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Our Community has Boundaries

“Our Community has Boundaries”: LA's Asian and Latina Immigrant Women Activists on Embodiment, Race, Class, and Morality

In our global cities today, immigrants of color are increasingly suffering hyper-pollution and alarming rates of asthma and cancer due to their residence near diesel-spewing shipping ports, freeways, and rail yards, all so that we can buy the goods we buy at big box stores that hail from China and other far-flung manufacturing nations; immigrants and other people of color also reside and work in and near hazardous industry, like the oil refineries that prop up the aforementioned goods movement apparatus. Indeed, immigrant-led resistance movements are among the most dynamic in our global cities, yet we know little about them. In this vein, Profesor Kim chronicles how Asian and Latina immigrant women activists for environmental justice in Los Angeles — namely cleaner, more breathable air — redefine racism and classism as a result of their struggles with environmental racism and classism and their specific social positionings under neoliberal capitalism and white supremacy.

Nadia Y. Kim is Professor of Asian & Asian American Studies (and by courtesy, Sociology) at Loyola Marymount University. Her research focuses on U.S. race and citizenship inequalities regarding Korean/Asian Americans and South Koreans, race and nativist racism in Los Angeles (e.g., 1992 LA Unrest), immigrant women activists, environmental racism and classism, and comparative racialization of Latinxs, Asian Americans, and Black Americans. Kim has also long organized on issues of immigrant rights, affirmative action, and environmental justice.  She is author of the multi-award-winning Imperial Citizens: Koreans and Race from Seoul to LA (Stanford, 2008) and Refusing Death: Immigrant Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice in LA (Stanford, 2021).

Sponsored by UMass Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Dept. / UMass Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate / UMass Asian & Asian American Arts & Culture Program / Five College APA Studies Certificate / Amherst College American Studies Dept. / UMass Sociology Dept. / UMass College of Engineering Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion