CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities Archive

Background

Originally known as the Coalition Against Anti-Asian Violence, CAAAV was founded in 1986 in response to an increase in violence against Asian communities throughout the United States.  Now known as CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, CAAAV has worked to document and publicize cases of anti-Asian violence, advocate for victims, and raise awareness about racial violence and police brutality.  As its membership grew in the late 1980s and early 1990s, CAAAV expanded its scope to include a wide range of political, social, and economic issues affecting Asian and Asian American communities.  Over the years CAAAV has been involved in a number of social justice causes, including protests for fair working conditions, anti-war demonstrations, and campaigns for language access and fair housing.  Former CAAAV programs have become independent community organizations such as the New York City Taxi Workers’ Alliance, Domestic Workers United, and Mekong NYC.

CAAAV has aided in community organizing efforts and began offering training programs for new organizers in the early 1990s.  CAAAV’s work has included advocacy for Chinatown street vendors, helping tenants organize against unfair landlords, and taking part in coalitions to make language accessible to immigrants and ensure development on the Lower East Side is responsible and accountable to low-income residents.  In addition, CAAAV has also developed leadership programs for young people, including the Youth Leadership Project.  In 2012, hundreds of CAAAV members and volunteers served as first responders in the Chinatown area in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  CAAAV is currently involved in a rezoning campaign to fight the effects of gentrification in Chinatown, two programs to organize low-income Asian immigrants in Chinatown and Queensbridge Public Housing, and an internship program called Asian Youth in Action which serves low-income immigrant communities.

In 1988, CAAAV began publishing a newsletter known as VOICE, which reported on news events, updated its readership on CAAAV’s ongoing campaigns, and covered social and political developments that would affect Asian American, immigrant, and refugee communities.

Collection

Survey conducted: June 26, 2017

Size: Approximately 23 linear feet

Dates (inclusive): 1987-2009

Dates (bulk): 1999-2009

The bulk of the collection consists of internal administrative material dating from 2005-2009, including financial records, personnel records, bank statements, invoices, tax documents, and paychecks. This material measures approximately 9.5 linear feet in total, including: 4 linear feet of mixed financial, personnel, and HR files, 1.5 linear feet of expenses, 1 linear foot of invoices, 2 linear feet of paychecks, and 1 linear foot of miscellaneous financial records. The vast majority of the collection is in English, with a few documents in Chinese.

Included within the boxes of administrative material are documents related to fundraising events, workshops, program training, media outreach, and the 2009 Strategic Planning Retreat.  There are also meeting agendas and planning documents for the Women Workers Project and Jobs for Justice.

There are 3 linear feet of material related to VOICE, the official CAAAV newsletter.  The VOICE collection includes issues from fall 1989 to fall 1999 and from spring 2003 to fall 2008, as well as the fall 2000 issue. Included alongside the newsletters are flyers, programs, and bulletins.

The collection also includes 4.5 linear feet of video content dating from 1987-1999. Many of the videos are on VHS tapes which are stored either in plastic bags or in plastic and paper cases. There are also audio cassettes, compact video cassettes, CDs, zip disks, and still photographs. One linear foot of the video collection consists of copies of “Chinatown is Not For Sale.” The rest of the collection includes footage of interviews, parties and events, rallies, protests and demonstrations, gatherings, and news coverage. Included is half a linear foot of commercially available content.

There are 2 linear feet of photos in various formats, depicting rallies, actions, meetings, dinners, and news coverage. The photos date from 1992-2002 and are stored on floppy disks, CDs, and in photo albums; there are also loose photographs and VHS tapes.

The collection contains 4 linear feet of material related to the Youth Leadership Project. These materials date from 1999-2008 and include job descriptions, permits, flyers, progress reports, resource sheets, guidelines, legal documents, resumes, and work plans, as well as documents related to the Women Workers Project, the Peace Action Committee, and GROWL.

The collection also includes two flat files containing decorative artwork.

