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tv   Rep. Grace Meng Discussion on Anti- Asian Racism  CSPAN  June 25, 2021 1:55am-2:56am EDT

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>> our conversation this week is on a subject we all wish were >> the final conversation is on the subject that we all wish was not necessary to address the rise of asian violence with extraordinary leaders we can identify ways to force a positive change in our community to moderate this important discussion it is my pleasure to introduce the
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director from the center for a lot and equality and professor at seattle university school of law professor practiced while in practice on the legal team that successfully challenged for violating military orders removing japanese americans from the west coast from world war ii she has spoken widely on the issue on incarceration my testimony before the u.s. senate judiciary and presentations before numerous academic and civic institutions of the commonwealth club, japanese american national museum and pacific coast branch of the historical association. welcome. >> thank you for those to the
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remarks made in the face of hate. and then if we can confront that racism so to the active participants and with that live comment section and via facebook or on the acs website please know in order to participate in the comment section you have to d be logged into facebook to have
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questions for the distinguished panelists. the congresswoman will be joining us she is running a little bit late so being flexible to bring her into y the conversation if you have questions put them in the chat for the california supreme court justice and connecticut justice has been associate justice of the california supreme court since 2011 as a professor of law at uc berkeley school of our but the primary expertise and diversity in the legal profession the son of taiwanese immigrants to receive his bachelors degree from stanford university and
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among his many accomplishments for national service programs in the us supreme court for justice ginsburg and worked with the litigation practice in washington dc serving on numerous boards the most notable of course of the american constitution society and visible speaker and writer and the public dialogue fantasia and hate and in january 2019 to become the first asian-american all state and federal courts in 19
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diversity of chicago school of law and to the leadership role among the state attorneys general he has advocated a wide range of issues including advancing civil rights and pursue for violation of antitrust laws taking on big tech and protecting the environment. he in the district of columbia recently hosted a landmarkon state attorney general's of anti- asian hate. >> so just to brief the set the stage to underscore what i already know to be directed against asian american community is resurfacing of
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the anti- asian hate that's always been present to have a long history as a first arrived in the country. explained it was beyond question that congress could prevent foreign encroachment by the vast chords of chinese crowding in upon us. in 19505 the japanese and korean exclusion league argued we cannot assimlate with them without injury to us. we cannot compete with people having such a low standard of civilization living and wage. mobs attacked chinese, jeas, east indian, and korean farm workers, filipino immigrants, and drove them out of the communities in which they worked. at various points as many as 38 states had anti-constitutes prohibiting intermarriage between a black and asian person
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and a white person. as it was written, anti-misogynation statutes was based on asian americans as unclean and diseased. it wasn't until 1967 that the supreme court declared these laws unconstitutional. asian american children were sent to segregated schools. in 1927 a suit was brought after his 9-year-old daughter was denied entry into a white school in the rosedale consolidated school district of mississippi. the court upheld the exclusion based on the basis of separate but equal schools for blacks. after the bombing of pearl harbor, 120,000 persons of japanese ancestry, 2/3 of whom like my parents, were american citizens were forcibly removed from their west coast homes and incarcerated in the interior united states. on the belief that they posed a threat of espionage and
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sabotage. finally, but not finally, in 1982, 27-year-old chinese american vincent was beaten to death in detroit by two white auto workers. one who had been laid off because they blamed him for the success of japan's auto industry. thus, no matter how long asian americans have worked to build and contribute to this country, and no matter who we are as our panelists can certainly address, there are ways in which asian americans are viewed either overtly or under the surface as other and forever foreign based solely on the way we look. today given events of the past year, many within the asian american community are frightened for themselves and their family. i would like to start by asking you, can you talk about the scope of this problem, why has there been a resurgence in anti-asian violence? and why are asian americans
