March 10, 2023

Volume 3, Issue 5

Dear Friends,

Like many Americans, we at the 1990 Institute are troubled by and condemn the recent racist remarks made regarding Dominic Ng, appointed by President Biden last year to be the chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council, and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress.

The 1990 Institute issues the following statement:

"East West Bank CEO Dominic Ng and Congressmember Judy Chu have served their country well and lived their American dreams. They have made our nation a more diverse and prosperous place to live and work, yet their integrity is being questioned by government officials pandering to unsubstantiated, fear-driven claims, and innuendos.

"We cannot sit idly by as the loyalty of Chinese Americans is put up for debate simply because it stirs interest at a time of global turbulence. Nor can we allow representatives in Congress to be belittled for standing up against prejudice. We join our communities, elected officials, and the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus in demanding an immediate apology from those who have attacked the character of these two upstanding citizens. Whether intentions were xenophobic or not, they stoke xenophobic actions and should be held accountable.

"Over the past three years, we have seen a never-ending onslaught of anti-Asian discrimination and violence due to harmful and combative narratives about Chinese people and Chinese Americans. Equating individuals with the actions of their native or ancestral homeland is a recipe for conflict we have seen boil over time and time again. Let us not allow dangerous and troubled history to repeat itself."


By 2025, a majority of states will have requirements in place for AAPI studies to be taught in schools. We invite middle and high school teachers to learn more about “Asian American Trailblazers in Civil Rights” at our special in-person Teachers Workshop in San Francisco on Wednesday, March 22. Registration is free. Please scroll down to our Spotlight section to learn more, see a trailer for our upcoming new educational video titled “Exclusion: The Shared Asian American Experience,” and learn how we’re kicking off Women’s History Month on New Asian American Voices.

Thanks for your continued support of the 1990 Institute and newsletter. Please share this newsletter with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe.


We invite middle and high school teachers to our multifaceted event to learn more about Asian American civil rights trailblazers with our esteemed speakers. Click here to register for our Teachers Workshop in San Francisco on March 22.


How do we take on the challenges of standing up for our communities?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Last week, I visited a workshop by nonpartisan nonprofit organization New American Leaders to train immigrants, refugees, and the children of immigrants and refugees how to run for public office. Participants talked about their immigrant stories, took professional headshots, and learned how to write a stump speech. Real nuts and bolts stuff needed for running a campaign. Whether for the school board or city council or state legislature, these future leaders make our communities proud.

I thought about how far we have come since Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and how many hurdles he had to overcome to represent Californians in 1957. Asian Americans were not allowed to naturalize then, and so before he could run, he first had to get the law changed to allow Indian immigrants to become citizens. As soon as he was able to become a U.S. citizen, he did, and then he immediately ran for public office. Fun fact: The first office he was elected to, a judgeship, had to be vacated because he had not been a U.S. citizen for a full year. Another (not so) fun fact: His white wife lost her U.S. citizenship when she married him because he was Asian and Asians were ineligible for citizenship at that time.

This Women’s History Month, U.S. Representative Judy Chu of Los Angeles is having her loyalty to the U.S. and her American identity challenged by Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, and right-wing media personalities like Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

“I was born in Los Angeles to Chinese American parents. My father was a World War II veteran, and my mother was an immigrant. I graduated from UCLA, spent my professional career teaching psychology in community colleges and have served in elected office for 37 years — going from the City Council to Congress,” writes Chu. “His ugly and false accusations build on the centuries-long stereotype that Chinese Americans and Asian Americans more broadly are forever foreigners in their own land — no matter whether they just arrived, they are naturalized American citizens or they have been here for generations.”

Chu warns that “this newfangled McCarthyism” that combines “red scare” tactics, racism and xenophobia will not stop with her and will put Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at risk. As we near the two-year anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings that killed eight people including six Asian American women, we must proclaim again that we belong here and stand up for our communities.


Many immigrants from Asia came to find a better life for their family, escaping from poverty, prosecution, colonialism, and other political atrocities but have been greeted by obstacles to calling America home. See a sneak peek of our new video, “Exclusion: The Shared Asian American Experience,” coming soon!


Curated News

Texas bill will no longer aim to ban Chinese citizens from buying homes, state senator says | NBC News  Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst says when the bill reaches committee Wednesday, it will be modified to remove restrictions on people buying homes.

