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  • [Asia Society Southern California] Standing Against Racism in the Time of COVID (Part II)

[Asia Society Southern California] Standing Against Racism in the Time of COVID (Part II)

  • Wednesday, September 02, 2020
  • 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
  • Webinar

Asia Society Southern California Presents:

"Standing Against Racism in the Time of COVID (Part II)"

A Special Live Video Webcast 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wednesday, September 2, 2020
5:00-6:30PM Los Angeles Time

Facebook Live Link

COVID-19 has thrown into stark relief the racism which plagues the United States and much of the world. The Asian American community has been scapegoated for the outbreak of the pandemic including being subjected to harassment and assault. Black and Brown communities have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic suffering the greatest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. The novel coronavirus and racism are afflicting dual pandemics on communities of color.

Education and allyship are key to dismantling the racism which persists in ways institutional, historical and structural. Join Asia Society Southern California as we examine how the Asian American community can contribute to the racial justice movement. The conversation will look at the history of cooperation and tension between the Asian American and African American communities. It will also explore racism within the Asian American community including colorism and antiblack sentiment. The program will address how to have difficult conversations on racism across generations in our families and communities.


The Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr.

Prominent Civil Rights Leader, Pastor, Teacher, and Mentor

As a minister who trained many activists in nonviolent resistance, The Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr. made a critical contribution to the civil rights movement. In his 1968 speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” Martin Luther King spoke of Lawson as one of the “noble men” who had influenced the black freedom struggle: “He’s been going to jail for struggling; he’s been kicked out of Vanderbilt University for this struggling; but he’s still going on, fighting for the rights of his people” (King, “I’ve Been,” 214).

Throughout his extraordinary career as a pastor, teacher and mentor, Rev. Lawson has shined a powerful light on the immorality of segregation and discrimination. He was instrumental in coordinating the lunch counter sit-ins in 1960, the Freedom Rides in 1961 and the Meredith March in 1966; and while working as a pastor at the Centenary Methodist Church in Memphis, he played a key role in the sanitation workers strike of 1968. His work in training volunteers in tactics of nonviolent direct action is laudable for its positive impact on our nation by saving and enriching countless lives while championing freedom.

In 1974, Rev. Lawson moved to Los Angeles to serve as pastor of Holman Methodist Church. Since his retirement in the early 2000s, Rev. Lawson has continued to speak out against racism and campaign against violence, advocate for immigration rights, oppose war and militarism, demonstrate for equal rights of gays and lesbians, and work to promote community diversity and solidarity.

Stewart Kwoh

Founder, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Los Angeles

Stewart Kwoh is the Founder of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles (formerly known as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center). Kwoh is a nationally recognized leader and expert in race relations, Asian American studies, nonprofit organizations and philanthropies, civil rights, and legal services. He was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 1998, becoming the first Asian American attorney and human rights activist to receive this highly prestigious recognition, often referred to as the “genius grant.”

Kwoh co-founded Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles, the nation’s largest Asian American legal and civil rights organization that serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Advancing Justice | Los Angeles’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.

Viet Thanh Nguyen

University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English

Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He is also the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford University Press, 2002) and the co-editor of Transpacific Studies: Framing an Emerging Field (University of Hawaii Press, 2014). His book Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War from Harvard University Press, was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction, and the winner of two book awards: the John G. Cawelti Award for Best Textbook/Primer from the Popular Culture Association/ American Culture Association, and the René Wellek Prize for an outstanding work of comparative literature from the American Comparative Literature Association. 

Nguyen is University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and American Studies and Ethnicity, as well as a member of the steering committee for the Center for Transpacific Studies.

Nikole Hannah-Jones
Pulitzer-Prize-winning author and creator of the New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project” 

Nikole Hannah-Jones covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine and has spent years chronicling how official policy has created—and maintains—racial segregation in housing and schools. Her deeply personal reports on the black experience in America offer a compelling case for greater equity.

Named for the year the first enslaved Africans arrived in America, "The 1619 Project" features an ongoing series of essays and art on the relationship between slavery and everything from social infrastructure to segregation, music to sugar—all by Black American authors, activists, and journalists. Hannah-Jones wrote the project’s introductory essay under the powerful headline, “Our Democracy’s Founding Ideals Were False When They Were Written. Black Americans Have Fought to Make Them True.” The essay earned her a Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

Frank H. Wu
President, Queens College, City University of New York 

Frank H. Wu was named President of Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY), in 2020. He was a member of the faculty at Howard University, the nation’s leading historically black college/university (HBCU), for a decade. In his leadership roles at Queens College, UC Hastings and Wayne, as well as on the faculty at Howard, he was the first Asian American to serve in such a capacity.

Professor Wu is the author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, which was immediately reprinted in its hardcover edition, and co-author of Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese American Internment, which received the single greatest grant from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund.

Anthony Jackson
Vice President, Education

Director, Center for Global Education

Dr. Anthony Jackson leads Asia Society's work in global education, which strives to enable all students to graduate high school prepared for college, for work in the global economy, and for 21st century global citizenship.

Jackson oversees the Center for Global Education at Asia Society, a global platform for collaboratively advancing education for global competence for all. The Center’s multifaceted approach includes the International Studies Schools Network, a network of over 30 schools around the United States that systematically integrate a global focus within the curriculum; Global Learning Beyond School, which supports globalizing youth programs including afterschool and community programs; the Global Cities Education Network, a learning community of high performing Asian and North American urban school districts dedicated to solving common high priority problems of practice and policy; and China Learning Initiatives, which provide national leadership to support learning of Chinese language and culture.

Trained in both developmental psychology and education, Jackson is one of the nation’s leading experts on secondary school education reform and adolescent development. Jackson directed the Carnegie Corporation’s Task Force on the Education of Young Adolescents which produced the ground breaking report Turning Points: Educating Adolescents in the 21st Century, and co-authored the seminal follow-up blueprint Turning Points 2000, considered one of the most influential books on middle school reform. His most recent work is Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World.

Jonathan Karp
Former Executive Director, Asia Society Southern California

Karp served as Asia Society Southern California’s executive director from 2014 through mid-2019 and has since consulted for ASSC and other nonprofit organizations. He joined Asia Society after a distinguished career in journalism, including a decade of reporting in Asia. Karp began his journalism career in Israel in 1986 and continued as a foreign correspondent based in Hong Kong, New Delhi and Sao Paulo, Brazil, the last two posts as a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal. In 2004, he transferred to the Journal’s Los Angeles Bureau and later served as senior editor at Marketplace Radio, leading the business and finance coverage for their family of public radio shows. Karp studied Middle Eastern History at Princeton.

For any questions for the speakers in this program please submit in advance to ask_ASSC@asiasociety.org.

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