&Me. Project

The &Me. Project focuses on coalition leaders and aims to highlight the work they do in community building, advocacy, and intersectional struggles. These individuals built coalitions, made connections across different identities, and highlighted the similarities among them.

So why &Me.?

We would like to acknowledge the work that a lot of students already do to lift each other up in your identities. The legacy of these coalition builders leave behind them is a part of you and your identity as a part APIMEDA community. With that, we would like to encourage you to make a commitment to finding a way to become more involved with the community and building coalitions.

If you are a student organization interested in participating in this project, contact Windi at wsasaki@ucsd.edu.

Yuri& Haunani-Kay& Rashida& Jose-Antonio& Me.

Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama (1921-2014) was a Japanese American Activist who began her work in the 1960s, participating in movements such as the fight for Asian American, Black, and Third World civil rights. She was a member of Asian Americans for Action, which sought to create a more politically involved Asian American movement and was also tied closely to the struggle for Black liberation.

Under President Roosevelt’s Executive order 9066, people of Japanese descent were authorized to be relocated and interned by the military if they lived within a fifty- to sixty-mile-wide coastal area from Washington state to California that extended inland into southern Arizona. As a person who was sent to a Japanese internment camp in Jerome, Arkansas with her family in 1941, Kochiyama had firsthand experience with systemic racial injustice perpetuated by the United States government. In the 1980s, she and her husband demanded reparations and a formal apology to internees from the United States through the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. You can learn more about Yuri Kochiyama in her memoir.

Haunani-Kay Trask

Haunani-KayTrask is a Native Hawaiian educator and activist who seeks to bring the issues of indigenous Hawaiians to the forefront of political conversations and is also involved with the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement. She is a retired professor from the University of Hawaií at Mānoa with published work in the form of essays and poetry. Her interdisciplinary approach combines, art, intellectual theory, and politics to examine the effects of colonialism from a multitude of perspectives and how to best combat it. You can learn more about her writings by reading some of her books such as From a Native Daughter, Night is A Sharkskin Drum, and Kue: Thirty Years of Land Struggle in Hawai’i.

Rashida Tlaib

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is the U.S. Representative of Michigan’s 13th congressional district and one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress along with Ilhan Omar. Tlaib is recognized for her advocacy for racial and class equity as well as fighting for environmental justice. Rashida Tlaib identifies as an Arab American, and represents a largely Black district and has been actively fighting against policies that enable the pollution in her communities.  Despite being a native of Detroit, Michigan, she has also faced xenophobia in the form of the perpetual foreigner stereotype, an experience that is often common across APIMEDA identities.

Currently she continues to work closely with her community and within the bureaucracy of legislature in order to make more holistic positive changes that will have a lasting impact on her district. You can learn more about the policies and programs that she works with on her website.

Jose Antonio Vargas

Jose Antonis Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Emmy nominated filmmaker, and Tony nominated producer. He has spoken out about the intersections of his experience as a gay, undocumented, Filipino American, is one of the leading voices on issuses concerning immigration law advocacy and the human rights of undocumented immigrants.  He gained particular notoriety when the New York Times Magazine published his personal essay “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” about his experiences navigating the ways that his undocumented identity intersects with other identities.  He is the founder of the nonprofit cultural organization, Define American, which seeks to leverage the power of media to change how people view the political conversation around immigrants. Learn more about Jose Antonio Vargas’s books, articles, and projects on his website.