Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Non-profit Tuesday: Why Give? What you might not expect in return

Mixed-race leaders retreat outside of San Francisco in 2008 where I met representatives from MAVIN as well as folks I have since gone on to collaborate with for events, programs, and projects.

Giving is hard. I’m not talking about birthday or Christmas gifts here. There is a social contract that you must give back to those who you love and who have loved and cared for you. That type of giving is easy. I’m talking about giving your time and money to non-profits. This is optional giving. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, November 27, 2012 has been designated “Non-Profit Tuesday.” What do you believe in today? What do you want to take the time to stand behind and support?

I’ve spent most of my life being selfish, trying to build a career and family and take care of my own, but after the U.S. economy tanked in 2008 and my thin economic security was knocked out from under my feet, it coincided with a time when I have increasingly been asked to step up and give back. While this hasn't always been easy, I want to share just a few things I got back in return that I really wasn’t expecting.

Make a list and check it (send $) twice today. Consider giving over the long haul. The best investments take time to mature.

Here are my top three non-religious non-profit suggestions for today:

The JASC is based in Chicago and provides local services and programs/national and international research resources.

Mission (new mission as of Fall 2012!):
·      JASC engages people of all ages to experience Japanese American history and culture and to improve their wellbeing through innovative, high quality programs and services tailored to the multicultural community.
We accomplish our mission through the work of highly trained and enthusiastic staff and  volunteers and proactive collaboration with other  agencies and organizations.

What I gave:
·      Time, expertise, and board dues, donations – current board member (since 2011).

What I given in return that I didn’t expect:
·      A community in the Midwest to call home. Although I’ve known of the JASC through their annual Holiday Delight celebration for many years, I never thought this was a place for me since I’m not from Chicago and my family was not interned. As I might have expected, I found an established (founded in 1946!) post-WWII resettlement Japanese American community legacy with rich archives and values but I also found a community in the process of changing and expanding to serve a multicultural population which includes anyone interested in learning about or participating in JA history and culture. While this may sounds odd to my West Coast friends, being openly inclusive of mixed-race families, post-1965 Japanese immigrants, Japanese nationals, and Japanese Americans from other migration streams (e.g., Hawaii) is new here and I want to be part of this change while at the same time learning from the archives and community memory about parts of the JA experience that you don’t hear about on the coasts. I’ve been continually surprised to see how welcoming the JASC has been to innovative ideas and building community partnerships.

MAVIN is based in Seattle and provides local programs/national and international research resources.

·      MAVIN builds healthier communities by providing educational resources about Mixed Heritage experiences.

What I gave:
·      Time, expertise, and board dues - former working board member (2010-12) and current advisory board member.

What I was given in return that I didn’t expect:
·      What started from a little magazine feature back in 2004 in MAVIN magazine on my art and sharing suggestions for the mixedheritagecenter.org and then meeting and working with folks like Eric Hamako and Louie Gong (see picture above) that has since led to a network of over 500+ activists, academics, artists, and friends interested in mixed-race issues. Today, I teach a class on “Mixed Race Art and Identity” at DePaul University in our Honors program and have been working with other colleagues, scholars and creatives on the Critical Mixed Race Studies conference, the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies and Wei Ming Dariotis and I have a forthcoming book and exhibition WarBaby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art.

WMG is based in Chicago and provides local programs/national and international opportunities.

·      Woman Made Gallery (WMG) supports, cultivates and promotes the diverse contributions of women in the arts through exhibitions and other programs that serve, educate and enrich the community.

What I gave:
·      A little time/expertise to jury a show in 2009 and just a few days or hours of time here and there to suggest ideas in 2011-12. I became a member in 2011.

