Miya Iwataki was a college student in the mid-1960s when she stumbled onto a meeting of the Brown Berets in a South Los Angeles bar that set her on a lifelong mission of activism. She dropped out of school to work for the United Farm Workers and later helped secure reparations for Japanese Americans imprisoned in internment camps during World War II.
She realized Asian Americans shared many of the same struggles as Black and Latino people and could use those activist movements as models to create a powerful one of their own. Even though Asian activism has claimed important victories over the years, it has at times seemed largely episodic, struggling to gain the same critical mass.
Now, a new generation is fighting to blow up the myth of the “model minority,” condemn anti-Asian racism and create a sustained movement to end more than a century and a half of bigotry and marginalization.
The Black Lives Matter protests last summer inspired many young Asian Americans to coalesce in this effort, as did a surge of anti-Asian hate fueled by then-President Trump and his supporters calling the coronavirus “the China virus.” The shooting deaths of six Asian women in the Atlanta area last week, after which a 21-year-old white man has been charged, hardened their resolve, while bringing fresh, national outrage to this enduring blight.
Read the full story at LATimes.com.