the speakers will be Margaret Fung, Executive Director, AALDEF. For more information, click on the link in the title.
Commissioned by the Asian American Federation in 2003, Tribute and Remembrance documents the extensive effects the 9/11 tragedy had on the Asian American community, by examining the economic impact of Chinatown, the toll on taxi cab drivers, INS deportation of Muslims, the mental health impact and 3 victims’ family stories. In addition, it highlights some of the philanthropic efforts of the Asian American community following the tragedy.
This screening and lecture is scheduled for Sept. 9. For full details follow the link in the title.