2016 - The Year That Launched A Movement

Suzanne Kai

December 29, 2016

ASIAN AMERICAN DEMONSTRATORSPhoto: Asian American Demonstrators San Francisco Bay Area Circa 1968 

2016 will go down in history as the year that sparked a movement.

This was the year that Asian Americans came together en masse to fight for fair representation and visibility in our American society, and to stop racist, irresponsible and inaccurate coverage of our communities in the press, and the continuing practise of whitewashing, and outright erasure of Asian Americans in Hollywood movies.

Not since the late 60s - early 70s have Asian Americans stepped forward so boldly to fight back, when community leaders held press conferences and threatened lawsuits against San Francisco television stations to force them to hire Asian Americans to work in the white male dominated newsrooms in front of and behind the cameras.

Once the first Asian American faces went on camera, and TV station owners saw no backlash and in fact it was good for business, the trend spread nationwide to hire Asian Americans on camera. Asian American college students took to the streets to protest for rights to have Asian American studies programs at universities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

There have been causes which our communities have rallied around over the years, but this time, the voices are coming from everywhere.

As we enter 2017, we will reflect on this new movement, and learn who are some of the people who were the first to lead the way forward.