Columbus’s favorite daughter, Christine Chen was recently named by the
Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) National board to become the
new executive director for OCA . Christine
has been director of programs for the past six years and has been
active in promoting the
Gates Millennium scholarship program,
voter registration and
education programs and census participation.
the past two years, Ms. Chen has run the OCA College
Leadership Program that has trained over 1,200 Asian
Pacific American (APA) students nationwide. In addition to
her duties for OCA, she currently serves as Chair of the Asian
Pacific Islander American Vote campaign (APIAVote) and sits on the boards of
the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), Youth Vote
2000, and the Midwest Asian American Students Union (MAASU).
She was featured in Newsweek magazine this past January as one of fifteen “women who will shape America’s new century.”
work at the grassroots and national levels has established her as one of the
strongest voices in the APA community. She is well known by local activists
across the country and by the civil rights community in Washington, DC; her
commitment is unquestioned and her abilities are apparent.
we started the nationwide search for our Executive Director, we wanted to find
the best and brightest individual for that position,” said George M. Ong,
OCA National President. “We are confident and very pleased that Christine
Chen is that person for OCA during these exciting and challenging times for
Asian Pacific Americans.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to take on this responsibility for an organization as large and respected as OCA,” remarked Christine Chen, OCA Executive Director. “I will try to follow the example that Daphne Kwok set in her ten years in the position and continue to bring OCA to new and greater heights.”
For immediate release:
September 12, 2001
For details, contact:
John Tateishi, National Executive Director
San Francisco: After a three-year effort by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) to change the name of a five thousand foot mountain five miles from Pocatello, Idaho, the United States Board on Geographic Names (USBGN) unanimously approved a petition on September 5th to change the name from “Chinks Peak” to “Chinese Peak.”
The board, meeting in Boise as part of a national conference of state and federal agencies, received public comment on the issue, and in an unusual move, voted to approve the change.
Micki Kawakami of the Pocatello-Blackfoot JACL chapter, stated that "the (vote) was an exhilarating surprise, as the board had repeatedly cautioned us that they normally do not vote on any issue during the same meeting at which public input is presented."
Kawakami, who led the effort throughout the three-year battle, headed up the Concerned Citizens of Pocatello, a coalition group that sought the name change.
"In advocating for the elimination of hatred and promotion of racial justice, my city along with a number of other Idaho cities supports the name change," stated Greg Anderson, mayor of Pocatello. He added, "We, the Mayors of Idaho Cities, are firmly committed to and supportive of changing geographic place names considered to be offensive and derogatory by Idaho's cultural and ethnic groups - to those which honor and respect all Idaho citizens."
Opposition to the proposed name change was voiced by Jeff Ford, chairman of the Idaho Geographic Names Advisory Council, a powerful voice in the debate. Ford argued that changing the name would “set a dangerous precedent” because “these people want to sanitize history.” He added that his Advisory Council would be considering requests to drop the use of “squaw” and “papoose” in similar situations, which Ford labeled as “absolute garbage.”
Karen Yoshitomi, JACL Regional Director in the Northwest, was joined by Russell Joe of the Issaquah City Council in Western Washington, in pointing out that the USBGN’s own policy specifically prohibits usage of names that are determined by the board to be derogatory to particular racial or ethnic groups.
Yoshitomi pointed to the historic contributions of the early Chinese pioneers in Idaho and the importance of recognizing those contributions as an integral part of American history. The use of the offensive word “chink” serves to dehumanize ethnic Chinese and perpetuate a stereotype of Asians as foreigners.
Most members of the board expressed their agreement with the petitioner's argument for changing the name and indicated their willingness to address the motion rather than defer action until their next meeting, a departure from normal practice.
After the unanimous vote, Kawakami stated that she was “thrilled by the quick and decisive decision by the board” and that she was “even a bit surprised, because at times it seemed so tough for what started out to be a small group of concerned citizens to stay the course over the years and to get through all of the administrative hoops at the state and federal levels."
For Immediate Release - July 21, 2001
Washington, DC - The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) is deeply troubled by the alleged behavior of the Seattle Police Department for racially profiling 14 Asian Pacific Americans (APA) on July 9.
Members of an APA youth group and their instructors were stopped for jaywalking by an officer who allegedly screamed, "Do you know how to cross the street?" He then lined them up against a wall and detained them for 45 minutes, reportedly asking them several times if they spoke English, despite being told they were Americans. By the time three more officers arrived, some of the youths were crying.
