The Flying Turtle Journal

The inner life of a 25 year old, gay, Hmong man. Refugee born, Minnesota-bred, DC resident.

thepeoplesrecord:

TW: Violence: Today, May 30, is the day four years ago that little Brisenia Flores and her father were murdered in Arivaca, Arizona by racist Neo-Nazi anti-immigrant vigilantes. Brisenia was shot point blank in the face during the home invasion and her father was killed and mother shot.
We must not forget, ever, what hate rhetoric can do. Remind people and be vigilant about what anyone espousing hate against another group of people can do and lead to.
Today, have a thought about this beautiful little 9 year old, her family, and the community who lost so much through this death that no one wants to remember or at that time that Obama and the media never mentioned or had any ceremony for to symbolically stand against hate, racism, and xenophobia.
Today, in Arizona Mexican American Studies has been banned, books have been boxed up and sent out of schools, and the state of Arizona is under police seige against anyone who is brown. If you haven’t been there to witness it yourself don’t think it’s not happening because from personal experience it is.
No more of the conintuing 500 year long war of extinction upon Indigenous people. It must end! - Three Sonorans
Minutement group leader Shawna Forde & Jason Bush were found guilty on eight counts & are on death row for plotting the deadly home invasion. Albert Gaxiola was found guilty of the murders & sentenced to life without parole. 

thepeoplesrecord:

TW: Violence: Today, May 30, is the day four years ago that little Brisenia Flores and her father were murdered in Arivaca, Arizona by racist Neo-Nazi anti-immigrant vigilantes. Brisenia was shot point blank in the face during the home invasion and her father was killed and mother shot.

We must not forget, ever, what hate rhetoric can do. Remind people and be vigilant about what anyone espousing hate against another group of people can do and lead to.

Today, have a thought about this beautiful little 9 year old, her family, and the community who lost so much through this death that no one wants to remember or at that time that Obama and the media never mentioned or had any ceremony for to symbolically stand against hate, racism, and xenophobia.

Today, in Arizona Mexican American Studies has been banned, books have been boxed up and sent out of schools, and the state of Arizona is under police seige against anyone who is brown. If you haven’t been there to witness it yourself don’t think it’s not happening because from personal experience it is.

No more of the conintuing 500 year long war of extinction upon Indigenous people. It must end! - Three Sonorans

Minutement group leader Shawna Forde & Jason Bush were found guilty on eight counts & are on death row for plotting the deadly home invasion. Albert Gaxiola was found guilty of the murders & sentenced to life without parole. 

(via raybg89)

“Those who say “violence isn’t the answer” or “violence never solves anything” are the ones whom never were colonized, never raped, never made slaves, never experienced the weight of imperialism squashing their freedom and those whom never have been the non-beneficiaries of privilege.”

oca-advocates:

Know how we fight for immigration reform? #Beyonce #Yonce
 We woke up in the kitchen saying, “How the hell did this shit happen?” Oh baby, drunk in love we be all night. Join us today on Twitter at 1pm ET/10am PT to talk about how inaction on immigration reform hurts AAPIs and what we can do to demand relief! Use the hashtags #FightforFamilies and #AAPI to join the conversation. We be all night, love, love! #IFeelYaGirl #Looooove

oca-advocates:

Know how we fight for immigration reform? #Beyonce #Yonce


We woke up in the kitchen saying,
“How the hell did this shit happen?”
Oh baby, drunk in love we be all night.

Join us today on Twitter at 1pm ET/10am PT to talk about how inaction on immigration reform hurts AAPIs and what we can do to demand relief!

Use the hashtags #FightforFamilies and #AAPI to join the conversation.

We be all night, love, love! #IFeelYaGirl #Looooove

Response to a Prompt #1

"If you could change one thing, just one thing in your past, what would it be?"

Right now, I’m just listening to Arianna Grande songs over and over, so my blog posts may all be a response to the questions she brings up in my own head. But a friend asked me the above prompt, and to help me out, I’m listening to “Almost is Never Enough.”