Why Seattle banned caste discrimination | PBS NewsHour  Seattle became the first U.S. city to ban caste-based discrimination by incorporating it into its anti-discrimination laws. Professor Gaurav Pathania talks about what the move in Seattle could mean for the rest of the country.

Biden to nominate Julie Su as the next U.S. labor secretary | PBS NewsHour  President Biden called the current deputy and former California official a “champion for workers.”

Leaders of House China panel condemn attack on Rep. Judy Chu | Politico  "Absolutely, we shouldn't question anybody's loyalty," Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) said.

China’s global influence worries many in the U.S., says AP-NORC poll | PBS NewsHour  Just 40 percent of U.S. adults approve of how President Joe Biden is handling relations with China, a new poll shows, with a majority anxious about Beijing’s influence on the White House agenda.

China accuses U.S. of wrongfully targeting Chinese companies by restricting U.S. technology | PBS NewsHour  Genetics analysis giant BGI Group and 17 others were hit with curbs on access to U.S. technology on security or human rights grounds. 

China will soon train foreign astronauts for new space station | PBS NewsHour  Long a source of national pride and symbol of technological advancement, the Chinese space program is taking on a new diplomatic and political role, much in the way the U.S. and the former Soviet Union leveraged theirs.

James Hong Roasted The Cast Of "Everything Everywhere" During His Acceptance Speech, And Michelle Yeoh Couldn't Keep A Straight Face | Buzzfeed  "I'll quote what Michelle said: 'Shut up. I can beat you up!'"


For International Women’s Day this week, we featured Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu who contributed to the understanding of modern physics. Read more on New Asian American Voices.


  • TEACHERS WORKSHOP: “ASIAN AMERICAN TRAILBLAZERS IN CIVIL RIGHTS” – State-by-state, public and independent schools are required to teach Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and/or ethnic studies. In the run up to the 125th anniversary of the Wong Kim Ark Supreme Court decision that guaranteed birthright citizenship for all, the 1990 Institute, along with the Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, invite middle and high school teachers to attend “Asian American Trailblazers in Civil Rights." This multifaceted event will highlight Asian American pioneers and the pivotal court cases that have changed the landscape of U.S. civil rights, present multimedia resources and highlight ways to incorporate them into classroom learning, and provide an opportunity for teachers to share the experiences and challenges of teaching AAPI history in the classrooms. Register for this FREE event – March 22, 5:00-6:30 pm PT, at the Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, 1541 12th Avenue, San Francisco, CA. One teacher attending in person will be randomly selected to win two complimentary tickets to a performance courtesy of Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Light refreshments will be served. Our speakers are:
  • Laureen Chew, Professor Emerita of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University
  • Russell Jeung, Professor of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University
  • David Lei, Community Advocate and Historian
  • Liana Szeto, Principal, Alice Fong Yu Alternative School
  • Moderated by Susana Liu-Hedberg, Executive Director, 1990 Institute
  • TRAILER FOR OUR UPCOMING VIDEO: “EXCLUSION: THE SHARED ASIAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE” – Despite being among the early immigrants to America and an essential part of the building of America’s foundation, Asians have been excluded, discriminated against, and prevented from becoming American citizens. Our new educational video will walk you through exclusion experiences that Asians faced then, including laws that existed for decades, and continue to face as Americans now. The video will launch in the next few weeks – get a sneak peek in our trailer for “Exclusion: The Shared Asian American Experience.”
  • INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: CELEBRATING DR. CHIEN-SHIUNG WU – We are celebrating remarkable Asian American women during Women’s History Month on New Asian American Voices. For International Women’s Day (March 8), we shine a light on Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, who created the “Wu experiment” that changed our understanding of modern particle physics. Her experiments proved a theory put forth by two other physicists who went on to receive the Nobel Prize for their theoretical work. Learn more about Dr. Wu and check back all month to learn about more trailblazing Asian American women.
  • PARTNER EVENT: “OUR TIME: CELEBRATING THE STRENGTH OF ASIAN WOMEN” – Our friends at the nonprofit Asians Are Strong are celebrating the resilience and strength of Asian women by acknowledging their experiences and challenges. This free event will include a gallery of historically influential Asian women, a resource fair, performances, and more. Join in person at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, March 12 at 3:00-5:00 pm PT, followed by an Oscar viewing party at 5:30-8:00 pm PT. Registration is required. We'll see you there!

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


1990 Institute
P.O. Box 383  | San Francisco, California 94104


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