Andolan Records

Date Range: 1999-2008
Creator: Andolan

History: Andolan is a non-profit, membership based organization that advocates on behalf of South Asian immigrant workers. Founded in 1998 by executive director Gulnahar Alam, the collective continues to be led by members, comprised primarily of low-wage female workers. The organization addresses gaps in social services and government agencies by providing legal assistance and a membership network support system for undocumented South Asian workers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Andolan, meaning “movement” in various South Asian languages, mobilizes workers for coalition building to ensure South Asian communities reach self-determinacy. Cornerstone to their mission is a commitment to helping all workers realize their legal rights in order to empower working class immigrant communities. As most members are domestic workers (babysitters, housekeepers), retail and restaurant workers, these marginalized and invisible groups often face obstacles such as worker exploitation, abuse, sexual harassment and domestic violence. Andolan encourages members to take on leadership roles in organizing, to transform their struggles and experiences into practical knowledge that works towards liberating female workers from inter-dependency and oppressive systems.

Andolan operates through three types of community programming: providing support to workers, promoting legal advocacy and community campaigning. Andolan’s member network holds meetings and educational workshops to address changes and issues surrounding immigration law, health, labor and domestic issues. The member network is sensitive to the immediate and cultural needs of the community by offering constant support through referrals for medical assistance and refuge, as well as counseling and translation services. Andolan’s implementation plans involve filing lawsuits in order to heighten public awareness of the various issues domestic workers face. Lawsuits Andolan brought to public attention include cases on federal violation of state minimum wages, sexual harassment, assault, and imprisonment upon false charges. Additionally, Andolan has launched several successful campaigns to protect worker’s rights, including the Campaign against Diplomatic Immunity of UN Employees, which aimed to hold diplomats accountable for their abusive treatment towards domestic workers. Andolan has co-coordinated with CAAAV for the Campaign to Increase the Minimum Wage, which strives to increase working wages through dialogue with local and state officials. Andolan also organizes protests and demonstrations in order to receive immediate responses to specific grievances. As a founding member of Domestic Workers United, Andolan continues to collaborate with DWU to advance the movement to end worker exploitation.

Within the past decade, Andolan had several legal victories in lawsuits against abusive employers. In a landmark settlement case, Andolan’s client received the largest reparations in U.S. legal history for a domestic worker, thereby setting a precedent for other low-wage immigrant workers. Another monumental victory for Andolan is marked by the City Hall approval of a bill in 2003, which requires employers and agencies to provide a contract to workers that guarantees minimum wage and overtime pay, health insurance, regular working hours and enforcement of labor standards.

In recognition of their achievements and social impact in the community, Andolan was awarded the Union Square Social Justice Award in 2001.

Summary: Totaling 6.0 linear feet, Andolan’s records consist of client court case files, administrative, board and fiscal operations, programming and development files, grant support and publicity materials.

Measuring approximately 3.0 linear feet, the bulk of records are confidential court files that document Andolan’s litigation role in client cases from 1998 to 2006. Separate, but precursory to Andolan’s formal filing of legal cases are client intake files documenting personal background information in Hindi and Bengali. Legal cases relate to wage compensation, political asylum and domestic violence against workers and women. These files trace case progression with legal proceedings, attorney correspondences, affidavits of support, court petitions and transcripts.

The second largest volume of materials are organizational development files which cover primarily the administrative and board functions, as well as fiscal records from 2000 to 2006. Within these files are annual directors meeting minutes, agendas, organizational structure models, by-laws and article of incorporation. Of note are board evaluation records of Andolan’s progress up until 2006, supplemented by the article of members and an outlined explanation of board roles. Contained within the organizational files are directories of members and community contacts organized in binders. The organization’s development files also hold fiscal records, which document operational expenses with invoices, annual budget outlines, and tax forms.

Organizational funding files on grant applications and grassroots fundraising measure 1.0 linear feet and span between 2000 and 2008. Within these files are grant contracts, interim progress reports, budget sheet narratives, fundraising plans, grant award correspondences and letters of intent. Together, these components of the grant application files reflect organizational history and progression, as well as detailed project descriptions.