Generally, I don’t regret anything in my life. Although I’m flawed, I’ve come to realize that that makes me human (thanks anime), and I like who I am now, though I will continue to grow and change.

But…if there was one thing that I could change about my past, I would’ve told, in person, Sam before he left for New York that “He was the best conversation I’ve had in a very, very long time. And though we were just friends, I probably would have said yes if he ever asked for anything more. I’ve always  found him to be the most intellectually challenging, and thus, attractive man I’ve met in DC - from the first time we met and talked about the nature of faith and fact to the last days before he left, when we debated the technicalities of the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder and what that meant for the future of voting and civil rights.”

I would have said, “Sam, I like you, and I’m sad to see you leave. Who will I talk about the nature of everything and nothing with now? One day, I hope, you and I will be the same city. And I would be stable enough to handle a real relationship and you would be ready to date. Until then, goodbye, my friend.”

I don’t have regrets. But if there was one thing I would have to change in my life, I would have said the above lines earlier this year.

R. grabbed my waist and kissed me in front of the hotel lobby. He started to walk away, but something swelled up inside of me, and I pulled him back in and pressed my lips against his. “I dont want to leave, but I have to. I’ll see you later tonight, after the gala and all the post-conference stuff I have to deal with.” I watched R. walk away. We hadn’t seen each other for six months, except for the few times my phone would light up with his picture telling me he was on the other end waiting to FaceTime with me. “12:30,” he texted me. “Is that too late for you?” I agreed. I wanted to see him.

A little past midnight, I get a phone call from a number I don’t recognize. “Hey, it’s me, D. I’m using my friend’s phone because I don’t get service. Um…what are you up to? My friends are all inside the rave, but they won’t let me in because my ID’s expired,” he said to me. We had stopped seeing each other around April. But every now and again, he shows up in my life. “I’m sorry. If you’re busy, it’s alright. I’ll figure something out. Don’t worry.” He hung up. I was supposed to see R. But D was in trouble, and he…he needed someone to bail him out again. 

"Hey, R. I can’t go out tonight," I call as I sat in a cab going towards Northeast DC, a place where even the metro tracks don’t run. "I’m sorry. I can’t see you off before you leave again for Hong Kong. I have to go help my friend." And I did. I had to help my friend - one that I’ve locked lips with; held hands with; laid together with. I couldn’t just leave D by himself with no metro close by; no working phone; and no direction of where to go. I let R go so that I could make sure that D was safe - even though we were just friends now. Just friends.

- - -

I first heard this song last night, I couldn’t help but feel the bandages wrapped around my heart unravel. “Just a little bit of your heart,” she sings. She doesn’t question what he does or who he’s with, but she knows that his heart isn’t all there. And it’s okay. She knows it’s pathetic. But just a little bit, just a little more, the feeling that lingers is that maybe, just maybe, he’ll love me. If I can have just a small piece of him, then maybe he’ll love me. At first, I thought the song hit home because it reminded me of how I loved at 20.

But as I listened closer to it, I remember R asking me once, “Hey, Kham. If I ever asked you out, would you be my boyfriend.” And I said, “Depends, you’d have to as me in person.”

D once said to me, “I really like you. But we should stop this is if isn’t going anywhere. I don’t want either of us to hurt.” And I…I can’t even remember what I said to him.

"I miss talking to you already."
"Do you have time this weekend?"
"Want to go grab a pizza after this?"
"I really like you."
"I know that you’re probably seeing other people, but I hope you’re still single when I see you again."

All words said to me by different men at different times. And as I sat on my steps, listening to this song, I realized that the reason why my heart breaks when I hear Arianna’s words is because I have turned into the man I loved at 20. Because I am toxic to the lives of other men. Because I can’t give them all of me. Because they’re asking for a just a little bit of me, knowing full well that they’re not the only one, and I’m not even willing to give them that much.

