Tag Archives: Asian American

UPDATES FOR STEPHEN GUILLERMO CASE: The power of a diploma as a symbol of justice, 6/20/14; Today we get a little sense of justice at Stephen’s posthumous graduation ceremony, 6/19/14; Graduation info on Stephen at SFSU, and a cool disco pic of me! 6/13/14; After election day, a silent vigil for Stephen, a month after his shooting; Petitions for justice to be delivered to DA, 6/4; One month after his shooting death, it’s Election Day in California, 6/3/14; Stephen Guillermo is now an SFPD crime stat that decries the PR of low homicide numbers in the city; Updated 5/3/ 11:52 a.m., with confirmation of suspect arrest. UPDATED 5/7/14 SUSPECT RELEASED…UPDATED 5/8, 5/9,5/10, 5/12, 5/13,5/14,5/15 funeral day, 5-17 with info on 5-19 eulogy, 5/20 SF State to give degree, 5/21 DA meets with family,5/23 San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed piece runs as SFSU graduation weekend begins; 6/3 Election day in CA, are you voting for a DA in your county? #justiceforstephen

Amisi Kachepa, released suspect in shooting death of Stephen Guillermo


Stephen officially is a graduated member of San Francisco State University’s class of 2014.

Thanks to the school, and to the head of the International Relations Department, Dr. Sophie Clavier. When I contacted her in May, graduation was just a few weeks away. But she knew the importance of a posthumous degree and  cut through the red-tape to make it all possible.

Fitting that the event was in the Oakes Room, named for Richard Oakes, a Mohawk activist who reclaimed Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay for native peoples and occupied it from 1969-1971. He was instrumental in changing how the U.S. government dealt with Native Americans, and he helped establish Native American studies at SFSU. But the ultimate coincidence is that Oakes was also gunned down in an altercation.

It’s funny how few people know of Oakes today. I wrote about Oakes and Stephen here.

The ceremony began with a little “Pomp and Circumstance.” Stephen should have been able to hear that song and march along. He didn’t get that privilege in life. So we had to play it on our portable speaker. The cousins made some great photo boards, and Stephen’s sister Sharmaine assembled a very touching video tribute.

It was a great event.


But the big deal was the paper. And here it is.



He may not need it where he is now. And yes, the ceremony was as much for the living as it was for Stephen.

But the paper still acknowledges his life was far from wasted. In his short life,  he has achieved a great and valuable thing.

And now we are left to wonder what an International Relations degree with his enormous smile and heart  could have accomplished.



The day has come. At 2pm, the posthumous graduation of Stephen Guillermo will take place in the Oakes Multi-Cultural Room in the Chavez Center at San Francisco State, 1600 Holloway in San Francisco.

Check out my column here on the blog of the magazine,  Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

As I mentioned, Stephen worked too hard for that degree and the dream it represented, to have it taken from him when he was shot to death.

Stephen doesn’t need the degree nor the credits where he is now.

But this, the last of the expected ceremonies—spiritual and secular—is needed by all those who were close to Stephen.

We may not get the justice we want for him. Not now, maybe not ever.

But we did get him his  diploma.

Higher ed was the most important goal in his young life, and it turned out to be his ultimate achievement.

It’s got to be worth something even now, if it’s worth anything at all.

The living need to know and affirm that Stephen did not die in vain.

UPDATE, FRIDAY,JUNE 13,2014, 12noon

Stephen will be graduating on June 19th. SF State will grant him a posthumous degree. If you want to attend,  email me at emil@amok.com.

Too many deaths have taken place since Stephen made the news. Seattle? Oregon? Vegas? Santa Barbara? Not one more? #TooMany.

Obama’s statement this week about his frustration is disappointing. When the commander-in-chief can’t tell people to lay down their arms, we’ve got a problem.

Father’s Day coming up. Stephen was a surrogate dad to his younger siblings.

See my Father’s Day tribute at aaldef.org/blog. Includes a cool pic of me during the Disco Days!




A petition with more than 1,000 signatures will be presented to the DA, urging his office to continue its investigation that will lead to charges against Stephen’s killer.

A day after the election day, we want our public servants in the District Attorney’s office to know that there are voters out there that are watching this case, and care about justice.

We will also announce the date of Stephen’s graduation from San Francisco State, when he will receive a posthumous degree in International Relations.

 TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014,  7am

Today is election day in California, Asian America’s most populous state.

Go ahead. Make my day. Go out and vote.

If you’re voting for a DA, make sure your vote goes to someone who has some guts and courage. One who will put justice above self-interest. 

DAs have more discretion than they let on. But they play the percentages, like any politician.

They also tend to seek higher office, and we need to remind them that what can seem like safe decisions now can come back to haunt them tomorrow.

So vote today. Show your strength.

Most people won’t, but this is Democracy’s day. Don’t be silent.

STEPHEN, a month later: We have passed the one month marker since Stephen’s death.

We will hold a silent vigil at the San Francisco Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 4 at lunchtime.

