We are not alone in this movement to end deportations. This is the Community Statement in Support of “My Asian Americana” and the White House’s attempt to silence the issue. This statement titled “This is Why We Are Angry: A Call to Action” has been written and signed by the following organizations: Providence Youth Student Movement (Rhode Island), Khmer Girls in Action (Long Beach), Vietnamese Americans Young Leaders Association (Louisiana), CAAAV Organizing Communities (NYC), Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (Washington DC) and OneLove Movement (Philly).
Here’s some of the media coverage we have received from this contest controversy:
Colorlines (04/11/12) “Deportation Video Wins White House Contest, But Disappears”
AngryAsianMan.com (04/05/12) “Return to Sender”
ReelChicago.com (04/18/12) “White House Snubbed Online Winning Docmakers”
LA Times (04/23/12) “Filmmakers ‘appalled’ by process in White House video contest”
Giant Robot (04/24/12) “Did White House Reject My Asian AmericanaVideo Because It Hit a Political Nerve?”
Although some press is better than no press, we also think the dialogue being solely focused on whether or not we won the contest is problematic. That is not the issue. The real question everyone should be asking is “why were we silenced by the White House?”
What happened is clear. We won but we weren’t invited to the White House. In democracy, votes count! There is no dispute here.
What you should be really asking? Why doesn’t the White House want to address the issue of deportation? If they are so ashamed of the policy they are pushing forward, why can’t they stop or change those policies? What will it take for the White House to address real concerns like deportations?
What you can do? Since everyone is asking, here are some concrete next steps.
1.) Show your concern for the issue by holding your own screening and discussion related to deportations. Do it in your home, at a local library, outside in your backyard, at your school, community center, college organization, etc. It doesn’t have to be a big screening. Decide your capacity and keep it fun and manageable! Screen both “My Asian Americana” and “Return to Sender” videos by Studio Revolt. (Write us if you can’t download from youtube). Rent and show the documentary “Sentenced Home.” Do the research on the topic and discuss amongst your audience and community why this is happening? What policies are in place that create this kind of injustice? How is this more than about immigration policies? Why is it inappropriate to “criminals”? What is the role of empathy to mobilize against racist and unjust US governing policies? What is the role of art to create awareness and ultimately effect changes? Sometime during or after your screening – take a picture and show that you are standing with all deportees and people living in forced exile. take a photo with the sign BRING THEM HOME! CHANGE THE LAW. send the photo to us info[at]studio-revolt[dot]com
2.) write the people who are suppose to represent us about your concerns and try to get a meeting in with at least a congressional representative. save and track all correspondences. in your letter tell them the following: WE DID NOT VOTE FOR DEPORTATIONS. WE WILL NOT VOTE FOR DEPORTATIONS!