One of the interviewees was Sumi Sevilla Haru, who came with a copy of her book, Iron Lotus: Memoirs of Sumi Sevilla Haru, and stacks of notes and historical archives in tow. I learned a lot about her groundbreaking work in support of Asian Americans and people of color in Hollywood. Sadly, news broke that she passed away on October 16, 2014 at the age of 75.
From the Hollywood Reporter:
Sumi Sevilla Haru, who served as interim president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1995, has died. She was 75.
Haru became a SAG member in 1968 and joined AFTRA in 1972. She served as a national board member for both throughout the years, and was the first and only woman of color to serve as interim president of SAG. She was elected to a two-year term as a member of the national board to the merged SAG-AFTRA in 2013.
“It is with great sadness that our SAG-AFTRA family says goodbye to Sumi Haru,” said SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard. “Sumi notably represented SAG-AFTRA and its predecessor unions for decades on our local and national boards, and as Screen Actors Guild recording secretary and interim president. Sumi served our members through her lifelong dedication to actors, the labor movement, and civil rights and equal employment. She did that with conviction, passion and grace. Our deepest condolences go out to her loved ones. We will miss her.”
In 1995, she became the first Asian Pacific American to hold the position of national vice president of the AFL-CIO, a role she filled for six years. In 2009, SAG honored her with the Ralph Morgan Award, which was given for distinguished service to SAG’s Hollywood Division.
Haru was the author of the 2012 memoir Iron Lotus: Memoirs of Sumi Sevilla Haru. She was born in Orange, N.J.
Photo credit: SAG-AFTRA
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Living in California, I almost forgot that there is an Asian American running for governor for the state – Indian American candidate Neel Kashkari. If his name sounds familiar, it’s most likely that you’ve heard of Kashkari due to his involvement in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), where he administered the funds.
If you ever want to see someone grilled in a Congressional hearing and take a lot of heat, you need to see Kashkari on C-SPAN during the oversight hearing. I remember my brother and I watching this for a while and amazed at how much of a beating Kashkari took.
I am fairly confident that Kashkari has 0% chance of winning against Governor Jerry Brown, who is running for re-election (which will be his *fourth* time being elected to governor). California is a fairly Democratic state and Kashkari has very little name recognition. Also, I think the voters of California realize that Brown is governor for the right reasons – because he loves the state of California, and at his age, could have retired a long time ago and has nothing to prove.
I had partially listened to the one and only debate between Kashkari and Brown, and it was sort of entertaining and sort of sad, where Kashkari repeatedly try to attack Brown. But most voters are happy that Brown has been able to stabilize the California state budget, pissing off both Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature, to attack some of the major issues that California faces.
To be honest, I’m not sure why Kashkari would want to be a sacrificial lamb to run against Brown. Maybe there were no other Republican candidates that could partially self-finance their campaign and knowingly would want to lose? Like I’m saying, it’s not whether or not Brown will win, but by what margin.
— Books Inc. (@BooksIncEvents) August 15, 2014
As featured on NPR’s Code Switch, Illustrator Sonny Liew and accomplished writer and graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang collaborate to bring the “Green Turtle” back to life in The Shadow Hero, and with an Asian American based origin story no less.
— Gene Luen Yang (@geneluenyang) July 25, 2014
If you want a really quick run-down of Chinese American history, you can read this article on the exhibit in New York City, brought to you by the New York Historical Society, featured in the New York Times. Entitled “Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion”, the exhibit will run up until April 19, 2015.
I’m dying to go to this exhibit, as I am both a history geek and it would also be awesome research for my COWBOY NINJA series. Sadly, I probably will not be able to make it out to New York in time, so if any of you on the East Coast do go, please do tell us how it is!
The second Ebola patient is a 26-year old Texan and Vietnamese American named Nina Pham. She’s a nurse who treated the first ebola patient, and she is featured on CNN.
Just an #ordinary #family pursuing the #American #Dream… #FreshOffTheBoat is coming soon to ABC!
NPR released a list of shows this fall that feature Asian Americans. Check them out:
1. ABC’s “Selfie” – John Cho
2. CBS’s “Battle Creek” – Kal Penn
3. CBS’s “Stalker” – Maggie Q
4. CBS’s “Scorpion” – Justin Lin
5. ABC’s “Fresh of the Boat” – Eddie Huang, Randall Park, et al.
From Totally Biased:
Over 500 years later and Christopher Columbus is still the bane of Indians everywhere (and we mean everywhere). Never one to let injustice go unchecked, Hari Kobdabolu appeals to Italians to embrace a new hero.
Happy Joe DiMaggio Day, everyone!
(On a related note, I miss Totally Biased.)
