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

Midori Shimanouchi Lederer Papers


Midori ResizeDate Range:
1943-1994
Creator: Lederer, Midori Shimanouchi (1923-2005)

History: Midori Shimanouchi Lederer (1923-2005) was the founder of Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI), a social services agency for New York’s elderly Japanese and Japanese American residents. Born and raised in Fresno, California, Lederer was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, when she and her family were sent to the Topaz War Relocation Center in 1942. Her 1943 appeal to the US government granted her permission to leave Topaz and resume her studies at Pace College in New York. While living in New York she became involved in the film and publicity industries. In 1952 she became the secretary of renowned film producer Michael Todd and served as his production assistant. She later joined Bill Doll and Company, a top New York-based firm of press agents in 1960 and eventually rose to partner and vice president.

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Zhang Hongtu Papers

Zhang Hongtu picDate Range: 19742011
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2011-08-05
Creator: Zhang, Hongtu (1943-)

History: Born in China’s Kansu Province in 1943, Zhang Hongtu studied at the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts in Beijing. The Chinese Civil War and the Cultural Revolution presented many difficult challenges to Zhang, not only because of his family’s Muslim background, but also because of shifting perceptions of artists and intellectuals. His schooling was cut short, and he was assigned to do farm work in the countryside. A few years later, he was assigned to make jewelry to be sold to Westerners. Throughout this period, Zhang continued making art. After participating in a group exhibition sometimes called the “Contemporaries Group,” Zhang moved to the United States in 1982, his wife and son joining him a few years later. He studied at the Art Students League in New York City and later became an artist-in-residence at the Asian American Arts Centre. Read more

George Yuzawa Papers

GY_GradDate Range: 19082009
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2010-09-14
Creator: Yuzawa, George

History: George Katsumi Yuzawa was born in Los Angeles, California on February 21, 1915. George’s immigrant parents named their Nisei son after the first president of their adopted country, George Washington (whose birthday was a day later on February 22). His parents, Tamasaburo “James” and Bun “Mary” Yuzawa, immigrated to the United States from Nagano, Japan. In 1917, James Yuzawa established the Vermont Flower Shop in downtown Los Angeles near the University of Southern California campus. He served a term as president of the Southern California Floral Association.As a young man, George was a founding member of Boy Scout Troop 64 in Los Angeles and achieved the rank of Life Scout.

William F. Wu Comic Book Collection


will wu coverDate Range:
 19421986
Survey Conducted: Wed, 2009-04-08
Creator: Wu, William F. (1951-)

History: William F. Wu is a Chinese-American science-fiction writer who has published thirteen novels and more than fifty short stories. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Wu attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, and later returned to earn his Ph.D in American Culture. During this time he became active in East Wind, an Asian American student group. His doctoral dissertation titled The Yellow Peril (1981) documents evolving depictions of Chinese and Chinese-Americans in American fiction.Wu has been nominated for the Nebula Award, World Fantasy Award and the Hugo Award, twice individually and once as a member of the Wild Cards. Hong on the Range, set in a futuristic version of the wild west, was chosen for the Wilson Library Bulletin’s list of science fiction “Books Too Good To Miss” and was a selection for the American Library Association list of Best Books for Young People, the New York Public Library’s Recommended Books for the Teen Age, and was also a Young Adult Editor’s Choice by Booklist Magazine.

Martin Wong Papers


Date Range:
 19821999
Survey Conducted: Mon, 2008-12-01
Creator: Wong, Martin (1946-1999)

History: Acclaimed Chinese American artist Martin Wong (1946-1999) is best known for his cityscapes of New York’s Chinatown and the Lower East Side, his championing of graffiti art as a legitimate art form in the 1980s and ‘90s, and his incorporation of homoerotic sensibilities into his paintings. Wong was born in Portland, Oregon on July 11, 1946. He grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown district and attended Humboldt State University, graduating in 1968 from its Art Studio program with a focus on ceramics. He was involved in the Bay Area’s performance art scene through the 1970s, but after moving to New York in the early 1980s, began to focus almost exclusively on painting. Read more

Yoland Skeete Research Files on Newark Chinatown

Newark014Date Range: 19992009
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2011-05-06
Creator: Sumei Multidisciplinary Center

History: Founded in 1993 by a group of artists, musicians, and writers, the Sumei Multidisciplinary Arts Center aims to support emerging and established artists through exhibitions, lectures, seminars, workshops, and residencies. Sumei serves as a platform for artists around the world to connect with communities in Newark, and provides educational programming and art workshops for elementary to college age youth throughout the area. The organization aims to be a space for community building and engagement through art, writing, video, and performance. Read more

Harley Spiller Menu Collection

Date Range: 18792009
Survey Conducted: Mon, 2009-03-16
Creator: Spiller, Harley (1960-)

History: Harley Spiller (1960- ) moved to New York after college in 1981 to pursue a career in the museum field. A native of Buffalo, NY and a graduate of Northwestern University, the self-described “meat and potatoes” Spiller was promptly introduced to the diverse cuisine of New York City. He received a job as an administrative assistant for the curatorial department of the Jewish Museum, and with his tight annual salary, found himself going to Chinatown to buy inexpensive food. According to Guinness World Records, he now holds the largest menu collection in private hands.

South Asian Women’s Creative Collective Records

Date Range: 19972009
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2009-11-10
Creator: South Asian Women’s Creative Collective

History: In 1997, Jaishri Abichandani founded the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) to foster a sense of community among South Asian women artists and creative professionals in New York City. Fourteen women, who were invited through community-based organizations such as Sakhi for South Asian Women and the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association (SALGA), attended SAWCC’s first meeting in the offices of the Sister Fund. In March 1998, the collective held its first annual fundraiser and art show, “Karma Kollage,” which drew a crowd of over 300. Soon, SAWCC, the only New York–based South Asian arts organization at the time, began meeting monthly at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, providing a space for members to collaborate, network, share their work, and gain exposure.

South Asian Journalists Association Records

Date Range: 19942010
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2010-02-09
Creator: South Asian Journalists Association

History: In the Spring of 1994, four South Asian journalists and friends met in a New York City restaurant and founded the South Asian Journalists Association—an organization committed to providing networking opportunities for journalists of South Asian descent and those with an interest in South Asia and its diaspora. Among them was Sreenath Sreenivasan, now Dean of Student Affairs and Professor of Professional Practice in the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, in whose office SAJA’s records reside. By 1995, the organization had 200 New York City-based members and was hosting monthly meetings. Members included correspondents, reporters, and editors for South Asia-based publications (e.g. Associated Press of Pakistan, India Today), ethnic media outlets based in the United States (e.g. India Abroad, Minaret), and mainstream news sources (e.g. Time, Wall Street Journal). Read more