Comprising of .75 linear feet, Andolan’s project files date from 2000 to 2007, documenting global and local initiatives. Important campaign files include the Domestic Violence Project, “No One Signs Up to be a Slave,” a campaign against Human Trafficking. Files of significant Andolan international initiatives include the International Human Rights Watch (2004) and the Women’s Rights Hearing, part of the United Nations Conference against Racism, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (2001). Documentation of more creative projects includes drafts of “We are Andolan” song for street performances, transcripts of member’s testimonies and a script for a play based on true stories of Andolan members.

Publicity materials range from the years 1999 -2005, spotlighting Andolan’s larger advocacy programs, public events and legal case milestones. Flyers, brochures and press releases document community initiatives and collaborations with other non-profit organizations such as DESI, DRUM, AALDEF, CAAAV and Domestic Workers United to create projects such as the Free Women’s Clinic and educational workshops on self-defense. Some of these materials are bi-lingual, or are in Bengali. There are also collected newspaper clippings from local and national newspapers, including India Times, New York Times with articles on founder Gulnahar Alam, Andolan’s active role in the campaign against U.N. Diplomatic Immunity and worker exploitation in the restaurant lawsuits against Malabar Palace. In addition, there are collected original clippings of Andolan’s advertisements of their services in Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian newspapers.

Sources: Andolan – Organizing South Asian Workers. http://andolan.net.

Aliya Hussain, “Trouble at Home: Domestic Workers Speak Out Against Exploitation and Abuse,” April 10, 2010, accessed February 13, 2012. http://www.aclu.org/blog/human-rights-womens-rights/trouble-home-domestic-workers-speak-out-against-exploitation-and.

Jessica Shattuck “October Hellraiser: Nahar Alam, Fighting for the Rights of Domestic Workers,” http://motherjones.com/politics/1998/09/october-hellraiser. September/October 1998 Issue.

Andolan: Organizing South Asian Workers: “Revaluing ‘Women’s Work:’ Ending the Exploitation and Abuse of Domestic Workers.” http://www.svcfreenyc.org/event_1148.html. March 3, 2010.

Total size: 6.0 linear feet
APA-related size: 6.0 linear feet
Location: Private residence

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Exposure & Education Program and Korea Exposure & Education Program Records

Date Range: 19992009
Survey Conducted: Sat, 2010-04-10
Creator: Nodutdol for Korean Community Development

History: Founded in New York City in April 1999 by a group of first- and second-generation Korean Americans inspired by social democratic movements in Korea, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development is a non-profit Korean American community advocacy organization that seeks to promote the unity and self-determination of the Korean people through grassroots organizing and community development. Read more

New York Taxi Workers Alliance Records

NYTWA logoDate Range: 19982009
Survey Conducted: Thu, 2009-04-23
Creator: New York Taxi Workers Alliance

History: The New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) was founded in 1998 by members of the Lease Drivers Coalition (LDC), an advocacy project of the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV). The union fights for structural change in the taxi driving industry, ranked by the Department of Labor as the most dangerous job in the country, and supports individual drivers through comprehensive services and advocacy efforts for economic justice, safety and health rights.

New York Bureau of Legal Advice Records

Date Range: 19171919
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2011-04-26
Creator: New York Bureau of Legal Advice

History: Originating as the New York Bureau of Legal First aid and lead by attorney Charles Recht and feminist Frances M. Witherspoon, the organization was started with a grant the Women’s Peace Party in 1917. Along with individuals, organizations like the People’s Council, the Socialist Party, the civil Liberties Bureau and the Workmen’s Council all provided sponsorship (although the People’s Council and the Civil Liberties Bureau soon withdrew support). Responding to the need created by conflict with new laws related to World War I, the New York Bureau of Legal First Aid was the first organization to provide free legal advice and counsel to draft resisters, conscientious objectors, deserters and others who suffered infringements of their First Amendment Rights.