Taiwan overall is a tea lover’s paradise. If you didn’t already know, I’m quite the tea lover. So being able to go on a hike up and around tea farms was a special treat.
Enjoying the beauty of tea farms and the idyllic mountain environment makes it pretty easy to understand what makes high mountain tea so delicious on a poetic level. It’s as if the leaves are infused with the very beauty of the wind, water, air, and land of this otherworldly environment, and somehow that is infused in the taste of tea grown there. Now, when I drink my favorite Taiwan high mountain oolong or green tea, the taste is more magnificent as it now evokes the elegant views and zen serenity of the place they came from.
NPR reports yet another state courting the Asian American vote. As the fastest growing minority in the state, Asian Americans are now 5% of the state and make up significant voting blocks in certain communities. The two ads here are in Korean, airing on Korean language channels in the state.
I was thrilled when the Invicta FC 8 date was announced, but I was especially excited to be able to support some the Asian American women that were on the card, among them the headliner Waterson and the newly Invicta-signed Jinh Yu Frey. This whole event was really great, and such a deal with the UFC Fight Pass.
It was cool to see that Frey would be fighting Jodie Esquibel, who is actually coming out of Jackson’s MMA, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jackson’s is not just one of the top MMA gyms in the world, it is also currently one of the meccas of women’s MMA, with the likes of Michelle Waterson, Julie Kedzie, and Holly Holm. I had high expectations for both fighters and really looked forward to a great fight.
The fight was definitely exciting, and I enjoyed the chance to really see both women in action in a full fight. The two of them looked absolutely gorgeous, and by gorgeous, I mean their arms look like chiseled works of art.
To cut to the chase, Esquibel won the bout by a split decision between the judges, and not being too perceptive, I just wrung my hands, happy for Esquibel but disappointed for Frey. However, a comment from a fellow MMA fan made me think that the split decision may not have been a well-called one. Split decisions are always tricky and controversial, and the fight was definitely a close call, but I really started questioning the results and am now leaning toward the verdict that Frey probably should have won that one. Here’s why.
While he jokes about possible endorsements in the above video, Jeremy Lin revealed in a recent interview that he turned down millions in endorsements during Linsanity. The reason? He wanted to focus on basketball. You might think “no big deal,” but he says that the endorsement money would have been bigger than his salary, including his upcoming $14 million dollar season.
Lin says in that interview that he has been given a talent by God, and that he should concentrate on developing it. Completely separate from his views of God, I think an excellent point can be learned from this about focus and opportunity. The window to play professional basketball is not very large, and later in life, he might regret being distracted by overdoing off-court activities like endorsement activities and not giving basketball his best possible effort. If the opportunity of a lifetime comes up, seize it with both hands, as reaching for other things might let it slip from one’s grasp. That’s a great lesson not just about basketball but for life in general.
It’s hard to feel sorry for Lin, who has gotten a large contract (some say too large) and done endorsements like Volvo and recently signed with Adidas. He doesn’t seem the type to squander his money like Alan Iverson, and he is unselfish enough to have set up a charitable foundation. He does seem to indulge in videos, vines, and other social media, but some of these efforts seem to also business oriented. His YouTube channel with 400,000 subscribers recently joined the Whistle Sports Network. One would think that his years at Harvard would have trained him to manage his time well.
It could be that life in LA might prove to be a distraction, but it looks like Lin understands this and even jokes about it. The upcoming 2014-2015 season will show whether his focus pays off.
I had the privilege to attend the only debate (at least in the press pool at NBC Bay Area) this fall between candidate Ro Khanna and Congressman Mike Honda, who is running for re-election for California’s 17th Congressional District in November. Due to California’s new open primary season, these two Democrats are facing each other after the June primary. For those into Democratic politics, this is the debate that politicos are watching. The San Francisco Chronicle nicely summarized my thoughts on the debate:
“Honda, who was often on defense, didn’t deliver the kind of crisp, practiced answers that Khanna frequently recited by rote during the televised debate — many of them the same lines he uses on the campaign stump. Unlike Khanna, who looked into the camera and often was on the attack during the debate in a TV studio in San Jose, Honda sometimes lapsed into political speak. But Honda strongly and repeatedly defended his record as one of delivering millions of dollars in projects — like BART to San Jose, a matter he repeatedly referenced — and his assists on issues like the founding of a patent office in San Jose. Khanna was careful to avoid personal attacks on Honda, whom he repeatedly praised as a good man and lawmaker. But he slammed the congressman’s record and even his attendance in the House.”
Overall, I thought Khanna was clearly a more energetic, better speaker and debater that also likes to be wonkish and is comfortable in front of the camera.