Aziz Ansari and his Parks and Recreation co-star Chris Pratt just released this PSA encouraging young people to get their cheeks swabbed for the bone marrow registry.
DoSomething.org’s Give a Spit campaign is specifically targeting young people between the ages of 18-24. The campaign and its partners Be The Match and DKMS “need inspired young people like you to take the lead and register more committed college-age donors, especially minority donors. You can save lives by running a “Give a Spit” drive on your campus. Just sign up and we’ll get you everything you need to run a drive.”
Plus, there are prizes: The drive that gets the most donors signed up wins $2,000 for a celebratory party and everyone who enters the registry through a Give a Spit drive is eligible for a $500 college scholarship.
I’ve been following closely the case of Minhaz Khan, a 24 year old undocumented Bangladeshi-American from the Inland Empire who, on Nov 4th, was required to put on an ankle bracelet and present a one way ticket to Bangladesh to the authorities. It had been 20 years since he’d been to Bangladesh and when his father was deported after being denied political asylum, he was murdered for his political affiliations in Bangladesh. DreamActivist.org had a petition out to support his case and his case garnered local media coverage. His case officer read the coverage and removed the bracelet last week and Minhaz last Tuesday was granted a temporary stay.
Minhaz Kahn — the UC-Riverside alumnus who last week had to show immigration officers that he bought a one-way ticket back to his native Bangladesh — learned Tuesday that he doesn’t have to return home just yet. He will be able to stay in the country for another three months…[T]op federal counsel told a group of American Immigration Lawyers Association attorneys in a meeting last week that they will not automatically grant a stay for all other DREAM Act eligible immigrants who are awaiting deportation, says AILA attorney Leah Price. [SFWeekly]
I had the chance for a virtual sit-down with Minhaz right after the ankle bracelet was placed on him a couple of weeks ago. Here’s what he had to say.
When and why did your family come to the United States?
My family came in 1992 to flee danger. My dad left entrepreneurial success and political influence to work at gas stations and my mom left a teaching career and lost all significance her Master’s held, so to anyone who says immigrants come here to take anything from anyone is missing what many people have to leave behind for safety and the possibility of a better future.
Why wasn’t your father able to seek political asylum? What happened after he was deported?
I’m not completely sure why he wasn’t granted asylum. I never got to see the judge’s decision, but I think he missed an interview or something due to a lawyer not notifying him. After he was deported in 1997, he died (or in my whole-hearted belief, murdered) a couple of years later. Continue reading →
The MetroPCS Tech & Talk ads are a long-running series (two years in December) featuring desi characters named Ranjit and Chad expounding upon the evils of contracts and benefits of MetroPCS’s phone plans and features. The characters are not a little zany, dressing up in colonial-style wigs to declare wireless independence, playing an intense guitar-riff set off by fireworks and using “Holy shishkabob!” as a catch-phrase, to give a few examples.
As I noticed in retweets about the ads posted by the characters @ranjitmetropcs and @chadmetropcs, some people found the ads hilarious, declared themselves fans of the duo, and wanted to dress up like them for Halloween. Others writing for business and tech sites found the ads cringe-worthy, racist and/or in poor taste.
Suketu Mehta, journalism professor and Maximum City author, landed an exclusive interview with Raj Rajaratnam and wrote a compelling article for Newsweek on the former hedge fund titan who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for insider trading. Rajaratnam, of Sri Lankan origin, has some choice words for the Indian-American associates who betrayed him. But some readers might have choice words for Mehta, who suggests that Rajaratnam is not too different from other South Asian immigrants.
The whole story speaks to the South Asian–American community: its pursuit of success and money at any cost; the differences between immigrants and the first generation; and the immigrants’ incomplete understanding of the rigor of the law in the U.S. [Daily Beast]
Just in case you have an incomplete understanding of what he means, here it is again later in the article.
The Rajaratnam case can be seen as a metaphor of the difference between immigrants from South Asia, who have a more elastic view of rules and a more keenly developed art of networking, and their children, the first generation, schooled to play by American rules. [Daily Beast]
Elastic view of rules? For a moment there, I thought he was referring to the rules of journalism.
If this was 2004 (when this website was first created), the incident described below wouldn’t surprise me at all. But in 2011? Really? Via TPM:
Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) is heavily favored to win re-election in a vote next Tuesday, with leads of roughly 2-1 in all the publicly released polls. Now his Republican opponent, state Senate President David Williams, is launching an attack against Beshear on a new front: Beshear participated in a Hindu religious ceremony!
This past Friday, Beshear attended a groundbreaking ceremony in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, for a new factory run by FlexFilm, a company based in India that makes materials for packaging, printing, insulation and other purposes. The plant represents a $180 million investment, and is expected to create 250 jobs in Kentucky.
