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tv   Asian Pacific America with Robert Handa  NBC  December 11, 2016 5:30am-6:01am PST

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robert handa, your host for hello and welcome to "asian pacific america." i'm robert handa, your host for our show. we short our program with a topic that generates a lot of emotion. we also talk about pacific islander studies. then an example of how ethnic studies can help pave the way for change and developing leaders i would revisiting the name change of alvarado middle school in union city, those who fought for the change, and why. and then we continue our tradition of showcasing cultural
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performances. i was fortunate to be part of a school system was ethnic studies was just becoming part of the curriculum. there's more aware ness therein there was now. joining us a louis kalahara and also with us is mandy boos a student who has immersed herself in ethnic studies at uc-berkeley. welcome, both of you. >> thank you. >> tell us a little bit about is ethnic studies as valued as it should be in college right now? >> it should be really valuable. it's still relevant. even though you may not think so because with all the diversity in that term, but with all that diversity also we still are having problems, and you being
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in the news business, you know about all these problems with diversity, the racism part to it, this black lives matter movement. >> it's more complex now because when i first started it was almost to introduce people to the contributions and the achievements of the ethnic communities, and now there is more awareness of that, but now it's grown to these other social issues, huh? >> that's correct, that's correct. it's still that element of history and of cultural and tradition, but now other parts now are entering into it. just the discipline and the study of it is getting a little bit more precise. so a little more pinpointed. >> mandy, as a student, how about yourself? how did you immerse yourself so much into it. what made you decide to make it so much a part of what you're doing? >> definitely. i think ethnic studies, you know, i first took an ethnic studies class my first term of college, and i think that was the first and one of the only times where my experience of a
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person of color was validated by education, and it was a way where i was able to finally kind of engage on a deeper level and kind of on a more personal level with the material that we were learning. so for me, i mean, that is what really drew me into the subject and has kind prove pelpropelled continue doing social justice work with a new understanding and comprehension of the issue that is we face and the kind of historical reasons for those. >> is the curriculum of letting nick studies broadening, growing, keeping up with what you want to get out of it. >> i think it is in certain cases. the research being produced now is reflecting on the past 10, 15, 20 years prior to our current moment, so, you know, as time progresses and as, you know, things like the black lives matter movement, all these other movements are taking place, a lot of what will be reflected in academia will be a little bit postponed, so i feel it is expanding, but there is a
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delay in the academic and the scholarly work we're seeing. >> what do you think would be the cop squenss nsequences if i there for students like yourself? >> definitely. i think there would just be a continuation of this process of invisiblizing kind of our community. definitely, definitely. >> lewis, is ethnic studies reaching more than just maybe students who are interested in their own kind of personal lives, their own culture. is it broaden, is it spreading awareness to mainstream white students and other students outside of those students? >> yes. because now understanding that everybody doesn't just live in small little areas, especially in the bay area where our population is so diverse, even though we still have these little ethnic enclaves and pockets of ethnic communities, but it's not only people of color. you get into gender, then you
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get into other things that are happening here, you know, so it's social economical. so there's a lot of differences. >> where do you want to see ethnic studies go? what direction should it go in? how should it change and evolve in the future? >> as mandy was mentioning about the social justice part to it. i think and for an ethnic studies major, that would be something that we would want to push for, just for the equality of people, of all of us. >> and a way to apply it, huh? >> right. >> into different professions. >> how do you, mandy, how do you plan to apply it? >> i see myself bringing kind of a kind of more critical framework, one that kind of recognizes these underlying power dynamics that are usually somewhat subverted and i'll need to apply it to real life lived experiences but also hopefully gaining some type of law' agree and working with communities of
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color where the institutional reasons for disenfranchise can be illuminated and challenge. >> are you the exception for the rule? are you seeing a lot of students like yourself around you? >> i see a lot of students utilizing this educational framework into their social justice work, into just their family lives, into kind of raising the future generation that is able to xre helped our histories in a more fuller way. >> is ethnic studying go to keep evolving? >> i hope so. just like anything, you know, it should evolve, it should change, it should find another place to go, wherever that is. >> as we were talking about education application. >> right. >> both of you. thank you very much for being here. very interesting. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. so how do pacific islanders fit into all of this? have they been a part of it enough? should they be in it more? that's coming up next. since the early days when