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afraid to go outside now? >> because president trump blamed the coronavirus on asian americans and pacific islanders. when he called the coronavirus the china virus or the kung flu, what did you think was going to happen? i don't think it's any more complicated than that. mr. tong: people often ask me, how does that make you feel? how do you articulate how it feels to feel like you are being and family members, older members of your family, and those in big cities have a target on their backs. so, this is a really -- it's hard to overstate how difficult a moment this is. for me. professor bannai, it's particularly meaningful, thank you for hosting this. it's good to deal with you and
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justice lieu. but for you as somebody who worked on the vindication of the civil rights at the coramatsu center, weighs hardest for me and asian americans is how people express to us, allies, even, how surprised they are at being targeted. i can't believe people in this country are capable of such cruelty. i say to them why can't you believe it? this has been happening for hundreds of years. if are you surprised, then you don't know the history of vincent chen anti-chinese exclusion act. and post-9/11 scapegoating. and the internment of 120,000 american citizens in camps on american soil. so, if i sound frustrated, this is beyond what's hard is trying
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to give voice to so many people in this country who have target on their backs when we have too long been invisible. professor bannai: part of me wonders if, a follow up on that, if this is tied in somewhat to the modern minority mess that i have grown up. that asian americans have it all. that they are successful. that they are the model minority. and now how can this be happening to asian americans who have always been viewed to be so successful. >> we fall prey to those myths ourselves. i was going to crack a joke that i hope my mom's not watching and listening to justice lieu's resume and academic background. mr. tong: i'll get a thorough yelling at later. but that's the kind of -- that's the kind of in the family joking that bleeds into these minority
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mess, that asian and pacific islanders are good at math. we do better than other communities of color in urban communities. sure, people in our communities have been successful. there are a lot of people who struggle. and frankly, the people who struggle are people like ma who lost his job as a chinese restaurant worker, was collecting tans in new york city before he was brutalized. one dark night. and it overlooks all the people, for example, in new york city, the poorest immigrant groups and communities of color in new york city are asian and pacific islander communities. and the final thing i'll say, professor, about why this is happening, i think the model minority stereotype or myth is
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one thing. let's talk about the other stereotypes. they are related. the stereotypes that we are bookish, we are quiet, that we are meek, we don't rock the boat. let's talk about asian american and pacific islander women through a racist lens they are seen as highly over sexualized and objectifiedf you think about those stereotypes, they are all of weakness t should come as no surprise that is people prey upon our people in community because society and these stereotypical norms, i guess you call them, make us unsafe. the guy in atlanta didn't go after eight 6'5", 300-pound football players. he killed six asian american women. in part because these stereotypes make us unsafe because they signal to other people that we are vulnerable.
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professor bannai: certainly there are several issues here. not only with regard to the asian americans but certainly the targeting of asian american women. i think -- with regard to all of those stereotypes. i really appreciate you raising them. justice lieu, can you tell us about the scope, as you view, the scope of the issue today and why you think it might be resurging, if you have any additional thoughts on that. justice lieu: sure. first let me just say thank you so much for having me on this panel. i want to begin by congratulating my friend, ted shaw, on the lifetime achievement award. although he quite characteristically disclaims that reward, it would be hard to think of another lawyer in our
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contemporary pantheon who has done for the cause than ted shaw. i add my congratulations to everyone for his great achievement. $-- i want to thank senator feingold and a.c.s. for having this important discussion. holding up this discussion is itself an important act to keep it high on the public agenda. there is not much i can add to what the attorney general has already said in describing the nature of the problem. i think what i'm going to do just as an opening is speak a little more personally about this issue because it's incredible personal issue. i think for too long we have not talked about this in personal terms because, frankly, it's hard.
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and i don't like talking about it. personally. i have come to feel that my own reticence about these issues contributes to the invisibility of the problem. what i want to say is that growing up and into my adult life i have been lucky not to experience any of the kinds of race selected violence that we have seen in the horrific videos and other documented incidents. but like virtually every asian american i know, i have experienced a casual everyday racism. the fact of being asked where are you from? the fact of being complemented on how well you speak english. i have been mistaken for a server at a fancy reception.
