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.

Hunter College Asian American Studies Program Archive

Background

The Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College at the City University of New York was established in 1993 as the result of a student initiative. Founded by Peter Kwong, the program offers a minor in Asian American Studies and classes focusing on Asian and Asian American issues which cover such topics as Asian American literature, Asian American communities and mental health, Asian Americans and public policy, Asian Americans and education, Muslim diasporas, Asian Pacific American media, Asian American civil rights and law, and LGBTQ Asian America. The program also offers extracurricular programs and events including panel discussions, conferences, and film screenings. Most recently, AASP was involved in the 2012 National Asian American Education Advocates Summit, a program dedicated to advocating for Asian American youth. The current director of the program is Jennifer Hayashida, who has held this position since 2008, initially in a two-year acting capacity.  In fall 2016, Hunter College was awarded a five-year, $1.7 million grant from the Department of Education for the Hunter College AANAPISI Project (HCAP), which will support the development of an integrated ESL/AAS curriculum, offer enhanced curricular and co-curricular programming concerning APA mental health, and develop an APA student internship program.

The program went through a period of dormancy in the early 2000s, and since then has gone through cycles of activity and dormancy. In recent years the program has dealt with fears about its sustainability, with its inactive periods being largely the result of CUNY’s status as a commuter campus, lack of full-time faculty engaged in Asian American studies teaching and scholarship, and lack of leadership. The AASP archive preserves and documents these cycles, as well as the community engagement of the college’s Asian American student population through the years.

Collection

Survey conducted: Thursday, November 3, 2016

Size: Approximately 4 linear feet

Dates (inclusive): 1992-2015

Dates (bulk): 1993-2007

Location: 1338 Hunter College West, New York, NY

The earliest material in the AASP archives documents the period of the program’s founding and includes planning materials from 1992, the year before the program was established. The bulk of the material dates from the 1990s to the mid-2000s, with some material from recent years (2011-2015) which are comprised of flyers, posters, and other ephemera related to student activism.

Most of the older material consists of administrative papers and human resources files. The HR files measure approximately 1 linear foot and contain resumes, applications, and other documentation for former and current employees of the program. They date from 1994-2005.

The collection also contains about 1 linear foot of administrative material dating from 1992 to 2005. This includes correspondence, internal memos, Asian American Studies curriculum proposals, internship information, course listings from 1998-2005, student applications, grant proposals, registrator information, files related to Asian American Studies faculty and community boards, files from the City University of New York’s central administration, brochures explaining majors and minors, materials related to conferences such as the seminal East of California conference and the Asian American Writers Conference, and handbooks and guidebooks, including Hunter’s very first AASP handbook. Embedded within these files are three folders relating to the program’s founder, Peter Kwong, which include articles, inquiries, and travel information.

There is about half a linear foot of files from various community organizations, such as South Asian Youth Action, Urban Justice Center, Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association,  Korean Community Service of Metropolitan NYC, and Pan Asian Repertory, among others. There is also half a foot of course syllabi, old course files, and course readings from 1998-2013.

There is about 1 linear foot of various materials related to Hunter College students and campus student groups.  Materials included are event flyers, posters and advertisements from student groups, AASP student applications dating from 2007 onwards, and student papers.  This part of the collection includes a significant amount of material from CRAASH, the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter, which fought to keep the program running when it went through a period of uncertainty from 2007-8, and which remains active to this day and continues to fight for the program’s continued existence at the College.

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

United Automobile Workers of America, District 65 Photographs

Basebll Protest

Date Range: 19381969
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2011-05-20
Creator: United Automobile Workers of America, District 65

History: District Council 65 of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) began as a group of Jewish laborers working in dry goods warehouses in the Lower East Side of New York City. The union became a local of the Wholesale Dry Goods Employees Union in 1935 before affiliating with the Distributive Trades Council of New York and the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Its affiliation with the UAW began in 1979. In later years, the union’s membership grew beyond the warehouse and retail workers to include white-collar workers in publishing and universities. The union remained active until bankruptcy forced the union to close in 1994. Read more

Oral History of the American Left: Radical Histories Collection

Date Range: 19201980
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2008-10-24
Creator: Tamiment Library

History: The Oral History of the American Left (OHAL) project was started in 1976 by the Tamiment Library at New York University. The purpose of this project was to expand the archive of American labor and radicalism through the creation of “living documents;” the memories of veteran activists. After receiving major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1982, the project conducted a sweeping oral history of ethnic-immigrant radicalism, its press and fraternal organizations. The NEH grant also enabled OHAL to collect hundreds of hours of interviews made by filmmakers on American anarchism, the Hollywood blacklist, the Communist Party, the Columbia University student strike of 1968, and other subjects. Read more