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'ethnic studies' started..the scope has broadened so much...we wondered if since the early days when ethnic studies started, the scope has broadened so much we wondered if all ethnic groups benefit and specifically pacific islanders. we me is the coordinator of critical pacific islands and oceana studiestudies. welcome. >> thank you for having me. >> tell me about the programs you teach, especially ones no focus so much on pacific islanders. >> thank you so much for this opportunity. so the city college of san francisco and the college of sansan mat mateo, what we have done with student input and what's driving the formation of pacific studies in these two colleges are student demand in more courses that study and focus on the
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pacific, but my coming there and being employed there as a professor and as a scholar was not only about just to develop curriculum or just to have a course in pacific studies. part of the design of these two certificate programs was to create a program that could help students not only take courses in which they can study their culture, feel happy about who they are and help them think about how they process their identities, but also develop a program that allows students to take courses to fulfill ge areas, and that would help students to help them transfer to the csus or the uc system, fulfill ge areas, and also make sure we can increase the retention rates of pacific islander students and also decrease the dropout rates. >> right. >> you probably are very aware and familiar with this, but pacific islanders, our
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indigenous communities, pacific islanders and native americans, have the highest drop out rates and the lowest retention rates across community colleges in the state of california. >> and also too making the ge class helps broaden it to keep -- so that other people can also take advantage of using it. >> definitely, right. and, of course, these programs are not just for pacific islanders students, although the focus is on -- although the curriculum is geared towards the cultures and the studies of pacific peoples and ways of life, but really it's also an opportunity for even nonpacific islander students and students also who are taking courses in other majors to participate and also, you know, come into the courses and learn more about this very, very understudied region. >> and from my experience actually, those students who come in, they want to hear it from that point of view. they're not coming in to hear some objective history class. they want to hear about that point of view of the culture, that perspective from the
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culture, but for the students who are demanding it, what were they looking for or what did they feel was lacking that they wanted to be fulfilled by these kind of classes? >> well, two things i think students were very much demanding in these colleges. number one, a community. and for pacific islander, cultu culture, the concept of the family or the concept of the ocean is very connective to these communities. part of the challenge is how to you change the structure of academia to be able to incorporate or at least allow the system or the academic institution to embrace a kind of community that would support these students? but it doesn't end there. students don't only want to come to the institution so that they have a place to hang out and study. but they also were demanding courses that studied their cultures, and a lot of the students that were demanding this are students that are stateside born here in the united states.
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these are students who have rarely gone home or have not been born in the homeland in places like tonga or hawaii or guam or in fiji or in hawaii. so these students were interested in us creating courses that made sure they could help them create a community in the community college that they're attending. and i have to say, robert, that, you know, city colleges san francisco and college of san mateo are the only two community colleges in the state of california and outside of the state of hawaii that has official pacific studies programs. the bay area is leading the way in this development in the field. >> and my wife is guamanian so she wants to see this happen. paul and i were students together and we started an asian
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student clubs. we had to call it the asian-american student club to make people feel inclusive. you had mentioned before you were maybe a little uncomfortable having pacific island he ers lumped into those categories. >> at that time it might have been useful, but i think one thing to remember is communities evolve, right? cultures change, and then you have newer generations of students, and so what's happening is that the asian-american label, you know, or the asian-american, asian pacific-american label can no longer address the issue that is pacific islander students who identify themselves as indigenous communities, that label can no longer address those things. what ends up happening over time is the label ends up making invisible, right, making invisible these students, so the students feel that they're not included, but this is also apparent in my own studies in asian-american studies in which,
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you know, it's a great field but very little of it focuses on the pacific, and so you have community leaders that have been arguing for almost made 40, 50 years for the separation of this label, and then you have students in the recent 2000s that are also advocating for new programs in pacific studies. so i think as an ocean, they're coming together. >> i certainly understand that perspective. yeah. we use it to kind of be inclusive, not to be one single term. thank you very much for being here, and good luck. i hope that evolution continues there. >> thank you so much. >> all right. next, wie show an example o someone who used his ethnic studies experience and used it to make a change in the community. that's coming up. - hi, it's me. [imitates fanfare]