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when i was nominated for a federal judge ship many years ago, one senator who opposed me said i wanted to make american look like communist china. when i was in high school one of my classmates, a good friend, actually, gave me the nickname slant. one indelible memory i have from early childhood is about school lunch. the idea that you bring your school lunch and the other kids would make fun of your lunch. and i think now about all the delicious things my mom packed for me in my lunch, but i would just stop eating my lunch. just to avoid the embarrassment. to the mind of the seven or eight or -- to the mind of a 7,
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8, or 9-year-old kid, didn't even have the vocabulary or the concepts to identify what was going on in that moment. certainly didn't report it. and i'm sure my mom was completely bewildered why it was i brought home my lunch every day uneaten. what i want to say about that is that, of course, i suffered no great depp pra days -- depravation from not eating my lunch. that's not the point. but three things reflecting that experience. the first is the kids who did the mocking did it with immunity which is to say it was a normal part of their experience and no one was there to call them out on t i certainly didn't say anything. and it was not in the vocabulary to say anything about t the second thing is that, it's no
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great depravation to not eat your lunch, it caused me to, i think, question my own belonging in a particular community. so many of us when we experience these incidents, we realize the stigma of it you begin to feel something is wrong with you. that you are not conforming in some way, you are not, quote-unquote, normal in some way. i think, like i said, virtually every asian american i know has experienced this, so many of whom have experienced the school lunch problem. to me this is how casual everyday racism takes holds. the third thing i want to say about this is that i don't think that these kinds of things have shaped the opportunities i have had in life. obviously i feel that i have been given tremendous
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opportunities in this country and have nothing to complain about with respect to the opportunities and successes i have been able to have with the help of others. but what i will say is that the phenomenon of this racism is -- has differential impacts and attorney general tong has already mentioned this. i was lucky to have a good home. had parents who valued education and brought their own resources to bear on that and supported me throughout my life. who are the people who are being hurt when we see the headlines? they are the most vulnerable people. socioeconomically vulnerable, the elderly, people who speak english with limited proficiency. in that sense the most vulnerable members of our community, and like everything, like the pandemic, like racism
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more generally, the effects of it are visited most heavily upon those who have the least. it's not right that we simply say -- we simply president bush it off and say well, it's no big deal. dew point affect you. it didn't affect me in ways that i would consider hugely detrimental, but it affects others. i just end my opening thoughts with this which is that i'm a judge. i work within the law. i'm part of the justice system. the violence that we have seen is completely unacceptable. and it must be addressed in accordance with the law. but what proceeds this violence and what lies beneath it is really a set of social norms. if it's normal to stigmatize, to dehumanize, or other-ize people
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based on their race or how they look, we shouldn't be surprised even if we are a little horrified. by some of the tragic consequences that follow. so we need the legal system to be responsive to all communities. we need trust in law enforcement. and we need all of that. but so much of the change that we need is not in the realm of law, it's in the realm of our culture. our norms, and our human relations. it's about what our leaders say and what they don't say. it's how we are portrayed on television. and in the movies. it's what our teachers and parents teach our kids. the school lunchroom, the classrooms, and at home. we were talking about a very big phenomenon here. i think we are going to bring our legal perspective to bear. i don't want to lose the wider context. professor bannai: i next would like to do a follow-up question with regard to that broader
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context, justice liu, before i do that i want to mention that i, like you, have been -- have not directly experienced an episode of violence, fortunately. or harassment. but i think for so many asian americans it doesn't -- it doesn't mean we are not aware of it when we are out walking around during the day, particularly if we are in an area where, maybe, you are not familiar with the area. you don't have a lot of friends. it's not your neighborhood. i think that's there. there are ways it can impact us. i share that after the shootings in georgia. i wasn't there but i think i felt more vulnerable as an asian woman than i ever felt before. there are those broader impacts. you mentioned that perhaps the answer will not be found in law, but really in greater societal
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change. changing the culture. it raises a question for me about the extent to which law reflects the culture we live in. should we set the culture we live in or affects the culture we live in. and so i guess i'm wondering your thoughts on whether there actually is a dichotomy between solutions and nonsolutions and cultural or whether they are linked to seeking change in our culture? judge liu: i think it is all linked together in important ways. in the most narrow focus i listened and participated in lots of panels in the last few months on hate crimes, for example. but i think as most people who work within the law know, hate crimes are very precisely defined and difficult to prove.