As the local newspaper the News-Enterprise reports, the groundbreaking included a Hindu ceremony, the bhoomi poojan
“He’s there participating with Hindu priests, participating in a religious ceremony,” Williams said during a campaign stop in Shelbyville. “He’s sitting down there with his legs crossed, participating in Hindu prayers with a dot on his forehead with incense burning around him. I don’t know what the man was thinking.”
Beshear’s campaign spokesman called Williams’ remarks “pathetic and desperate.”
“Gov. Beshear is proud that 250 new jobs are coming to Elizabethtown,” campaign spokesman Matt Erwin said in a statement.
Speaking of desis at Occupy Wall Street, last week I chatted with Arun Gupta, one of the founders of the Occupied Wall Street Journal. Gupta, who talked with me on the phone from a road trip to visit different sites of protest, has been working with newspapers off and on for the past two decades, and writes for publications like AlterNet and Al Jazeera. He’s also been with the Indypendent for the past 11 years. He told me about making the first issue of the Occupied Wall Street Journal happen in under 24 hours.
(Time-sensitive note for New Yorkers: If you want to hear more from Gupta, The New Yorker’s editor, David Remnick, is moderating a discussion about OWS tonight at Florence Gould Hall in NYC. 7 p.m. In addition to Gupta, the event features NYer staff writers John Cassidy and Jill Lepore, as well as former NY governor Eliot Spitzer. Online tickets are gone, but a limited number of free tickets will be available at the door.) And a BONUS read via Sonny Singh: Manissa McCleave Maharawal in conversation with Eliot Spitzer about OWS in NYMag, here. I blogged about Manissa earlier in this series.)
Yesterday the President presented 13 Americans with the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor which may be granted to any United States citizen who has performed “exemplary deeds or services for his or her country or fellow citizens.” Vijaya Emani of Strongsville, Ohio, a single mom involved in so many different ways in her community, was one of the honorees. Emani, who passed away in 2009, was recognized for speaking out against domestic violence.
Today marks the start of a new exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts running until April 8, 2012. The museum’s assistant curator of South Asian art Qamar Adamjee writes that the exhibit is more than a chance to look at beautiful objects.
The two principal narrative arcs around which the exhibition is organized bring to life the complex and fascinating worlds of India’s great kings. They help us to understand the real people behind the objects that were made for them. The first goes behind the scenes to analyze the roles and qualities of kingship in India. The second traces the ways the institution of kingship shifted against a rapidly changing political and historical backdrop from the early eighteenth century through the 1930s, a period that saw a change in the maharajas’ status from independent rulers to “native princes” under British colonial rule.–Decoding Images of Maharajas
The exhibit is free this Sunday, October 23, when the museum will also offer a family fun day. In the process of rebranding the Asian Art museum has taken on a new logo, an upside down A (a symbol with a meaning of “for all” in mathematics) in a move to be more inclusive.
If you go to Zuccotti Park at 4 a.m., you will see them: a contingent from Occupy Wall Street’s People of Color (POC) working group, standing with others who are banding together to protect protestors from a city effort to clean up the space—widely viewed as a coded way to shut down OWS. Continue reading →
Today is National Coming Out Day and when I used to live in L.A., I’d join the annual parade of South Asians walking down Pioneer Blvd. chanting, “We ‘re here! We’re queer! We’re on Pioneer!” As you can imagine, the South Asian community is not quite so accepting of ‘The Gays” in the community. I supported as an ally because I wanted to be a supporting Desi face even when their family members couldn’t be.
But sometimes, coming out to your family may not be right for everyone. I came across a touching story from Nancy Haque titled Coming Out About Not Being Out from the Western States Center. It addresses the complexities of understanding your parents enough to know when and what to share with them. Despite the fact that mainstream LGBTQIA community may encourage coming out, it may not be the best thing for every family, particularly immigrant Desi parents.
I’m not out to my parents – the gold standard of being out. I haven’t done it and don’t actually plan on doing it. The truth is I have a very complicated relationship with my parents. I’m not particularly close to them and haven’t been since early childhood. I’m the youngest of four and was raised by my sister and two brothers as much as I was by my parents. I came out to my siblings 14 years ago and have always been supported by them. I love and respect my parents, but beyond my sexuality, they don’t understand the work I do, don’t know my hopes and dreams, don’t know the majority of my friends, and have never visited the home I purchased three years ago.
Yet my relationship to them is important. It’s important for me to be able to go home. I know in my heart my parents can never accept me having a female partner. It’s beyond their life experience to understand it. It’s not because they’re bad people, it’s just the way it is. I don’t feel like I’m living a lie because I’m not. Yet by not telling my parents, I’m taking a very unpopular stance in the general queer community…. I know that I’m not alone, that we all find our own ways to navigate our lives. I know that being queer and being raised Muslim is who I am, and it’s a complicated way to be. That’s why it was important to me to share my story… [westernstatescenter]