Student Activism & The Emergence of Asia American Studies

Edited by: Russell Jeung, Karen Umemoto, Harvey Dong, Eric Mar,

Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani, Arnold Pan



This book shares the narratives of nine remarkable students. For each of these Asian Americans, their ethnic heritages and racialized experiences, their family backgrounds, their education, and the social movements of their day intersected so that they became agents of change. Specifically, they organized and mobilized fellow students and community members to establish and further Asian American Studies (AAS) on their campuses. AAS has since grown not only to offer a relevant curriculum for and about these students, but also to help develop and empower their communities. With accounts of the development of AAS at San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley, and UCLA, Mountain Movers highlights how students have changed the course of history.

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IRENE DEA COLLIER, SF State University, immigrated to the United States from Hoiping in Guangdong Province, China in 1953. After helping establish some of the first Asian American studies classes and campus-to-community connections, Collier became an active leader in the Association of Chinese Teachers (TACT) and the director of Wah Mei School, San Francisco's 1st bilingual preschool, championing language equality and multilingual education in our school systems.

Oral History



HARVEY DONG, UC Berkeley, is a second generation Chinese American who was active in AAPA, TWLF-UC Berkeley, Asian Community Center and was active in the struggle to save the International Hotel. He currently teaches Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley and is active in running Eastwind Books of Berkeley as a community bookstore.

Oral History



HOLLY RANA LIM, SF State University, immigrated to the US from the Philippines when she was four year old and grew up with her single mother in neighborhoods of Los Angeles, Montebello and Pico Rivera. With degrees in Political Science/Law and Society from UC Riverside and an MA in Asian American Studies from SFSU she has taught Asian American Studies at local colleges and is focused on tenants’ rights and fundraising as the Board Vice President for Filipino Advocates for Justice.Today, as Director of Public Allies SF/Silicon Valley, she trains, inspires and empowers young activists as a community leader and a campaign organizer.


Oral History



JEFF MORI, SF State University, grew up in San Francisco’s Richmond district, worked as Executive Director of the Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC), an organization that he helped co-found, and later as director of SF’s Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth and Their Families. With his unique understanding of politics and community, he also built Asian American Recovery Services Inc., (AARS).


Oral History



PSharma

PREETI SHARMA, UCLA, grew up in South Florida and attended the University of Florida before entering graduate school at UCLA. As a master's student in the UCLA Department of Asian American Studies, Sharma became involved in a wide array of Los Angeles-area Asian American community organizations, including Khmer Girls in Action, South Asian Network, and Chinatown Community for Equitable Development. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Gender Studies; her research is focused on the roles of South Asian American and Vietnamese American women in the beauty industry.


Oral History



Tolentino

CASIMIRO TOLENTINO, UCLA, was born in Manila and migrated to Los Angeles at the age of ten. He became involved in the Asian American movement as a UCLA student. Tolentino has had a long career in law, working as an attorney for the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board and Department of Fair Employment and Housing, among other organizations, as well as serving as Administrative Law Judge for the State of California. His contributions to Asian American non-profit organizations have been numerous, playing crucial roles with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (now Asian Americans Advancing Justice-L.A.) and Visual Communications.

 

Oral History



NKAUJ IAB YANG, UC Berkeley, is Director of California Policy and Programs for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). She works closely with Southeast Asian American led and serving organizations throughout California to build a statewide Southeast Asian American equity agenda. Nkauj Iab spent the last 11 years committed to youth organizing and youth development work both in Sacramento and Oakland.


Oral History



AMY UYEMATSU, UCLA, a Sansei born in Pasadena, California, took part in the Asian American movement during the late '60s. During that time, she joined the staff of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, working as a researcher, publications coordinator, and instructor; she was also a co-editor of the seminal collection Roots: An Asian American Reader(1971). Uyematsu became a well-known poet, while working as a high school mathematics teacher in the Los Angeles area.

 

Oral History