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and there are probably good reasons for that. and so in some sense to talk about the issue through the lens of hate crimes to people who are lawyers, who like to be precise, that is just one narrow issue. it's important to get that part right. i'm sure the attorney general may have some views about how to get that right. but i think it's more than that, of course. it's about education. it's about allieship and what we do in our organizations in on how we hire and promote and create a culture to support people. that's how we respond to sort of casual incidents we see. i recently signed myself for
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bystander training which is worthwhile for anybody who wants to do it because we need these kind of skills in order to react in the moment, which is the hardest thing to do, to the kind of everyday prejudice that is we see manifest. these are far, far removed from things like hate crimes, but they are the, in some sense, the substructure that leads to the most horrific manifestations. it's all part of one big tapestry. professor bannai: thank you. congresswoman meng, thank you so much for joining us here. i wanted to ask a question of general tong, then we'll bring one to you andcome you to the discussion.
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after justice liu's comments that kind of leads right into asking general tong about the attorney general's conference and about law about legal responses to these hate crimes, which of course, will lead right into congresswoman meng talking about her recent hate crimes legislation. general tong, can you talk to us about your a.g. conversation and what you see -- conversation and what you see as responses to these hate crimes maybe follow up on what justice liu just said? mr. tong: sure. good to see you, grace. i want to thank attorney general racine in the attorney general alliance for joining me in putting together that national meeting. we learned a great deal over a day long conference. one of those really important insights was about bystander training and the training that
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hollerback is providing in association with asian americans advancing justice and other similar opportunities for all of us to learn how to actually be -- we use the word allies, but what does that actually mean? how do you show up for somebody without putting yourself at risk? and we encourage, i encourage everybody to participate in the hollerback training or some other version of that. another thing that was really interesting, there is an organization called moon shot c.v.e. what they are focused on is actually going online to engage with people who are going down the dark hole of hate and trying to lure them away from it and divert them from hate and ention treatmentism -- and extremism. if you ask the f.b.i. and department of justice hate and extremist groups acting out on their hatred and bias is one of
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the top, if not the top domestic terror threats in this country. and so getting our mind as state attorneys general, pushing facebook, instagram, google, amazon and making sure they -- youtube, making sure they do everything they can to tamp down hate, misinformation, disinformation, and to try to stop that pipeline through social media into hate groups is incredibly important. it also, by the way, leads to larger conversations about the responsibility of technology companies and social media platforms to provide a safe platform for discourse. and that gets into questions about section 230. and also the states and our work
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on the antitrust space with respect to large companies. what we learned as you pull this thread there are even bigger questions that pertains to the increase in hate in our society. professor bannai: thank you so much. congresswoman meng, thank you so much for being here. really appreciate that you have been able to join us here. let me just introduce you a little bit, although you probably don't need much introduction. congresswoman meng is serving her fifth term representing the sixth congressional district of new york, which encompasses west central and northeast queens. she serves on the house appropriations committee and has pressed notable pieces of legislation into law including among others legislation protecting public housing residents, providing more safeguards for children, and striking orientation some federal -- or yeanltal from
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federal law. she sponsored the covid-19 hate crimes prevention act to help combat the recent resurgence of anti-asian hate. it was signed by president biden on may 21, 2021. born in elm hurst, queens, she attended local schools and graduated and university of michigan and earned her law degree from ysheba university. prior to serving in congress, congresswoman meng was a member of the new york state assembly and worked as a public interest lawyer. congresswoman meng, will you talk some about what led you to sponsor your recent hate crimes legislation, what it's seeking to do, and what this issue means to you. not only as a congressperson buts are to you personally. ms. meng: sure. first of all thank you to a.c.s. for having me today. it's an honor to be here in this discussion with such esteemed
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here's like justice liu and attorney general tong. thank you, a.c.s., for convening this important discussion. i apologize for being delayed. i think that i probably feel similarly to many a.p.a.'s around the country in saying that this past year, past year and a half has been a really tough year. and our community has just been living in fear for such a long time. and we knew that using language, i know a.g. tong mentioned earlier, using language by kung flu and chinese virus we knew it would lead to the many incidents we have seen happening around the country. and the tragedies in atlanta. it's interesting because this bill that was recently signed into law, we actually proposed it a year ago. last may, actually.