I’m sad when I hear those slow notes because I am not a victim but an active and destructive man in the lives of other men. But now, I want to be able to give, if even, just a little bit of my heart to someone. I think I may have, but it’s over. We’re just friends.

William Bratton: Investigate Ryo Oyamada's Death

jspark3000:

image

Ryo Oyamada, a 24 year old student from Japan, was struck and killed by an NYPD vehicle in a hit & run.  Witnesses say the police car had no lights or sirens on and was going over 70 mph.  The released footage by NYPD was proven to be heavily altered in a cover-up, showing “lights” on the vehicle, when compared to footage from the NY Housing Authority on the same street with the same timestamp. 

On a personal note: I know that this will probably not be shared or reblogged very much, because Asians are not very prominent in American culture.  I understand this, because Asians (like me) are partially at fault for being so passive.  But I am begging you to please consider signing this petition out of human decency.  Ryo was just a student walking home, then struck by a nearly silent police cruiser going at excess speed, and the NYPD covered it up. 

Here is the side-by-side comparison of the released video footage, including updates from the case.  *Edit*  This article contains a link to a graphic video moments after the crash, showing the body of Ryo Oyamada and NY citizens yelling at the police.  Please advise, it is highly disturbing. 

And the following is an excerpt from the petition, which as of now only has 286 signatures.

(via up-inblue)

My friend and fellow board member said I needed a headshot for our website, so he took a few.

I don’t ever tell you how I really feel,
Cause I can’t find the words to say what I mean.
And nothing’s ever easy, that’s what they say.
I know I’m not your only,
But I’ll still be a fool
Cause I’m a fool for you.

Just a little bit of your heart,
Just a little bit of your heart,
Just a little bit of your heart is all I want.
Just a little bit of your heart,
Just a little bit of your heart,
Just a little bit is all I’m asking for.

I know I’m not your only,
But at least I’m one.
I heard a little love
Is better than none.

Hobbies

When people ask me about my hobbies, I’m like…uh, well, I help run a queer API organization on the side and I’m volunteering for a local political campaign.

Oh yeah, I’m also trying to start a cover cover band, to cover covers of popular songs. So if you know anyone who can sing or play instruments, lemme know!

We are not Laotian refugees. We are Hmong. Address us as who we are and not the technical jargon that US immigration used to define us. We are Hmong.

http://titotito.tumblr.com/post/93156950153

raspelfy:

titotito:

 

Once you get this, you must share 5 random facts about yourself, and then send it to your 10 favourite followers. (Tagged by titotito)

1. My first passport said I had blue eyes

2. My Chinese name is 家樂. I have no last name because my dad is the white parent.

3. All of my fingers are double jointed.

4. Every time I go to karaoke I sing “Creep” by Radiohead.

5. I have over 30 different kinds of tea in my house.

I’m tagging the following people: supersluttygoat, flynturtle, queerspark, jsl009, candita, kaesespaetzle, agaysianvagabond, indulging-uncertainty, ox-85, @joonstillhere

I guess I never saw this til now. Go figure.

1.) I drink only whisky, scotch, and bourbon or drinks mixed with them.
2.) I’m a revolutionist who works as a reformist, and it’s got me all fucked up in the head.
3.) I love single-player rpg games.
4.) I learned to smile in spite of how I felt at the age of 16.
5.) Small things from loved ones make me happiest.

I tag agaysianvagabond thisisnotwriting vteck kamayami qkyn jsl009

Feeling Sad

Forgive for rambling, but I need an outlet somewhere.

About a month ago, I was at a regional summit for a national queer Asian Pacific American organization. A dear friend and mentor of mine gave a presentation on the deportation of Southeast Asians, and I couldn’t sit through it. So I left and went outside for a cigarette and air. And as I sat outside, I couldn’t help but start crying because it’s about my community, my people who have been left behind in refugee camps, my people who have been brought over into the low-income areas of America with little support, and who are now being deported back to countries we’ve never known as home.