What I was given in return that I didn’t expect:
·      Became a feminist and realized this doesn't have to be an “F-word.” The return on this investment is too immense to list at the moment. Like the F-word, I’ll keep this short and to the point.
·      Found role models for a sustained and serious artistic career focused on community engagement.
·      Met an artist from India, Shelly Jyoti, through Woman Made Gallery. We created a two-woman show, Indigo, that has traveled to venues in Vadodara, New Delhi, Mumbai, Seattle, Miami and will open in Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center on January 25, 2013 5:30-7:30pm. The show runs January 26-April 2, 2013.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm going back to Okinawa! 5 of my paintings will be in a museum in Japan

Laura Kina, "Gosei," Oil on canvas, 30 x 45, 2012

Five of my paintings from my Sugar series and one brand new 2012 painting of my daughter Midori will be on view as part of:

"Women in Between – Asian Women Artists 1984-2012—Okinawan Women Artists"
Okinawan Prefectural Museum and Art Museum
December 4, 2012 - January 6, 2013

3-1-1 Omoromachi, Naha City
Okinawa, Japan 900-0006


I have also been invited to give a lecture at University of the Ryukyus
Laura Kina - "Mixed Race Asian American Art: Chanpuru Spirit and "hapa" Identity"
December 5, 2012, 3:00-5:00 PM (details TBA)
Ryukyu University, Okinawa, Japan
International Institute for Okinawan Studies at the University of the Ryukyus
Laura Kina, "Issei," Oil on canvas, 30 x 45, 2011
Laura Kina, "Palaka," Oil on canvas, 30 x 45, 2010
Laura Kina, "Hajichi #1" (Okinawan Tattoo), Oil on wood panel, 12 x 12, 2010
Laura Kina, "Hajichi #2" (Okinawan Tattoo), Oil on wood panel, 12 x 12, 2010

2012 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference and Mixed Roots Midwest Recap

We are in the process of building a dedicated website for Critical Mixed Race Studies, which we will debut in 2013, but in the meantime I want to share a recap of the 2012 conference and Mixed Roots Midwest and some of the feedback we've received thus far. 

As one professor wrote us, "It was one of the best conferences I've ever attended. The audiences for the talks were so engaged, and I couldn't believe how packed the rooms were. I came home itching to write and to work through so many of the great ideas from the conference."

Honeysmoke blogger Monique Fields shared the "10 Things I learned at CMRS." 

Some of our group facebook page members responded:
"...was my first CMRS and I had a great time--many thanks to the organizers and great folks in attendance. welcoming and generative. wonderful space for dialogue between folks of different disciplines, regions, generations. yes to an association. 

"I'm having a hard time deciding what I enjoyed more, the session discussions or the discussions between the sessions. Well done CMRS 2012 crew!"

A graduate student expressed that CMRS has become a "pipeline up and down" connecting faculty, students, the community, and artists and activists. 

Below is the message we sent out to our CMRS list serv. Join our mailing list for the latest updates.


Critical Mixed Race Studies Recap

CMRS 2012

Despite being sandwiched between Halloween, Superstorm Sandy, and the presidential elections, over 400 people attended the 2nd biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies conference, “What is Critical Mixed Race Studies?,” and Mixed Roots Midwest at DePaul University in Chicago Nov 1-4, 2012. Attendees came from across the U.S. from Hawaii to NY as well as internationally from Canada, the UK, Brazil, Australia, and Ukraine and included senior and junior scholars and cultural producers, graduate students, undergraduates, community members, and representatives from community organizations.

We would like to thank all of the attendees, participants, organizers, and volunteers for making CMRS 2012 an engaging and memorable conference. A special thanks to the invaluable conference support from DePaul's Latin American and Latino Studies and our 2012 programming committee: Greg Carter, Michele Elam, Camilla Fojas, Rudy P. Guevarra Jr., and Rainier Spencer. Thank you to our DePaul University co-sponsors: Center for Latino Research (CLR), Center for Intercultural Programs, Global Asian Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies Program (LALSP), Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Dean's Office, Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity (OIDE), Women and Gender Studies Program, and African American and Black Diaspora Studies.

Click here to view the 2012 CMRS Conference Schedule.