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and there wasn't that much attention, and i think it wasn't only until recent months where we started seeing very violent attacks on video of our elderly and our most vulnerable, and the murders that happened in atlanta where after that it seemed like our mainstream society kind of really woke up and just really saw the need to take action. so senator hirono and i introduced legislation again this year in this new term of congress and we are happy to have seen it move so quickly. some of the pieces of the legislation really came from everyday concerns that leaders in the community across the country relaid to us. for exarm, one of the pieces is to -- for example, one of the
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pieces is to establish personnel at the department of justice for someone to actually review these cases for the federal government, to actually collect these incidents, some bias incidents to hate crimes in a more uniform and centralized manner. most law enforcement jurisdictions right now do not report affirmatively these hate crimes to the federal government. it's really done very much on a voluntary basis. as with any public health crisis like this, we really need to have a more complete and accurate measure of the problem. before we can really start thinking of long-term solutions. the legislation also requires collaboration with local law enforcement, one, to help them investigate more effectively as we saw in atlanta initially when
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the sheriff said that the attacker just had a bad day. leaders from georgia and across the country said, no, that was not just someone having a bad day. . you need to investigate this case more effectively. and that's something that could go on, you know, across the country. so we want to make sure that they have the tools and resources to investigate more effectively. and also to work locally to collaborate to make it easier for victims to report these cases. we want them to be able to report them online. we want them to be able to report it in different languages. and just back to the data point for one second. we all heard about this number, 6,600 cases that were reported. those were largely collected by a wonderful nonprofit group stop
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aapi hate, which is awesome they did it. they did it on a voluntary basis. now the entire country and american media market pretty much relies on the work of one nonprofit group. that's great. it shouldn't be up to them to do it for our entire country. so those are some of the main parts of the legislation and why we need it because, you know -- and i feel this very personally, too. this hasn't been a serious -- [indiscernible] it's been a serious problem for the last year and not until we had data and stories were we able to properly convince the rest of america that these weren't just random antidotes that, you know, we were hearing about. that they really were an example of skyrocketing number of incidents that have happened over the past year.
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professor bannai: thank you so much, really, for all your work and bringing this legislation to reality. i heard you say, though, this is really just a first step. can you envision some other things that can be done that can be advocated for to fight this wave of anti-asian hate? ms. mention: sure. this legislation is an important step but definitely not the only step. it's not a magical solution. it's something that, unfortunately, comes at the tail end of this problem. we also need to address it from the front end. you know, so giving more resources to help our local organizations who are literally on the frontlines of helping our community members, protecting them, you know, every single day. so many issues that our community faces. i just want to talk about especially the issue of mental health. whether it's in relationship to
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the perpetrator or the victim or our community as a whole, we need to make sure that we have more robust investment in mental health resources, especially for our aapi community, which is so lacking across the country and even in diverse cities like new york city. i also strongly believe that we need more education. asian americans have just been seen as foreigners and outsiders and not truly americans for way too long even though we've been here since the i guess mid-1800's. we've fought in wars. we helped build the transcontinental railroad. japanese americans were put into incarceration camps. among the first targets of anti-asian immigration laws passed by our very own congress where i work. but we really don't hear enough about this in our schools. many of you heard about that
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survey recently where i think 42% of -- could not name any well-known asian like in their entire network. and the next largest group could only think of jackie chan or bruce lee. so clearly we need more education. we are working with our colleagues in the black and hispanic and native american caucuses to promote more diverse teaching of curriculum to our k-12 students. so i believe that's another piece of the puzzle of this solution that we need. to break down these walls of biases and stereotypes that way too many people hold about asian americans. professor bannai: thank you so much. and with that, i'm going to take it back to justice liu to continue talking about solutions. you talked earlier about
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changing our culture. certainly education is a really big, big piece of it. and you were talking about other -- about other ways. i guess i'm wondering if you can begin a discussion among the panel, what can people in this audience do? what can we do as law students, lawyers, law professors, judges, and private citizens to do our part in addressing anti-asian violence and changing that culture? judge liu: yeah. so i have a few thoughts on that. i think that what representative mention mentioned about -- meng mentioned about education is vitally important. there's a lot of discussion and debate today about what should be taught in our schools about race and diversity issues.
