MARCH 23, 2021
BLACK PUBLIC MEDIA
By Leslie Fields-Cruz
Standing Against Hate
When I was a high school student, three cisgender White males in my English class were conversing among themselves about some evening activity. My ears pricked up, I was a nosy kid. These young men, ages 16 -17 were talking about going “Mao Hunting.” I butted into the conversation “what’s that?” What they explained was a weekend ritual for them made me cringe with horror and seethe with anger. It was domestic terrorism and I didn’t have to be Asian American to know that it was wrong.
As African Americans, we certainly have our own struggles, but we can’t ignore what we inherently know is racist and bigoted behavior when it happens to other people of color. We must call out anti-Asian hate just as adamantly as we would if it were anti-Black. We must fight the history deniers who seek to exclude the story of the Chinese Exclusion Act just as they seek to exclude the stories of 1619. We must stop buying into the 150+ years of racist tropes that describe Asian Americans as perpetual immigrants, just like we demand people accept that the Black experience doesn’t begin with American slavery. We are allies in this fight against hate.
I'm not ashamed to say that I cursed those boys out all those years ago. Their behavior was all too familiar to this Black girl. Today, I can do much more than just curse at someone and so can you. Since media plays a dual role in this fight against hate, I recommend you support two of my favorite organizations that provide us with authentic stories about the AAPI experience: Center for Asian American Media, Pacific Islanders in Communication. You can donate to their organizations, or watch and share their films. If you want to do more, check out this list complied by NY Magazine of 61 Asian American organizations to support. We must recognize the collective in our efforts because what I do to support the Asian American community helps me as well.
The Sundance Institute has created a new grant program we should all be aware of. Acknowledging the disproportionate impact the pandemic and racial terror have had on storytellers of color and other systematically marginalized groups, Sundance’s 2021 Uprise Grant Fund aims to provide financial support at key moments in an artist's career by supporting their personal livelihoods and creative projects. Go here for details on how to apply.
Finally, free tickets to our PitchBLACK events are currently available on Eventbrite. I realize folks are busy, and we all frequently wait to move on these types of reservations until the date gets closer. But I urge you to register sooner than later because the tickets are moving. The BPMplus Showcase and the Awards program are going to be outstanding! I’d hate for you to miss out.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Black Public Media is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with further funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts. Support for Afropop: the Ultimate Cultural Exchange and the 360 Incubator+ Fund comes from the National Endowment for the Arts. BPM is the only nonprofit that offers training, funding and distribution for projects solely about the Black experience. We are seeking foundations, corporations and individuals to help our work. For more information about underwriting and contributions, please contact Alisa Norris (Alisa@ blackpublicmedia.org). To donate, click here! In addition, you can donate to BPM through your Amazon purchases by going to smile.amazon.com/ch/31- 1335950.
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