Enjoy photos from CMRS 2012

Like our new organizational page on Facebook

Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies Call For Papers
“What is Critical Mixed Race Studies?”
Papers that were presented at the 2012 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference “What is Critical Mixed Race Studies?” are invited for revision and submission for the second issue of JCMRS. We also welcome papers that speak to specialized research, pedagogical, or community-based interests. JCMRS encourages both established and emerging scholars, including graduate students and faculty, to submit articles throughout the year. Articles will be considered for publication on the basis of their contributions to important and current discussions in mixed race studies, and their scholarly competence and originality.
Visit JCMRS to download the CFP

What's Next?
The inaugural issue of the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies will be published in Jan-Feb 2013. We are in the process of building a dedicated CMRS website, gearing up for the next conference in 2014 (or sooner), and continuing a creative partnership with Mixed Roots Stories (launching in December 2012), and planning to form a CMRS association. Please keep the conversations going through the CMRS Facebook group page and through the CMRS caucus grouops: Latina/os of Mixed Ancestry, the National Association of Mixed Student Organizations, and the newly proposed Queer Caucus. For more information or to get involved contact us at cmrs@depaul.edu.

Camilla Fojas (CMRS 2012 organizer)
Laura Kina (Mixed Roots Midwest 2012 co-organizer)

Photo of Eric Hamako at CMRS 2012 by Ken Tanabe.

News from the 2012 CMRS business meeting:
US Census Report from Eric Hamako

  • Nominated by a coalition of Mixed-Race community organizations, Eric Hamako has been selected to serve a two-year term on the US Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee (NAC) on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations.  (See press release.)
  • Two matters of particular concern for Multiracial people & Two Or More Races (TOMR) populations.
  1. ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS: For cost efficiency, the Census Bureau is considering using “Administrative Records” in some cases when a person doesn’t submit information to the Census (e.g., if Jane X doesn’t submit a Census 2020 form and doesn’t respond to follow-up requests, the Census might access other public and private databases that contain info about Jane X, to fill in info about her).  However, currently Census studies indicate that Administrative Records are worse at filling in info about non-Whites than Whites -- and are particularly bad at filling in info about people who indicate Two Or More Races (TOMR), ranging from 4%-36% accuracy.  This is largely because many public and private databases do not allow respondents to Mark One or More races.  We need to find ways to improve the accuracy of Administrative Record use.
  2. ALTERNATIVE QUESTIONNAIRE EXPERIMENTS (AQEs): Long before each Census, the Bureau tests out various possible changes, using AQEs.  One of the many changes currently being considered is an option that combines the Race question and the Hispanic ethnicity question into a single question.  This would likely a) increase the accuracy of the count of Latinos, b) increase the number of Latinos who are indicating Two Or More Races, c) reduce the White population count by 6-8%.
Photo of Mixed Roots Midwest: Filmmakers Panel by Laura Kina.

CMRS 2012 and Mixed Roots Midwest

Presented by DePaul's Center for Intercultural Programs and co-organized by Fanshen Cox, Chandra Crudup, Khanisha Foster, and Laura Kina, Mixed Roots Midwest featured three evenings of programming that explored what it means to have a mixed identity:
  • Nov 1, 2012 Selected Shorts: Silences by Octavio Warnock-Graham, Crayola Monologues by Nathan Gibbs, Mixed Mexican by Thomas P. Lopez, and Nigel's Fingerprints by Kim Kuhteubl.
  • Nov 2, 2012 Filmmakers Panel: Fanshen Cox in conversation with Kim Kuhteubl, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Kip Fulbeck.
  • Nov 3, 2012 Live Event - featuring spoken word artists CP Chang, Chris L. Terry and Sage Xaxua Morgan-Hubbard from Chicago's own 2nd Story along with a preview of Fanshen Cox's solo-show-in-progress, One Drop of Love and invited Chicago writer Fred Sasaki reading from a manuscript of e-mails called "Letter of Interest."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Morning After: mixed thoughts on the next four years

My family celebrating the Obama victory in Chicago in 2008

Family voting block for Obama in Chicago, Nov 6, 2012 - white, Latina, Asians in the house!
November 7, 2012 9am Laura Kina

I remember the sheer jubilation of the 2008 election and I’m comparing it to the measured feelings I have this morning.