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and i don't think of this as teaching asian american history or any particular history. this is american history. that's the whole point is that the narrative american history has for too long omitted crucial parts of american history. and so the sort of framing and messaging around how we do this is to situate the experiences of our communities within the larger whole and to have everyone, you know, feel a kind of investment and desire for understanding about that. so i think that's vitally important. and i think that's something that all of us can actually contribute to because in addition to experiencing education ourselves, many of us are parents, many of us are active in our communities and we
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come upon these kinds of issues in our everyday lives and can do our part in advocating and urging focus to be paid to this. the other thing i would say, the process of each of us personally educating ourselves never stops. you know, i'm very steep in these issues, speak on a lot of panels, but there's so much that i don't know. i'll relay one thing. so i grew up in california most of my life in sacramento. california's, of course, the epicenter of the japanese incarceration that was part of world war ii. if you go to the seaside, the ocean beaches along the coast you can still see the military installations, the batteries and where they kept the guns and all of that to fortify the west
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coast against the threat of a japanese invasion. it dawned on me that despite going to california public schools, i knew very little, actually, about the japanese incarceration process in the 1940's. and so just two years ago, i went to one of the sites. first time. first time i'd ever done that. i want to manzanar which is in the desert three hours east of los angeles. if any of you -- many of you are in los angeles. if any of you have not done that, that is worth a day just to do. it's a startling experience, actually, just driving to the site because as you go farther and farther from the urban
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setting, you see less and less of anything, which is to say today there are some solar farms and wind farms but the terrain becomes very sparse. it's sort of a mirror of what the people who were uprooted from their lives, not knowing a thing about what was going to happen to them and leaving -- being forced to essentially leave everything behind. they were being taken to the middle of nowhere. and when you come upon the site today, it's along a flat road. it's almost like there's no firm destination. you just sort of arrive. and there it is. there's a sign that says this is the relocation camp. most of the structures are gone now because the u.s. government took it all down almost the day after that war ended. probably sensing this was not the kind of thing that they want
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to leave behind. but there are some original maps and structures that give you a sense of what that -- what it was like for 20,000 people to live in a place in the desert for numerous years, actually. it's actually a hauntingly beautiful place. but it probably was not so to the people who were kept there. and i just think doing things like that is something we can all do. it makes an indelible impression that brings history quite immediately into our consciousness and also reminds us that these events were actually not that long ago. the soil that you walk on there is the same soil that others walked on just a couple generations ago. this is an incredibly moving experience.
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professor bannai: so my parents, my grandparents, mys and -- my aunts ands were at manzanar and i agree with you, justice liu, that people see it. general tong, do you have anything to add about what individuals can do to address anti-asian violence? what can be done? are there gaps in the law? are there additional tools that are needed? should law schools be teaching about -- about these histories? atty. gen. tong: yes to all of that. and my good friends, justice li u and congressman meng went through that. those of us who are very lucky
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to have a platform to speak about these issues is to talk about how our experience is similar to the experience of others. there's a word we use a lot threes days -- these days that are interceptionality. you talk about, justice liu, and me as the sons of immigrants. and when i was a kid -- and i used that term my whole life. when i was a kid in the late 1970's and early 1980's, asians were being resettled in the hartford area. people from least and -- laos and cambodia that showed up and shared something to us but to a little kid we are also very different, they were refugees. we idolized them at the time and frankly probably still do in
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many places. we were immigrants. they were refugees. except in the time you understand, hold on a second. why did my family come to hartford, connecticut? because they were running from war and violence and homelessness and hunger. and revolution. and so i'm a refugee -- i come from refugees, too, right? just like those kids who came in the 1970's and 1980's. that's part of our own experience, frankly, within our community that's an interception or a common ground that isn't well understood or explored. we talked about -- and thank you, justice, for sharing your experience at manzanar. the relationship between what happened more than 75 years ago and what's happening now at the border cannot be ignored. it's not well -- it is not often
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discussed. it occurred to me when i visited the border in 2019 and crossed over with a group of attorneys general and, again, people expressed surprise at the time. i can't believe we are putting people, immigrants, in camps on american soil. and separating families and separating children from their families. and standing there on the other side of the border, you know, again, i had that very action, why can't you believe it? we did this a little over 75 years ago. justice liu is right, not that long ago. you talk about breaking up families and putting people in camps, we did that to american citizens, by the way. and so i think we don't do a good enough job, i don't think, in drawing those comparisons and intersections. and the final thing i'll say is, i think that's why we're often
