DAILY NEWS BRIEF: Human rights activism and controversy

In the news: Google‘s featuring of civil-rights activist Yuri Kochiyama on its home page receives a host of news coverage about the bold advocate for human rights who stirred controversy with her professed sympathies for Malcolm X, Castro, and Bin Laden. Her life-time activism grew out of her experience as one of the Japanese Americans…

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Social responsibility and communal justice

During this highly charged political season, racial and ethnic communities are riled by social issues, some of which allow for easy solidarity but others have created tensions. Immigration reform and the Black Lives Matter movement present the Asian Pacific American community with challenges about one community’s responsibility to support the issues that affect other marginalized…

DAILY NEWS BRIEF: Accusations, independent voters, and photographers

Latest news: The CBS 60 Minutes program devotes a segment on two American citizens –¬†Xiaoxing Xi and¬†Sherry Chen – who were falsely and abruptly charged with spying based on inadequate and erroneous evidence. An opinion piece in U.S News & World Report raises the political problems of treating the Asian American electorate as a monolithic…

CINEMA SUNDAY: Mother & Son in Indiana

Tony Nguyen’s documentary Giap’s Last Day at the Ironing Board Factory is a short personal film about his mother Giap Thi Nguyen. He describes their strained relationship and presents their family story that grew out of a troubled time in American history. Set in Seymour, Indiana, the movie follows Giap’s final day before she retires…

DAILY NEWS BRIEF: Places, names, and faces

In the news: The Chicago Tribune reports that it’s Chinatown community is countering the negative effects of urban gentrification on ethnic neighborhoods by welcoming and supporting new Chinese immigrants. The Washington Post provides historical and cultural context to a recent law passed by Congress, which updates names used in legislation to remove antiquated racist terminology….

CINEMA SUNDAY: Hollywood and racial backlash

Popular entertainment contributes to an American culture that promotes unconscious bias and prejudices. Long-term Hollywood depictions of Asian roles performed by white actors in “oriental” make-up are under attack by a younger generation of Asian Americans who understand the insidious and long-term effects of this still persistent racist practice. [Vox / YouTube] Yellowface is a…

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: History and the challenge of remembering

Rabbi and cantor Angela Buchdahl commemorated Yom HaShoah with a song for her congregation in 2014 (Holocaust Remembrance Day is May 4th this year). She sang about a “history that has no words” and the challenge of remembering “too many names to name, numbers too hard to handle.” Commemorating those who perished in the Holocaust…

TECH TUESDAY: Culture, empathy, and technology leadership

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who replaced Steve Ballmer in 2014, has the challenge to reinvent a former desktop computer technology innovation leader and find strategic success in a mobile, cloud-based, Internet-connected world. Besides the technical challenges, he recognizes the need to address the company’s culture and revive Microsoft’s innovative mind frame to compete with current…

MUSIC MONDAY: When a Prodigy Grows Up

Violinist Midori Goto debuted as an 11 year-old, having been selected by conductor Zubin Mehta to perform with the New York Philharmonic in 1982. She gained further legendary status three years later when she played through two instances of violin strings breaking during a Tanglewood concert with Leonard Bernstein conducting. The New York Times reported…