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movement in union city that led a middle welcome back. we recently featured a community involvement in union city that led to a school being renamed led by a student currently majoring in asian american studies. we me is kevin, a movement
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leader in the renaming of alvarado middle school. thank you very much for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> we have talked a little bit about this before and we did a story on this before. let's take a look at that and then we'll talk afterwards. >> sure. >> it was once known as alvarado middle school to honor juan ba tease toe alvarado a 19th century governor but some community leaders pointed out there was already an elementary school and two streets and a park named after him and that began a community movement and strong to rename the school one that some leaders saw as an opportunity to represent the filipino population in union city. >> union city is almost 20% filipino, filipino-american. if you look at the school district itself, it's just a little bit more. it really was an opportunity for folks to come in and have something that represents a community. >> numerous community groups
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rallied around the idea and it eventually got the support of some county and state politicians. >> it was a huge collaborative effort. it wasn't just one section or one part of our community. it was community members from parents to students to staff to board members. >> a significant factor was the number of young people who got involved in the cause and one student designed a new logo with crucial symbolism. >> the scale symbolizes the equality they fought for and the field in the back symbolizes how they were farm workers and they fought for the labor movement. >> the movement then started to incorporate the history of the filipino farm workers in the farm labor movement, a story that up until then was dominated by the long shadow of caesar chavez. >> we were able to kind of be able to accelerate the movement, the united farm workers but really acknowledge the part that the filipino laborers had to do
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with that movement. >> and that led to the eventual naming of the school after two filipino-american farm workers and itliong veracruz school seemed to rejuvenate school spirit. >> we are the first to be named after two labor leaders. >> even though they didn't get a lot of recognition they were still humble enough and we get to carry that legacy as well. we keep fighting and we'll struggle, about you but it has together. >> you have aged very well since then. give me an idea, how did that experience change your perspective? >> it was crazy. i think that the idea of renaming the school after filipino-americans was a big deal, and it definitely was, but i think learning more about the history of how these men were
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marginalized in u.s. history, i think that had a bigger feeling toward me to really honor these men.influence. >> yeah. we didn't think we would make history, but after looking at the significance of this movement that has been going on, you know, i feel that, you know -- >> did it change your attitude toward ethnic studies? >> yeah, definitely. i think it gave me a sense of empowerment to know that, you know, there are folks out there that came before me that sort of laid the groundwork for me and my experiences here. >> and that wasn't something that you learned about in school very often, huh? >> no, no, no. this was something that came about in my filipino heritage class, and the experiences i learned in that class transferred all the way to san francisco state and so, you know -- >> tell me a little bit about
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what's happening at san francisco state. we've been reading about it and people have been following it. brief overview in terms of what's happening there and how it's impacting you as a student. >> right now there has been a lot of facing of budget cuts that have been going along in terms of the college of ethnic studies. they were trying to fire or not -- they're trying to take out two lecturers, if i recall. >> for you, how has it affected you as a student or has it? >> it affects me because, you know, when i wanted to go to sf state, it was the mecca of ethnic studies. the college of ethnic studies was created there and the longest student strike was at sf state and that led to the creation of clollege of ethnic studies. in my opinion it's not a smart move to take away something that the students and all the folks that were involved with the third world liberation front who fought so hard to get ethnic studies, it's kind of -- how do i put this? >> shortchanges people, huh? >> i feel like it's d
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disrespecting them and their history. >> it's great to see somebody who has taken that and gone further to become kind of a leader. appreciate you being here. >> thank you. >> congratulations on your achievements to date. >> thank you so much. >> all right. well, when we return, an original performance from an original artist. fina love is up next. usual tradition of showcasing
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artistic and cultural and welcome back. and now our artistic cultural performance from fina love. ♪
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>> and that's it for our show. please join us again next week and every week here on "asian pacific america." and now we go out with a little bit more from fina love. thanks for watching. ♪
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a great honor. it means a lot. >> after a few week s taking selfies in the wood. >> godspeed, john glenn. >> justice hasn't been served yet. good morning. welcome to sunday today. i'm willie geist. donald trump won't be sworn in as president for more than a month, but he's already fighting with his top intelligence agency. mocking the cia over its reports the russian government did in fact interfere with the presidential election and did so to help trump win. did putin really sway the vote, and why is trump taking on

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