Four years ago we dragged our then 14 year-old teenager, Ariel, out of the house and down to Grant Park in Chicago to celebrate the victory of president-elect Barack Obama. We wanted her to witness history. We went with a pack of new parents and strollers (all of us interracial families and mixed-race folks, by the way). The crowd went wild when the election was called. “OBAMA, OBAMA, OBAMA” we shouted along with thousands, jumping up and down. Midori, then 3-years old, couldn’t handle the noise and broke down in tears. Ariel wasn’t sure what the big deal was just yet but my husband, Mitch, and I were beyond ecstatic. It seemed that this was more than a presidential election…this was the fulfillment of Martin Luther King’s dream! Pure hope.

With the inauguration of the first black (or biracial) president, claims were made that we had entered a “post-racial” era. And then the economy tanked and racial issues were reduced to the triviality of “Beergate.” “Race” was a tricky subject the President wished to avoid so he could pragmatically deal with bigger issues. I understand and it may be true that “race” is not the issue of the day anymore (or at least how we used to conceptualize it), but, amongst other things, access to power and privilege and social inequality remain a concern.

Ariel is now 18 and part of that 10% Latino/a vote that made such a difference last night. I was very proud that we could join her for her first time voting. Through Twitter, she quickly noticed that her peers were posting pictures of their ballots on Facebook and Instagram and she helped get out the word via social media not to do this since this invalidates ballots in many states. During the debates we had watched TV together and had two cell phones going with multiple Twitter and Facebook conversations and feeds. The way we watched and participated in the elections had changed and it was fun to hear the 18-year old perspective and my 30-40+ demographic friends' perspectives. With the “1980s calling for their foreign policy back” and “binders full of women,” the debates seemed to be a comedic farce though.

I was so nervous about the election yesterday that we opted for a quiet election watching party (with drinks and lefty friends) rather than the downtown Chicago crowds. I had resigned myself to a long night of watching the results come in. We went home and I tucked Midori into bed and no sooner did I kiss her goodnight than the phone rang and my brother Sam called from Washington DC with the news. We heard the cheers from the TV and we were soon all jumping up and down on the bed. OBAMA, OBAMA, OBAMA!

I dozed off while waiting for Romney to concede but woke up again to hear Obama’s victory address. "Hope is a stubborn thing. Not blind optimism…We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions."  

Yes, so true. I was beaming with relief and pride but then he said something else that made me pause:

"This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared — (cheers, applause) — that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great. (Cheers, applause.)" (http://minnesota.publicradio.org/features/npr.php?id=164540079)

I haven’t had time to fully process this yet but the proximity of “exceptional” and “destiny” makes me think of “manifest destiny” and “American exceptionalism.” Is it possible to be patriotic and not, as one of my Facebook friends noted, to display “national chauvinism”?

I drove my 7-year daughter to the bus stop for school today. We live in a very diverse Jewish/South Asian neighborhood. A little boy named Mohammed ran up to us and said, “Guess who is president today? OBAMA!” The group of kids at the bus stop cheered. Many of the kids held mock-elections at their schools and all reported landslide victories for Obama. The parents (who are black, South Asian, East Asian, and white) all expressed a collective sigh of relief and went on to discuss drones, deportation and the rising cost of higher education.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thank you for making CMRS 2012 and Mixed Roots Midwest a success

We've just finished four days of the Critical Mixed Race Studies conference and Mixed Roots Midwest festival hosted by DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Thank you to all of the volunteers and sponsors who made this possible. I look forward to seeing you again in 2014.

Laura Kina and Camilla Fojas at the CMRS registration table. Photo by Ken Tanabe
Mixed Roots Midwest Filmmakers Panel: Fanshen Cox, Kim Kuhteubl, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Kip Fulbeck
Critical Mixed Race Studies 2012 conference
Mixed Roots Midwest co-orgnaizers Chandra Crudup, Laura Kina, and Fanshen Cox (not pictured - Khanisha Foster)
Mixed Roots Midwest - Chicago's Fred Sasaki performing "Best Head Waiter: Katsu"

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