"This kind of treatment is terribly upsetting," said George M. Ong, OCA National President. "The police are supposed to serve and protect, not harass and humiliate. How can we trust the police if things like this keep happening? OCA urges the Seattle Police Department to launch a full investigation of these allegations and if they find misconduct on the part of the officers, they must be castigated appropriately."
"The Greater Seattle chapter is outraged at the alleged use of racial profiling on these youth," stated Wang Yung, OCA-Greater Seattle President. "We hope that incidents like this will be avoided in the future through the implementation of better screening and training in the Seattle Police Department. The APA community in Seattle will not stand for this type of discrimination."
"Racial profiling is un-American, but all too common," remarked Christine Chen, OCA Executive Director. "It can affect us on any level at any time. APAs are the perpetual foreigners; people take one look at APAs and automatically assume that we are not from this country and are unable to speak the language. From students to members of Congress, our community has had to deal with unfair assumptions from all directions for too long. This type of discrimination is unacceptable and OCA will continue to educate and advocate on behalf of the community on this issue."
For Immediate Release - July 19, 2001
The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) extends its deepest condolences to the family of Thung Phetakoune, a Laotian American man who was fatally attacked in a hate crime in Newmarket, New Hampshire on Monday.
Phetakoune was tragically killed when 35-year old white male Richard Labbe attacked him in a parking lot; the assailant was involved in a dispute over an eviction notice with the property manager, who was also Asian Pacific American (APA).
According to witnesses - including the assailant's teenaged son - Labbe attacked Phetakoune without provocation during an anti-Asian tirade; he was mortally wounded when his head struck the pavement.
Phetakoune was in his 70s, but told people he was 62 so he could work to financially care for his ailing wife. The attacker later mentioned the Vietnam War to the police, saying "those Asians killed Americans, and you won't do anything about it, so I will . . . call it payback." Ironically, Phetakoune had served in the Vietnam War for Laos, fighting side-by-side with Americans.
Officials in New Hampshire will consider whether to upgrade the second-degree assault charge and to use the New Hampshire hate crime statute that would increase the perpetrator's sentence if convicted.
OCA encourages all concerned citizens to contact the New Hampshire Attorney General immediately to urge the state to prosecute the case under the hate crime statute:
"Our thoughts are with the Phetakoune family during this difficult time," said George M. Ong, OCA National President. "This heinous crime reminds us all how easily hate can slip into our daily lives and affect an entire community. It saddens me that every time we feel our society is becoming increasingly tolerant, a tragic hate crime like this reminds us just how far we have to go. It is imperative that the perpetrator is charged under the hate crimes statute, which would enhance his penalty if convicted."
"As Americans, we must make it known that we will not stand for this type of ignorance and hatred any more," remarked Christine Chen, OCA Executive Director. "The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act would help the federal government investigate and prosecute reprehensible crimes like this. The tragic loss of Mr. Phetakoune's life is even more evidence that bias violence remains one of our country's biggest problems; OCA encourages all Americans to support the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act and send a message to our officials in government that hate crimes still have the power to devastate an entire community and we need federal legislation to protect all Americans immediately."
acting director of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission was chosen for the job on
a permanent basis after filling in since his predecessor resigned during an
investigation of her spending practices.
commissioners unanimously chose G. Michael Payton, who has served as the
agency’s chief legal council and director of regional operations since 1997.
He was named acting director in January when former Executive Director Melanie
Mitchell was placed on administrative leave. A review by the Ohio Inspector
General’s Office questioned her use of office telephones for personal phone
calls, exorbitant travel expenses and raises she granted herself and
Chairman Aaron Wheeler said Mr. Payton was chosen over several candidates
because he has been able to build a solid relationship with the OCRC staff and
the office’s government partners, the Attorney General’s Office and the
Ohio Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “The other commissioners and I
truly believe we have the number one draft choice in the field of civil
rights,” Mr. Wheeler said. “The governor and the OCRC commissioners can
sleep well at night knowing Michael is running the ship.”
Payton previously served as an assistant attorney general and worked in the
real estate office at the Ohio Department of Transportation. He received his
bachelor’s degree in political science from The Ohio State University and
his law degree from Georgetown University.
Organization of Chinese Americans - Columbus Chapter
updated: Friday, May 21, 2004|
Provided by Asiawind.com, InTechTra, Inc. Free to link. Contact: web adminstrator