Glenn Omatsu was active in the Asian American Movement, particularly around the struggle to save the Japanese American community in San Francisco. Later, he became an academic who taught and wrote perceptively about that period. He also encouraged students to become active in current issues. His best known work was "The 'Four Prisons' and the Movements of Liberation" that summarized the changes in the Movement from 1960 to 1990. Congratulations to Glenn.
Asian American grassroots groups in the Bay Area are joining in the denunciation of the police attacks on OccupyOakland protestors and supporting the Occupy movement.
They have joined a multi-racial group called Bay99 to strategize ways of incorporating support into their work in their community organizations and unions. Working groups formed to support the infrastructure of the encampments, to plan parallel actions that bring the work in low-income and communities of color forward, and to build unity among our groups.
After five years, Chinese Progressive Association San Gabriel Valley (CPA-SGV) has ended its low-wage organizing. Founded initially to undertake this work and to be a center for progressive Chinese Americans, they have been unable to expand their core of activists.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a ordinance August 2 increasing penalties and monitoring of employers who fail to pay their workers. Though non-payment of wages is currently illegal, the ordinance strengthens the city's Office of Labor Standards Enforcement's ability to enforce its labor laws. Mayor Ed Lee is expected to sign the ordinance. A progressive coaltion of community and workers organizations championed the new city law and had organized a vibrant campaign to win passage.
Korean Immigrant Workers Association, (KIWA), in coaliton with other Koreatown community groups has won a commitment from the City of Los Angeles and its Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA) to build a public park, affordable housing, and a community center on Wilshire and Hobart.
Legal advocacy firms have brought a class-action suit against Fresno-based Club One Casino. In separate complaints filed April 11, 16 former workers allege discrmination based on ethnic background and another six say they were discriminated against because of their age. Both groups also allege that when they spoke out, the Club retaliated against them. The workers are seeking up to several hundred thousand dollars in lost compensation.
The students of Cal State University Los Angeles are fighting for the iife of its Asian American Studies program. Recently, the Dean of its college announced that he intended to suspend the program, despite its minimal cost of $4,000 a year. Students have created a website, garnered support from the academic and student community throughout the U.S., and initiated an on-line petition to support continuing the program.