The State of Black-Asian Relations
Interrogating Black-Asian Coalition
Fifty Years After Bandung
In April of 1955, 29 African and Asian nations came together in Bandung, Indonesia for the Asian-African Conference to promote economic and cultural cooperation and oppose colonialism. More popularly referred to as “Bandung,” this gathering was historic because it brought together newly independent colored nations and posed a challenge to western and white dominance. It is believed that the notion of the “third world” emerged from Bandung to demonstrate a rejection of both the west and ideologies associated with it. Bandung has been celebrated and referenced by many activists and intellectuals including W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Richard Wright, Malcolm X, Yuri Kochiyama, Vijay Prashad, Robin Kelley, and Makani Themba-Nixon.
Today, calls for coalition between Blacks and Asian American are common and therefore rarely interrogated. But since Bandung, the world has changed somewhat, with the Asian population in the US growing rapidly through immigration. Today, Asian Americans have more wealth and education than Blacks and are also less residentially segregated. Since the 1992 LA Riot, the call to “go beyond Black and white” has gained more political momentum among both the left and right. Blacks have been charged with anti-Asian racism, including the murders of Chinese food delivery workers, Shaq versus Yao and the Hot 97 “Tsunami Song.” Today we also have Asian Americans opposing affirmative action, generating wealth from owning businesses in Black neighborhoods, creating the board game “Ghettopoly” and using Black cultural and political expressions to critique African Americans.
Thus, fifty years later, we seek to explore the possibilities and reality of Black-Asian relations in the US. Join us in Philly as Black and Asian American activists come together to discuss tensions between Blacks and Asians, what we see as the roots of conflicts, how this informs our activist projects, and whether coalition is viable between our communities. Panelists will draw from their activist experiences, which includes international solidarity work, educational justice, immigrant rights organizing, non-profit funding analysis, anti-gentrification projects, queer justice, and anti-police violence work. We hope you join us as we convene a panel and community dialogue that honestly explores the state of Black-Asian relations today and whether solidarity is really possible.
Sponsored by the Third World Coalition of the American Friends Service Committee
Tuesday, August 2 from 6:30pm-9:30pm
AFSC Friends Center, 1515 Cherry Street/Philadelphia (Rufus Jones Room)
Free and open to the public
*Panelists will be bringing material to distribute and sell.
Nijmie Dzurinko is a political activist, poet, popular educator and organizer. She has worked with the Philadelphia Student Union, and is a founding member of the International Women’s Peace Service. She is interested in the neo-colonial situation in which people of color and poor and working class people find ourselves in at the present time – specifically in how to negotiate this time, the possibilities for educating ourselves, and seizing opportunities for change.
Kenyon Farrow is a writer and organizer living in Brooklyn, NY. He is a member of the national organizing body of Critical Resistance —a national organization dedicated to finding alternatives to incarceration. Kenyon has written several articles and essays, including “Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black?” and “We Real Cool?: On Hip-Hop, Asian-Americans, Black Folks, and Appropriation.” Kenyon has appeared on radio, TV, in print, has given many public lectures and served on many panels dealing with race and prison issues, and race and queer issues as well. He has an essay in the upcoming anthology of Black Gay male writing, “Think Again 2”, and finished his first book project entitled “Letters from Young Activists” co-edited with Dan Berger and Chesa Boudin, due out in fall 2005 with Nation Books.
Helen Gym has worked with Asian Americans United since 1994 and is on the founding board of the Folk Arts and Cultural Treasures Charter School, a school focused on the needs of immigrant children and families. With a background in second language acquisition, she currently consults on curriculum issues in Asian American studies, immigrant children, and multicultural education. In 2001-2, she was a key organizer and media strategist of a coalition that successfully limited the privatization of public schools in Philadelphia. She was also an organizer and media strategist for two broad-based coalitions to oppose a baseball stadium in Chinatown. Ms. Gym is a former public school teacher and is on the board of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Asian Americans United. She is a Philadelphia public school parent.
Tiffany King is a community organizer and educator working and living in Wilmington, DE where she grew up. She is a co-founder of Resistahs, a community education collective focusing on transformative education for black women. Members of the collective are co-creating community education programs with black women in high schools, GED classes, Delaware Technical Community College, and members of tenant’s councils in public and subsidized housing in the State. Tiffany is also a substitute teacher with the Vocational and Technical School District in Wilmington, DE and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Community Economic Development Association of Delaware. From 1998 through 2003, Tiffany worked with a number of groups in Philadelphia including the Paul Robeson House, the Black Radical Congress, the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, and the Center for Responsible Funding.
Tamara K. Nopper is a writer, educator and activist whose work explores white supremacy/nationalism, Asian American-Black relations, globalization, immigration, citizenship, and nation. She currently volunteers with the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, an anti-war and counter-military recruitment organization.
Ewuare Osayande is a political activist, poet and author of several books including “Black Anti-Ballistic Missives: Resisting War/Resisting Racism.” He is co-founder of POWER (People Organized Working to Eradicate Racism) and creator of ONUS: Redefining Black Manhood. Forthcoming books include a collection of essays entitled “Misogyny and the Emcee: Exposing the Exploitation of Black Women in Hip Hop” and a book of poems entitled “Blood Luxury” which will be published by Africa World Press.
Moderated by Darryl Jordan, Director of the Third World Coalition of AFSC
If you have any questions, please contact Tamara K. Nopper at email@example.com