It was heartbreaking because that week I had to fight with other Asian Pacific American organizations for just a few thousand dollars for a project that would benefit all of us. And I had to fight Latino organizations just to make sure that they didn’t leave us out of immigration again - to make sure that our families are not just some asterisk on a project that we called a unified project and front for both AAPI and Latino communities.

And as I sat crying on the steps outside, one of the organizational directors who’s known me since I was 20 comes out and he says, “Kham, I am so proud of you. You’re the only one - the only queer Southeast Asian male doing what you’re doing. You have have to be strong. Don’t let them see you cry. I know it’s hard, but don’t let them see you cry.”

But I can’t help it. I can’t help but cry. I’ve been fighting my own communities for so long just to have my humanity recognized: Hmong, Southeast Asian, Asian American, LGBTQ, People of Color, my own organizations - everyone. And it’s so lonely. And I didn’t realize that I’ve been so sad for so long. Because for all the love that I’ve felt for my communities, I’ve never felt them love me and people like me back. And to be the one, the only one who is queer, who is Southeast Asian, who is male, who comes from impoverished beginnings, from a no-name school doing this in DC is so lonely. Because there’s really no one where who understands.

And I have to be rock. I have to be strong, to show my place, to talk my piece, to push the agenda forward - regardless of whether or not people like it.

I have to be stone for my family, then for my college mates, then for Hmong LGBTQ folks, and for queer southeast Asians in Asian America in DC. A role model. Thick skinned. Someone who has to be strong. But I feel so lonely, out of place, and sad.

My family back home says, “We’re so proud of you.” My friends and supporters here say, “We’re proud of you.” And those younger than me who have seen the work I do say, “You’re a role model because of the work that you’ve done.” And I just want to say “no, no, no. Just let me be me, please.” And I’ve only just realized after a year here that I’m sad and I feel alone, even though there are so many people who love and support me, because it’s just one obstacle after another with no one here who can understand why I crave so much to meet another person like me - someone who can sit with me and say, “Kham, I know.”

Truthfully, I just miss my friends, my gay Southeast Asian brothers. The ones who yell at me for messing up, for not checking my privilege, for making stupid mistakes, and the ones who sit there with me when I’m sad.

This is what I listen to when I’m sad at my community, at my people, and my movement. It helps me feel grounded, and that I need to continue on.

I remind myself that I will never run for office because I do not want to be the voice of a hundred thousand people. I remind myself that my values and my morals will never be compromised for the majority and election, that I will allow myself the freedom to speak authentically to my experiences and those of my community, while working til my blood runs dry to uplift my peoples - my young community, newly minted Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, recently coined Southeast Asians, and all peoples oppressed and displaced in the United States.

"When I grow up, I wanna be just like Yuri Kochiyama."

From a very close and dear friend of mine that stressed the importance of the friendships among queer API men. I share this sentiment because for 18 years of my life, I felt alone and outcasted. It was only when I realized that there were others who were like me that I could begin to learn to love myself and those like me.

An Introduction to Affirmative Action in Higher Education

An introductory overview of Affirmative Action in higher education, based on a brief that I put together for some of our organizational members. Though this is just an introduction, suffice to say, Asian Pacific Americans (statistically) support Affirmative Action, and we, as a community should continue to support it in both higher education, public employment, and contracting.

"You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say you are free to compete with all the others, and still just believe that you have been completely fair." -  President Lyndon Johnson

AN INTRODUCTION TO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICANS

Affirmative action policies in higher education remain a controversial issue in the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. Although affirmative action has provided a pathway for APAs into higher education, some claim that the influx of APA students in higher education and the rate of educational attainment within the APA community have led to AA programs negatively affecting and excluding APA students from selective higher education intuitions. This policy brief provides an overview of affirmative action laws, including disaggregated APA educational data and arguments in favor of and opposing affirmative action.

