With the help of a few funny people, diverse groups have merged to bring cultural awareness, and racial and economic justice to Ferguson, Missouri.
Pacific Islanders may not come to mind when thinking about the plight the people of Ferguson have faced since the murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown, but the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), with Hands Up United, are defying expectations with the first-ever Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) delegation to Ferguson.
As told to NewsOne by rapper and activist Tef Poe and Chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Gregory Cendana, A Culture of Resilience, Resistance and Restoration-Black and AAPI Communities United Through the Arts will be in Ferguson from June 4-5, focusing on the similarities we all have through helpful discussions and workshops featuring, among others, Asian American comedian Jenny Yang and D’Lo, a Tamil-Sri Lankan-American comedian.
— Jenny Yang (@jennyyangtv) June 4, 2015
Get to know more about the thought-provoking comedians and cultural game-changers below.
Jenny Yang (@jennyyangtv)
Jenny Yang is a comic and producer of the popular standup tour, Disoriented Comedy. The Los Angeles-based writer was born in Taiwan and raised in Southern California. She is often celebrated for her unique way of connecting entertainment with activism. In an interview with Kollaboration, the comedian says Asian Americans in the entertainment world are often overlooked, even when they’re the actual topic of discussion.
“Whenever you see mainstream media or entertainment news try to cover us, they don’t know what to do. When America’s Best Dance Crew happened, all of a sudden they’re like, ‘Who are all these Asians who know how to dance?’ People freak the f*ck out. When Jeremy Lin showed up, they’re like, ‘How do we talk about him?’
America just needs to be educated about how to talk about us with respect and dignity. We are the ones as creatives who are going to tell our story.”
In addition to her comedy, Yang has dedicated her time to the Los Angeles labor movement.
D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American who does it all. From acting to writing and performing stand-up, D’Lo also uses his voice to advocate for immigrants and is a co-producer for Disoriented Comedy. D’Lo is also a part of the Brown Boi Project, a group dedicated to helping the overall well-being of women, trans men, and queer/straight men of color.
Other members of the diverse delegation include:
- Taz Ahmed (@TazzyStar), an activist, storyteller, and politico based in Los Angeles.
- Terisa Siagatonu (@madfreshrisa), a spoken word artist and arts educator from the Bay Area.
- Johanna Hester (@johanna_hester), Special Assistant to the Executive Director at The Homecare Providers Union (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930.
- Special guest Tefere Gebre (@Tefere_Gebre), Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO.
You can follow the delegation’s journey to Ferguson here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Handout