Emil Guillermo: Ears droop everywhere, in every conceivable universe, as word spreads that Leonard Nimoy has passed.

nimoy

Sad day for Trekkies. By the way, his shirt is definitely blue/black.  Not gold/white.

 

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Emil Guillermo on Todd Endo, an Asian American activist at Selma, and at the March on Washington.

AALDEF-Podcast-Marching-And-Talking-With-Todd-EndoAsian-American-Activist-50-Years-After-His-First-March-On-Washington-.jpg          I met Todd Endo in 2013 at the 50th anniversary of MLK’s March on Washington. It’s the event which featured King’s “I have a dream” speech. Endo marched in 1963, and he was at King’s other big march, the one two years later in Selma, 1965.

Funny how few people conflate the DC march and Selma. Or how people don’t really understand that Selma was two years after the “Dream” speech, and a year after the Civil Rights Act. Even after that momentous bit of legislation, 1965 required the Voting Rights Act, which Selma helped bring about.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of Selma, we must constantly relearn the history. Or as we’ve found out, society begins to march backwards.

My piece on Todd Endo at Selma is here.

My podcast with Endo at the 1963 March on Washington is here.

 

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Officer Wenjian Liu emerges an Asian American hero, gunned down with cop partner in New York City

NYPD Officer Wenjain Liu
NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu

I can’t help but feel for NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu, 32,  and his partner, Officer  Rafael Ramos, 40, gunned down on Saturday in Brooklyn as they sat in a squad car.

The shooter was a man who dared to invoke the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

This was a blasphemy to the memory of those two men. The gunman, who eventually took his own life, took the names of Garner and Brown in vain.

But he only confused the situation by shooting Liu and Ramos.

It does, however, clarify  an important point and hopefully can inform the misguided.

When people have protested the deaths of Garner and Brown, they weren’t anti-cop. They were anti-senseless gun violence.

In fact, they were pro-justice, pro-community, pro-humanity.

The senseless killings of Officers Liu and Ramos were not pro-justice, pro-community, pro humanity.

No one is anti-cop. We’re anti-bad police work.

As an Asian American of Filipino descent, I feel for Wenjian Liu, his wife, his family and his fallen partner Rafael Ramos.

We talk about the need for diversity in law enforcement.

We need it on the other side of the equation too–on the officer side.

The gunman couldn’t have picked a more diverse team of cops in the NYPD.  Liu, a seven-year veteran. Ramos, a two year vet. Both sitting in their car, without even a chance to defend themselves.

This from the New York Times:

Officer Liu, whose family comes from Taishan, in Guangdong Province, China, attended the College of Staten Island and Kingsborough Community College. He was an auxiliary officer before becoming a police officer in 2007.

Bin Fin Liang, 56, said Officer Liu would drop by his restaurant supply shop on the way home from the Police Academy. Mr. Liang asked him why he wanted to be an officer.

“I know that being a cop is dangerous but I must do it,” Officer Liu replied, his friend said. “If I don’t do it and you don’t do it, then who is going to do it?”

Mr. Liang, who often takes the Manhattan Bridge to work, said that he would see Officer Liu on patrol at the foot of the bridge on the Brooklyn side.

A family friend, Dr. Jonathan Chang, 55, emerged from the house and said the widow was in bed, inconsolable. Officer Liu’s parents had not eaten yet, and it was already late in the afternoon. The officer’s father irons in a garment factory. “Completely distraught,” Dr. Chang said in Mandarin. They repeated, over and over, “My son is gone.”

R.I.P. Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.

 

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Emil Guillermo's commentary on race, politics, diversity…and everything else.

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