TERMINOLOGY

Affirmative Action: affirmative action policies are institution based programs that allow for the consideration of race, ethnicity, and sex during the application process. Programs are not limited to admission policies, but can include targeted outreach to specific underrepresented groups, among other individual university programs.

Negative Action: negative action, in this context, refers to policies that prevent or restrict the admission and enrollment of students because of race, ethnicity, or sex due for any variety of reasons. NA can come in the form of admission caps, quotas, and higher test score and GPA requirements, among other things.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Affirmative Action was first mentioned by President John F. Kennedy when he issued Executive Order 10925 on March 6, 1961. This EO included a provision stating that government contractors take “affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed…without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin.”[1]

A few years after, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created under President Lyndon Johnson with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the first federal agency authorized by Congress to promote equal opportunity. President Lyndon B. Johnson then superseded EO 10925 by issuing Executive Order 11246 on September 24, 1965, which prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin by organizations that received federal contracts and subcontracts. EO 11246 was amended in 1967 to include sex.

Affirmative action programs were drastically reduced under President Ronald Regan in the 1980’s. His administration did not require federal contractors to comply with such policies. In 1996, California approved Proposition 206, which made it illegal to consider race, sex, or ethnicity in state employment, contracting, or university admissions. The state of Washington passed Initiative 200 in 1998, which prohibited preferential treatment similar to Proposition 206. Similarly, Michigan passed Proposal 2 in 2006, which also made affirmative action illegal. Nebraska, Arizona, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma have all followed suit and banned affirmative action.                                  

Multiple legal cases have occurred challenging the validity of affirmative action. The selected cases below highlight the most notable challenges to these programs in higher education.

OVERVIEW OF LANDMARK AFFIMATIVE ACTION CASES

Griggs v. Duke Power Company (1971) – The Duke Power Company required that its employees passed an intelligence test or had a high school diploma in order to work in manual labor jobs. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the practice was illegal under the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection” clause. This ruling established both indirect and unintentional discrimination as illegal.

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1968) – SCOTUS ruled that the practice of setting aside a specified number of seats for minority students was unlawful; however, the decision upheld the use of race as one of several factors in the acceptance of qualified applicants on the grounds that diverse student bodies are a compelling state interest.

Gratz v. Bollinger (2003) – The University of Michigan’s undergraduate admission affirmative action policy used a system that assigned point for certain factors, among which underserved races was given an automatic assignment of 20 points out of a total 100 points. In this case, SCOTUS upheld the value of diversity in higher education, but decided that the use of race in the University of Michigan’s undergraduate school was not narrowly tailored enough to achieve the university’s diversity goal.

Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) – In this case, SCOTUS reaffirms Bakke by stating that diverse student bodies are a compelling state interest. They support the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action program on the grounds that its consideration of race is seen merely as a plus among a myriad of other factors. In essence, the law school’s policy was individualistic and holistic, narrowly tailored to fit the diversity goals of the university, unlike the undergraduate policy which acted as a way to insulate underserved raced from other applicants.

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (2013) – Ms. Fisher claimed that she was a victim of racial discrimination because minority students with lower numerical test scores were admitted to the University of Texas. SCOTUS withheld a decision; however, the decision still allowed for the consideration of race in the admissions process, so long as it is “narrowly tailored” to the diversity goals of the institution.

FACTS ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

There are no federal congressional laws or executive orders explicitly regulating affirmative action policies in the application process of public higher education institutions. AA programs vary from university to university. However, legal precedent has established the following:

1.) Diverse student bodies are a compelling state interest[2];

2.) Affirmative Action programs must be narrowly tailored to fit the diversity goals of the university[3];

3.) They can take into account the entirety of an applicant’s background and life experience, including his or her race[4];

4.) Quotas are illegal[5].


[2] Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1968) and Grutter v. Bollinger (2003)

[3] Gratz v. Bollinger (2003)

[4] Grutter v. Bollinger (2003)

[5] Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1968)