- Have you heard?!? Some folks are trying to open a bar in Oakland called Geisha. Yep, you read that right (sadly, this is not a joke). And sadly, the planning commission (a different group of folks who proposed the nail salon ordinance that I'd previously blogged about) approved the bar. However, Diana Pei Wu, an ethnic studies lecturer/professor at UC Berkeley (and friend) wrote a very eloquent argument as to why this name sucks. Read the full letter here at Angry Asian Man. Folks at Asian Pacific Americans for Progress blogged about it here and here (this is from Diana herself). I am almost reluctant to write about this because I've already written about something Oakland-related recently, and I don't want to bash poor Oakland any further. But this one deserves a good bashing. Interestingly, Diana reveals that both the biz owner and partner of the Geisha bar identify as Asian. Also interestingly, she says that the one no vote and the abstain vote are both from women of color. The yesses were all men, two African American and two white, per Diana's account. Hmm, something to think about.
- If you are on the internets, you have probably already seen this sad video of two women (one Chinese, one black) fighting on the MUNI bus in San Francisco. It was posted on YouTube, then blogged about (and posted on Facebook ad nauseum), and picked up by local media. I really don't have much more to say about this other than that I felt pretty sad after watching it. (Also, I thought to myself that the woman who essentially broke up the fight is either a student or a teacher/someone who works with young people. But I am stereotyping based on the way she looks and also how she broke up the fight). Oh yeah, and also I hope that MUNI fixes their cameras and that bus riders unite (and help stop fights!).
- In happier news, KoreAm has a new, spiffy website, IAmKoreAm.
- In not so positive news, it looks like California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed Senate Bill 549. What the heck is SB 549, you ask, since you've probably never heard of it. Essentially, it was a proposal to collect gender, ethnicity and language preference statistics of nail salon workers/cosmetologists in the state of California. As the legislature wrote, "Collecting data on the gender, language preference, and ethnicity of establishment licensees and board licensees will help ensure that appropriate health and safety information is effectively provided to affected licensees."
- And a public memorial for Gina Hotta has been set for October 25th at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center in Chinatown. Claire has updated her post with details here.
Reconsider Columbus Day -- and Then Some
Momo Chang is the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media, and freelances for magazines, online publications, and weeklies. Her writings focus on Asian American communities, communities of color, and youth culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Her stories range from uncovering working conditions in nail salons, to stories about “invisible minorities” like Tongan youth and Iu Mien farmers. She has freelances The New York Times, WIRED, and East Bay Express, among other publications.