V3 Con: Vision, Visibility, Voice


Banana I & II is back (and thank Buddha they changed the name)…as the V3 Digital Media Conference! It’s going down August 25th in Los Angeles, and will feature awesome folks like Angry Asian Man Phil Yu, actor & Thick Dumpling Skin co-founder Lynn Chen, APAs for Progress’ Curtis Chin, Disgrasian’s Jen Wang, and more speakers than you can shake a stick at. Official press release below:

The Asian American Bloggers Conference is Back in LA!
The “V3: Vision, Visibility, and Voice” Digital Media event will gather Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the digital space, and strengthen the reach of the AAPI online community

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) digital journalists, bloggers, and social media communicators nationwide will attend the “V3: Vision, Visibility, Voice” Digital Media Conference (V3con) on Aug. 24-25, 2012 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. To kick off the event, an awards reception will be held Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, Calif. The conference aims to showcase AAPIs in the digital space and build a stronger online community.

V3con, presented by the Asian American Journalists Association’s Los Angeles chapter (AAJA-LA), is the sequel to the Banana Asian American bloggers conferences in 2009 and 2011. The event has been expanded to include all forms of digital media, highlighting multi-platform AAPI communications in a one-day conference setting with interactive panels and workshops. V3con also will offer conference attendees unique “bloggable” experiences such as cooking and makeup demonstrations, tours of museums and historical areas near the venues, a bloggers showcase and much more.

“AAJA-LA is excited to bring to V3con some of the top names in Asian American journalism and highly influential communicators in digital media. The media landscape has shifted dramatically in emphasis, impact and resources with the rise of digital media. With this trend, AAPIs have emerged quickly and prominently on the digital media scene. V3 aims to highlight the vision, visibility and voice of AAPIs online,” said Joz Wang, creator and executive director of V3con and president of AAJA-LA.

Studies from the Pew Research Center found that 87 percent of AAPIs used the Internet every day, more than any other major demographic group. AAPIs also visit Twitter and WordPress more than other demographic groups. This data is reflected in the popularity of bloggers and vloggers online – of the 20 most-subscribed-to channels on YouTube three belong to AAPIs: Ryan Higa, with 5.2 million followers; Kevin Wu (KevJumba), with 2.3 million followers; and Michelle Phan, who has 1.9 million followers.

“We’re not just going to wait around to get represented in mainstream media. We’re looking for other avenues to get our voice out there. V3con is a place to share this vision, visibility and voice, and to strategize further on how to push the pedal to the medal at full throttle,” said Lac Su, author of “I Love Yous Are for White People” and one of the original founders of the Banana bloggers conference in 2009.

This year’s conference features YouTube sensations David Choi and Clara Chung; news anchors Frank Buckley, Susan Hirasuna and David Ono; Lela Lee of Angry Little Asian Girls; Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man; Jeff Yang, columnist for The Wall Street Journal;and film producer Teddy Zee. The panels will include topics such as AAPIs in mainstream media and on YouTube, food blogging, trendsetting in beauty and fashion, utilizing digital media in nonprofit and healthcare realms, anime and manga in the digital space, journalism vs. blogging, and covering sports in the social media era. It will also include an introductory workshop to various social media and blogging tools such as WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous and more.

V3con is presented by AAJA-LA, IW Group, Inc., and the organizers of the Banana bloggers conferences of 2009 and 2011. The conference is sponsored by Verizon Wireless, Comcast/NBC Universal, AARP, CBS, McDonald’s, Union Bank, and Wells Fargo, with in-kind donations from the Japanese American National Museum, Pacific Asia Museum, Panda Restaurant Group, Coca-Cola, Primo and Glaceau Smartwater.

More details, including program, speakers and registration, can be found online at www.v3con.com.


View “Vincent Who?” Online

To honor the 29th anniversary of the death of Vincent Chin (June 23), an online version of Vincent Who? is available for free viewing.  This limited-time offer (until the end of July 2011) is brought to you by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (APAP) and the producers of the film via a new website: vincentwhomovie.com.

