Cultural Connections Fall 2014:
Sharing Stories Across Diasporas
Posted July 2014
Cultural Connections is back!!!
The Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS) will host the 6th Annual “Cultural Connections” on Thursday, September4th, 2014 in the Campus Center Auditorium from 6 P.M. to 9:30 P.M.
This annual First Week event is a collaborative effort between current students, staff and alumni to highlight and support cultural diversity through student artistic expressions (music, song, dance, art work and poetry).
Our headliner is Aisha Fukushima, a self-proclaimed ‘RAPtivist’ (rap activist), a singer, public speaker, & educator. As leader of the ‘RAPtivism’ (rap activism) project, Aisha raises social awareness through connections between global hip hop & social justice.She has engaged in hip hop communities from France to Morocco, Kazakhstan, Japan, Germany, England, South Africa, Senegal, India and Denmark.
This vibrant event is free and open to the campus and general public as a celebration of our campus cultural plurality, our energetic connection to the community and as a means of welcoming new students.
Cultural Connections is one that is looked forward to during the First Week of the academic year by students, faculty, staff, administrators and the local surrounding campus community.
We look forward to meeting you at the 4th Annual Cultural Connections!
Work Study Positions at CMASS - Fall 2014
Posted Spring 2014
CMASS has several work-study positions open for next fall 2014. If . Interested students should submit a cover letter, resume and fill out relevant sections of the attached application by Friday, September 5 or sooner.. *Applicants should use this application for consideration
Visit the following links for job descriptions and application:
The positions available are:
• Creative IT
• Web Content Developer/Web Writer
• Cultural Center Special Programs-Academic/Community Assistant: Available at the 3 cultural centers (JWECC, LACC, MXCC)
• Cultural Center Administrative Assistant : Available at the three cultural centers ( JWECC, LACC, MXCC)
• Cultural Center Media Assistant: Available at LACC and MXCC
For more information, open the job descriptions.
If you have any questions please contact Wilma Crespo at firstname.lastname@example.org
CMASS Work Study Position Application Form
LACC Media Assistant
LACC Administrative Assistant
MXCC Media Assistant
MXCC Special Programs Assistant
JWECC Administrative Assistant
JWECC Special Programs Assistant
2014 Case Study Competition
Are you ready for another round of Case Study Competition?
The Fall 2014 Case Study Competition is an opportunity to provide solutions to a social justice issue, experience public speaking in a live studio and earn up to $1000 for your student organization.
To register, open this link:
Use your Net ID and your password to access the Registration Form/
Action required before Monday, September 15. To learn more click HERE…
It’s going to be great! Thank you!
In Memory of Yuri Kochiyama
Written by C. N. Le
Written by C. N. Le
June 7, 2014
You may have heard that long-time civil rights activist and Asian American icon Yuri Kochiyama passed away earlier this week at the age of 93. Readers can learn more details about her amazing life through boted Asian American scholar Diana Fujino’s biography Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama. Prominent Asian American blog Reappropriate also has links to several other articles from major media outlets about her passing.
The biography and articles highlight how she grew up in the Los Angeles area and had a seemingly normal middle-class life. All of that changed after the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. As history records, this eventually resulted in 120,000 Japanese Americans (two-thirds of them being U.S. citizens) having their constitutional rights revoked and incarcerated, just based on their Japanese ancestry, in dozens of prison camps across the U.S., without any due process whatsoever.
Among those imprisoned were Yuri and her family and this experience forever changed her perspective on the state of race relations, racism, and the overwhelming need for social justice in the U.S. She eventually married a Japanese American GI and moved to Harlem, New York City. There, she befriended a young Black nationalist named Malcolm X and in the course of her friendship, galvanized her determination to work toward social equality and justice on behalf of her community. She was there when Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965.
Thereafter, she became known for actively participating in the movements for ending the Viet Nam War, Puerto Rican independence (highlighted by being part of the group that occupied the Statue of Liberty in 1977), and for Japanese American reparations.
In her later years in Oakland, CA, she kept up her activism and social justice work, particularly around the fight against racial profiling and rounding up of Arab and Muslim Americans in the aftermath of 9/11, as detailed in the excellent documentary “Lest We Forget” that highlighted the similarities between Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor and Arab & Muslim Americans after 9/11. Here at my institution, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, our Asian American student center is named the “Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center” on her behalf.
For me personally, Yuri Kochiyama was a hero and an inspiration.
Like Yuri, I grew up in a predominantly White community and was entrenched in an assimilationist environment. I did not care about my roots as an Asian American, an immigrant, or a person of color — I just wanted to fit in and be like everybody else around me. In doing so, I was ignorant of all the racial injustices that had been perpetrated against people like me throughout U.S. and world history and that was still taking place all around me in different ways.
It wasn’t until my later years in college and after I started studying Sociology and Asian American Studies that I finally woke up, opened my eyes, reclaimed my identity, and pledged myself to do what I could to fight for racial equality and justice. That’s when I first learned about Yuri Kochiyama.
She represented not just someone who was determined to draw on her personal experiences of racism to fight on behalf of others in similar situations, but as an Asian American woman, she stood in stark contrast to the stereotypical images of Asian American women as meek, submissive, exotic, and hypersexualized “geishas” and “China dolls.”
In other words, she gave all of us — men and women, Asian American or not — a different example of what Asian Americans, particularly women, are capable of. It is these examples and memories of Yuri Kochiyama as a strong, determined, committed, and inclusive activist and Asian American woman that I will carry forth with me.
The mural of Yuri Kochiyama featured in this article is housed in the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The staff of the United Asia Cultural Center and the Asian American Student Association decided to rename their center "Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center". It was the spring of 1998 when an art major, who I remember only by his first name, Shameek, came to the office to start working on Yuri's mural. It took him less than a week to finish it because it had to be ready by the time Asian Night waltzed in. Yuri was the guest speaker for the event and the student leaders and organizers chose this time to dedicate and rename their center in honor of Yuri Kochiyama.
You can now become an affiliate/member of CMASS by filling out our electronic affiliation form.
When you click the link - it will bring you to Campus Pulse where you need to sign in. Use your university net ID and password to get into our CMASS affiliation form.