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invisible in this conversation about race. there's a national reckoning happening right now in -- not just the depth of -- death of george floyd and murder of george floyd but the murder and death of many george floyds before and after have given us a fresh opportunity, right, to enlarge this conversation and reckon with racism and police brutality and the legacy of slavery and racism in our country. too often those conversations are not in any discussion of asian americans and pacific islanders. we have to say, hold on a second. that history, unfortunately, is rich with injustice and hatred and prejudice against our people. we can't confront this as a country until we confront the whole history and how it affects
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everyone. professor bannai: thank you so much, general tong. it leads me directly to what i'd like to ask congresswoman meng. the idea about the criminality that we share. it's not only we are seeing coalitions come to support the hate crimes legislation -- and i'd like, congresswoman, if you would address that and building coalitions and how important they are but also an opportunity for us as asian americans to work in coalition with other groups as they seek to address attacks on their community because of the -- what we know -- we know the roots that all this grows from. so congresswoman meng, let us know about how you build these coalitions and how people can build coalitions locally. ms. meng: thank you for the
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question. that's truly one of the silver linings our community has gone through the past year and a half. when last year, for example, i had introduced symbolic resolution just saying that congress stood against bigotry toward asians and we had our colleagues from the black caucus, hispanic caucus, and other caucuses stand publicly in solidarity with the asian american community and we've had outreach, you know, from national jewish community leaders, for example, lgbtq leaders who have sort of taken us under their wings and have tried to guide us to make sure we -- that they've been able to share best practices as their communities have obviously experienced bigotry as well. and i will say that there is a quote that really resonates with
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me that was made recently by the national naacp president johnson who said -- talk about the importance of being a friend before you need a friend. and i think that is really an opportune moment for our community to make sure that we are listening and learning about the experiences, achievements, and trauma that other communities face as well. and that we're really trying to find ways to work together to address racism and bigotry at its roots and not trying to point fingers at each other, which is what happens sometimes. we want to make sure we're being constructive. and so even now when i'm speaking in front of groups, for example, where i've seen a little bit of a change is that when i'm invited to speak somewhere -- and i'm sure my colleagues will feel the same -- these days it's not just putting me in front of an asian audience
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to talk about asian issues. i've seen a lot more instances where different communities -- for example, if it's a corporation, different employee resource groups are joining together to listen to, for example, a workshop about combating bigotry against asian americans. and that's what we need to see more of. so whether your platform is five people, the people on your block, or whether you have a very large platform, i think it's a great opportunity to find ways where we can learn about each other's communities and to find ways very intentionally to support each other. and i really believe that we're making history here and we're making history by doing this. many of us are, you know, children of immigrants. and sometimes our parents and our grandparents' generation might not have had the tools and the resources and the language to build, you know, the bridges
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that are necessary. and so it's literally up to us. it's up to you and me as we make history and try to find new ways to strengthen our coalition and walk forward and make progress in solidarity with other communities. professor bannai: thank you. we have a question from the audience. i'm not sure who can -- wants to take it. maybe our law professor. birthright citizenship has been under attack for at least 10 years. what can be done to strengthen the institution of birthright citizenship? anyone on our panel?
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ms. meng: i won't be political here. in the last four years, it's been really difficult in trying to combat what our previous administration really constantly sort of pushed back on and really just -- them always finding creative ways to make people that look like you and me feel like we are not american enough or good enough. so one thing we look forward to with the biden administration, of course, is to make sure that we are appointing and nominating judges, justices across the country. there are many opportunities, for example, we just -- not we -- i can't take credit for this. the first -- the senate just confirmed the first muslim american federal judge in the country, right? we need more justice lius in our
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country, in our courts, and across the nation as well. but to make sure that we are, you know, pushing back against any efforts to un ravel our already existing immigration laws, we just have to be very vigilant. professor bannai: thank you so much. so i think with that i'm going to thank my wonderful -- the wonderful, wonderful panelists here. unfortunately, general tong had to leave right away. but thank you so much, justice liu and congresswoman meng for being with us today. i'd like to appreciate all of you for listening, everyone in the audience, and thank you for your leadership, absolutely. so i'd like to now turn it back over to president rush
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