Also on the new site is the touring/screening schedule for 2011-12, more research material on the Vincent Chin case, and ordering information for V. Chin t-shirts from blacklava.

I had a chance to check out a community screening of Vincent Who? a couple months ago (see review here), and I highly, HIGHLY recommend you watch the film. It’s online and free, so you have no excuse!

May we continue to learn from and honor the memory and legacy of Vincent Chin.

Thanks Curtis!

Vincent Who?

Earlier this week, I attended a screening of Vincent Who? in South Seattle. Even though I knew a bit about the Vincent Chin incident, I’m so glad that I went — the film was amazingly worthwhile and really illuminated the impact this tragic hate crime had on mobilizing the pan-Asian movement.

Vincent Chin was a Chinese American from Detroit,  murdered in 1982 by two white autoworkers who mistook who him for Japanese. Disgruntled by layoffs caused by what they perceived as a Japanese takeover of the auto industry, they followed Vincent out of a club and beat him with a baseball bat, cracking his skull. At 27, Vincent had recently gotten engaged, and was the only son of Lily Chin.  His last words before slipping into a fatal coma were, “It’s not fair.”

Lily Chin, mother of Vincent and leading activist

Vincent’s attackers literally got away with murder, given a fine of $3,000 and 3 years of probation, serving not a single day of jail time. Outraged, Asian American community members organized and protested, making it the first case regarding an Asian American to receive national attention, and laying the historic and unprecedented groundwork for pan-Asian and multiracial coalitions.

The documentary, made on the 25th anniversary of Vincent Chin’s death, examines the lasting legacy of his case and shows heart-wrenching footage of family members, as well as interviews with activists who were mobilized, politicized, or otherwise influenced by the hate crime and subsequent lack of justice…leaders like Helen Zia (author of Asian American Dreams), Eun Sook Lee (National Korean American Service & Education Consortium), Doua Thor (Southeast Asia Resource Action Center), Corky Lee (photojournalist), Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man), and Eric Nakamura (Giant Robot).

Curtis Chin, producer and family friend to the Chins (Curtis also co-founded the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and APAs for Progress), came up from L.A. for a post-film discussion. Curtis has been presenting Vincent Who? across the country, partly as an activist recruitment tool, and is approaching his 200th screening.

Producer Curtis Chin

Vincent Who? opens by asking contemporary Asian American college students if they know who Vincent Chin is…dozens of them have no idea. Curtis feels that if we as an Asian American community do not know our own history, then we cannot fully realize our power and potential. He presents the film to not only illustrate a pivotal time in our history, but to re-emphasize a vision of what a pan-Asian and progressive community can be.

Given the current reality of ethnic studies being banned in Arizona and efforts to erase Cesar Chavez from Texas textbooks, this message is all the more relevant and urgent. And as far as hate crimes, they are no thing of the past. Vincent Who? draws parallels to attacks on Muslim Americans and those perceived as Muslim after 9/11. Violence against Latinos and Asians also continues, as anti-immigrant scapegoating grows about “illegals” taking our jobs or employment being outsourced to China.

Do we have to wait until the next tragedy to become more galvanized, or can we continue to cultivate a united, progressive movement, believing that our own politicized actions — no matter how small, do matter? In the documentary, Tanzila Ahmed, of the blog Sepia Mutiny, stressed the significance of everything we do being a political act, whether it’s reading political blogs or engaging in direct advocacy.

Vincent Who? was powerful and inspiring, and just might renew your commitment to social justice work and your belief in our ability, and the necessity, to make change happen. I can’t recommend enough attending a local screening — check out the schedule here, or even organize your own. And you can get a copy of the film and Vincent Chin T-shirts here at Blacklava, to help tell Vincent’s story and expand his legacy, along with our own collective power.