Khmer Legacies Records

Date Range: 20072011
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2011-11-11
Creator: Khmer Legacies Records

History: A non-profit organization founded by Socheata Poeuv in 2007, Khmer Legacies’ mission is to document testimonies of Khmer Rouge survivors to create an archive as an educational resource for researchers, students and the global community. Poeuv’s vision for Khmer Legacies was inspired by her family-based documentary, New Year Baby. The film explores the historical legacy of the Khmer Rouge through Poeuv discovering her family’s formation and her parents’ experience during the Khmer Rouge. Despite historically being one of the largest mass genocides in modern history where over 2 million people were killed, the Khmer Rouge remains a largely unwritten topic. Khmer Legacies is meant to address these informational gaps in history through building an archive as an educational tool to heighten awareness and work towards preventing future human atrocities. Read more

Families with Children from China – New York Records

Date Range: 19942009
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2010-02-09
Creator: Families with Children from China – New York

History:
 In 1992, China passed an act allowing foreign adoption, and became a viable option for Americans interested in adopting internationally. Founded in 1993 by a group of adoptive families, Families with Children from China – New York (FCC NY) fosters community among families with children who were adopted from China, provides resources to families at all stages of the adoption process, and celebrates the lives and experiences of adoptees. China’s emergence as a world power and its new adoption policy, which went into effect on May 1, 2007, however, has lead to a significant decrease in international adoption from China, and FCC NY has seen its membership numbers stagnant as fewer American families adopt children from China. Read more

Asian Women United Records and Photographs

Asian Women United logoDate Range: 19772004
Survey Conducted: Thu, 2008-12-04
Creator: Asian Women United

History: Asian Women United (AWU) is a New York City-based collective of Asian American women activists and educators that organized in 1978 when the Asian Women’s Caucus was split into two groups. As their Statement of Purpose says, AWU works “towards a society free from race and sex discrimination through the development of women as community leaders with an understanding of the Asian woman’s issues and concerns.”AWU hosted events that provided services to the Asian American community, including a mother-daughter social, an Asian American concert, and various workshops for Asian American women. AWU also participated in International Women’s Day, the Women Working Together conference, the Coalition of Asian Women’s Groups, and Asian-Pacific American Heritage festivals. AWU also took official stands on issues such as abortion, U.S. Immigration and Refugee Policy, and the Silver Palace Restaurant strike. Members include Goldie Chu, Aiyoung Choi, Liz Young, Susan Louie, Joyce Wong, Sokie Lee, Bonnie Wong, and many others. In 1986 the organization became a social network, adopting a less formal structure with occasional reunions and less formal networks of communication in place of regular business meetings.

Asian Women in Business Records

Date Range: 19952010
Survey Conducted: Mon, 2009-02-23
Creator: Asian Women in Business

History:
 The non-profit organization, Asian Women in Business (AWIB), was founded in 1995 to provide resources and support for Asian women entrepreneurs. AWIB hosts workshops, seminars, conferences, and networking events to support the development of Asian women in business and since its founding has served over 27,000 women and people of color through its programming.Driven by a desire to increase the number of women and minority owned businesses, AWIB sponsors an annual Procurement Conference, at which minority women business entrepreneurs have the opportunity to establish relationships with corporate and government buyers, as well as an annual Asian Women’s Corporate Leadership Conference and Leadership Awards Ceremony and Dinner. To encourage young Asian women to attend college and assume leadership positions, AWIB awards an annual academic scholarship. Read more

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) Records

Date Range: 19742005
Creator: Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

History:
 Founded in 1974, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.
Currently, the organization focuses on economic justice for workers, immigrants’ rights and post 9/11 civil liberties, voting rights, language access to services, affirmative action, youth rights and educational equity, housing and environmental justice, and the elimination of hate violence, police misconduct and human trafficking.

Summary:
 The collection consists largely of litigation files from AALDEF’s cases, dating from 1970 to 2005. These include immigration, affirmative action, and workers’ compensation cases; suits against restaurants such as Jing Fong, New Silver Palace, East River Chinese Restaurant; suits against the City of New York; and suits against other employers. General subject files contain clippings, correspondence and other information about immigration, labor, and housing, including the first Chinatown Labor Fair. These range in date from 1978 to 1992.

Total Size:
 27.0 linear feet
APA-related Size: 27.0 linear feet
Arrangement: other
Location: Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University
Bibliographic Control: finding aid
Finding Aid Link: http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/tam_321/
Conditions Governing Access: Contact repository for detailed information on conditions governing access.