Compiled by Ruth Bayang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
1. DACA program rescinded
In September, President Donald Trump began dismantling Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.
Trump gave Congress six months to act before recipients’ work permits begin to expire.
Many DACA beneficiaries say they worry they will be forced to take lower-wage, under-the-table jobs and will be unable to pay for college or help their families financially.
Each day that Congress delays acting on the Dream Act from now until March 5, 2018, approximately 122 people will lose their DACA protection.
2. Harvard threatened with lawsuit over Asian American admissions
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) threatened to sue Harvard University to obtain a trove of records as part of an investigation into the university’s admissions practices, following a lawsuit from a group of Asian American students.
Harvard turned over those records, spanning many years, in December. The DOJ inquiry was related to a federal lawsuit filed by a group of students in 2014 alleging Harvard limits the number of Asian Americans it admits each year.
3. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee dies
San Francisco’s first Asian American mayor died in December from a heart attack. Born in Seattle, Edwin Mah Lee attended Franklin High School and earned his law degree at the University of California, Berkeley.
He was appointed mayor of San Francisco in 2011. Of the names tossed about as possible interim successors to Mayor Gavin Newsom, Lee’s seemed to emerge at the last minute. His appointment was historic and unexpected.
4. Filipino WWII veterans awarded Congressional Gold Medal
In October, Filipino veterans of World War II were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, 75 years after they joined with the United States to defeat Japan.
More than 250,000 Filipino soldiers served in World War II, including more than 57,000 who died. After the war ended, President Harry Truman signed laws that stripped away promises of benefits and citizenship for Filipino veterans.
Only recently have the veterans won back some concessions and acknowledgment, including the gold medal — the nation’s highest civilian award.
5. Candidates targeted in racist flyers win
Three Asian American candidates targeted by racist campaign attacks won New Jersey elections in November.
Ravi Bhalla was elected Hoboken’s first Sikh mayor, and Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel won seats on the school board in Edison.
Bhalla had been the subject of anonymously distributed flyers that labeled him a terrorist.
Shi and Patel were targeted by mailers that read “Make Edison Great Again” and “the Chinese and Indians are taking over our town.” It called for the candidates to be deported.
6. Passenger dragged off United flight
In April, 69-year-old Dr. David Dao, a Vietnamese American, suffered a concussion, broken nose, damaged sinuses, and lost two front teeth when he was violently dragged off a flight to make room for United personnel.
Video of the bleeding doctor went viral online and sparked international outrage.
The airline had asked Dao to leave his seat in order to allow four United staff members to get from Chicago to Louisville, Ky.
Dao agreed to settle with United for an undisclosed sum.
7. Daniel Dae Kim replaces Ed Skrein in Hellboy reboot
Actor Ed Skrein dropped out of the upcoming Hellboy movie in response to complaints of whitewashing an Asian American character. That cleared the way for Daniel Dae Kim to play the role and also make a statement about representation in Hollywood.
Skrein, who is white, was initially cast as Ben Daimio, a military man who is Japanese American in the original comics. Amid an online outcry, Skrein vacated the role, saying he had been unaware of the character’s origins and was compelled to “do what I feel is right.”
8. First male South Asian actor to win Emmy
Riz Ahmed became the first man of Asian descent, and the first Muslim actor, to win an acting award at the 2017 Emmy Awards in September.
The British actor of Pakistani descent won in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie category for his role in ‘The Night Of.’ He plays Nasir “Naz” Khan, a Pakistani/Iranian American college student accused of murdering a young woman. The show partly examines the brutal effects of racism within the criminal justice system.
9. First Asian to win the Indy 500
Takuma Sato became the first Asian winner of the Indianapolis 500 in May.
After the race, Denver Post columnist Terry Frei tweeted that he was “very uncomfortable” with a Japanese driver winning the Indy 500 on the eve of the Memorial Day holiday, when the country honors its war dead including those killed by Japanese forces in World War II.
Frei was fired from his job.
Sato said the support he received from people in light of the tweet made it “a positive.”
10. Movies with diverse casts make more money
A study released in June by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) found that opening weekend box office for “truly diverse” films — defined as having a cast that is at least 30 percent non-white — outperforms releases that are not truly diverse.
The study examined 413 theatrical films released between January 2014 through December 2016, and found that for many of the highest-grossing movies in 2016 and 2015, non-white moviegoers made up nearly half of the opening weekend audience.
Ruth can be reached at email@example.com.