Protesting the Occupy LA Movement

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Protesters march into the Occupy LA encampment on the south lawn of City Hall on Friday night. Besides adding their support for the 99 percent movement, the Asian Pacific Islanders wanted to draw attention to what they say is a lack of diversity in Occupy Los Angeles. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

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By GWEN MURANAKA
RAFU ENGLISH EDITOR IN CHIEF

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“We are the 99 percent!” shouted Asian Pacific Islanders adding their voices on Friday evening to the Occupy Los Angeles protest movement that has set up camp in front of City Hall.

A group of more than 100 gathered in Little Tokyo at the Japanese American National Museum plaza to protest unemployment and economic inequality, but also to share their concerns about the Occupy LA movement itself. Friday’s protest, publicized on Tumbler and Facebook, was an opportunity for Asian Pacific Islanders to get involved.

Ding Kong addresses protesters in the plaza of the Japanese American National Museum prior to their march to City Hall. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

“I’m here to express solidarity with the API community and make sure our presence is known in the movement,” said Sunyoung Lee. “I was initially skeptical about it from the perception that it wasn’t very diverse.”

The group headed up First Street carrying signs and chanting to the honks of some passing cars. Before the march, they gathered in a circle at JANM to share their thoughts about the protest.

Ding Kong, who has been regularly visiting the Occupy LA site, told the crowd that there were few minorities involved in the protest movement.

“The scene has changed so much, at the beginning when it was very representative of Los Angeles and activists in LA, to now to one where I really don’t know anybody who is there,” said Kong.

He remained hopeful for the potential that protest of Wall Street and Los Angeles could foster change in society.

“There is no one demand and because it’s so open, it allows it to be a very diverse movement that has a lot of possibilities for racial justice and for addressing issues that are never addressed such as the struggles of working-class communities of color, queers, and women,” said Kong.

As they entered the Occupy LA camp, organizer Daniel Hyun carried a sign written in Chinese that said, “Where is my American dream?”

Hyun said the gathering was an opportunity for Asians to come together to come up with a set of demands for the 99 percent. The API group plans to talk about the next steps in their movement during a conference call on Wednesday.

“It is a good opportunity to have us come together. Little Tokyo was a perfect place given that it was so close to City Hall and very symbolic,” said Hyun.

For more information on the API Occupy LA movement, visit http://apioccupyla.tumblr.com/

 

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4 Comments

  1. ‘where’s my Asian dream’? Are you kidding? We (USA) GAVE the Vietnam refugees a home! The Japanese make their own destiny ( not reliant on hand outs), I could go on…. The ones participating in thus hoax have either memory loss, are ungrateful to their parents and country, or are not real Americans! People wake up! This occupy thing is a minipulation of the masses. Beware! They are trying to tear our country apart! Who ‘they’ are, I dint know.

  2. The headline made me think they were conservatives protesting against Occupy.

    I’m glad to see that Asian Americans are participating and demanding to be heard.

    And Lm, the last time I checked, “real Americans” have always had the right to protest, and Americans frequently have protested against social and racial inequality without “tearing our country apart.”

  3. I agree with James Fujita, the headline makes it sound like Asian Americans are “Protesting the Occupy LA Movement” rather than being participants in the movement.

  4. Thanks PV, I appreciate your comment. There was this strong sense during the gathering that APIs are not represented in the Occupy movement. So there was a feeling of solidarity with the goals of Occupy LA, but also definite criticism that it hasn’t reached out to minorities, thus the headline. There’s more on the API Occupy LA movement at http://apioccupyla.tumblr.com/

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