We will also announce the commencement ceremony for Stephen who will be given a posthumous degree from

San Francisco State University.



Stephen Guillermo would be preparing to graduate had he lived. But SFSU has stepped up and granted his degree in International Relations. The ceremony won’t be this weekend but next.

Now that the school has moved toward academic justice, will the San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon?

Read my opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle:



WE MET WITH THE DA: SF Asst. DA David Merin met with Stephen’s family Tuesday night in San Francisco. I’m not sure it was better than prayer, but it did help us understand where things were in the investigation.

Merin is open minded  and is still looking for and at evidence. We want him to take his time.

If you know anything about the case or the people involved, please call the SF DA at 415.553.1751.

Read  more about the meeting and my impressions on www.aaldef.org/blog and on www.facebook.com/emilguillermomedia  #justiceforstephen



UPDATE TUESDAY, 5/20/14 1pm

Stephen was a legal immigrant. But he was undocumented in one respect. He didn’t have his bachelor’s degree. He was to get it from SF State this year in May. Now the International Relations Department has granted him his degree. The first in his immediate family to achieve the goal and a great example to his younger siblings and relatives.  Ceremony won’t be this Saturday, but in a special event this summer. Stay tuned.  It’s a small bit of justice. Now it’s the San Francisco District Attorney’s turn to value Stephen’s life and bring his killer to justice.



Thanks to all the people who attended my public eulogy for Stephen. If you missed it you can still fill out a survey to help the Rockefeller Aspen Diaspora project find ways to provide philanthropic help to the Philippines.




Stephen’s body was buried, but he is not forgotten.

I will talk about the case and Stephen’s role in the timeline of Filipino history, touching on immigration and the Diaspora. Stephen was part of an historical legacy of injustice that makes his death even more tragic.

Date: Monday, May 19, 6pm

Place: Philippine Consulate, 447 Sutter , SF

It’s free. Sponsored by the Rockefeller Aspen Diaspora program.

Even if you can’t make it. Please fill out this survey:




We bury Stephen Guillermo today.

He will be wearing his Giants jersey.

For photos of the wake go to the facebook page at Emil Guillermo Media.





THE PHILIPPINE DIASPORA is evident in my family as relatives from Canada and Europe have come for Stephen’s funeral.

At the viewing, I noticed Stephen will be buried in his Giants jersey.

Public viewing is tonight at Duggan’s in Daly City. The funeral is on Thursday.

Still, nothing from the SF District Attorney. The case is still open, but sources say charges against Kachepa are highly unlikely.  On Tuesday, I waited over four hours to give a two minute urging to the Board of Supervisors to let the DA know that there is enough to charge Kachepa. Read my piece at www.aaldef.org/blog to see the questions I’ve raised. If Kachepa let in or could see Stephen through the peephole, why couldn’t he simply tell Stephen he had come to the wrong door? Kachepa, a former security guard knew he could use his gun. This law overprotects gun owners, and underprotects the innocents who get killed by accident. As I told the board on Tuesday, why is a Montana DA challenging a similar type “Castle” case, but the DA in liberal San Francisco? He can and should do the right thing. Charge Mr. Kachepa in the death of Stephen Guillermo.

Stephen Guillermo, half the size of Kachepa, unathletic, and  ineffective after a night of drinking, simply  posed no threat to any reasonable person.


I will be speaking about the murder and how it connects to  the Philippine Diaspora on Monday, May 19, 6pm at the Philippine Consulate at 447 Sutter in San Francisco.

It’s free, and there will be food. It’s sponsored by the Rockefeller Aspen Diaspora program.

If you’re interested in helping Filipinos, please fill out this survey:




Thanks to the SF Giants for putting up what essentially is a scoreboard tombstone for my cousin at yesterday’s game.  Stephen loved the Giants, and attended the Padre series the week of his murder. He would have been at the Giants’ Filipino Heritage night.


The Giants won, Tim Lincecum struck out 11 and had his best game of the year, and afterwards in the clubhouse expressed his sorrow about Stephen’s murder.

Lincecum, part Filipino is a community hero, and was a favorite of Stephen’s.

Now it’s time for the DA to step up to the plate. How can the DA in Montana  challenge the Castle laws in that gun-friendly state , but not in San Francisco?

Let’s hope the DA takes the time to reconsider the matter for the sake of justice.

UPDATE: MONDAY, 5/12/14, 8AM

After a mournful Mother’s Day, the family prepares to bury Stephen.

We hope the SF DA George Gascon will take the time to go over the police investigation and consider charging the released suspect.

We ask that people who support the family send a message to the DAs office at 415.553.1751  and let them know Stephen deserves justice. The shooter needs to explain his action, was deadly force justifiable? Why not let a jury decide?


PUBLIC TALK ABOUT THE CASE:  I will be speaking about the case next Monday, May 19, 6pm at the Philippine Consulate of San Francisco. It’s free.

I will be talking about the murder and how it plays into the Philippine Diaspora.  Just fill out the survey here to come to the talk. Or just fill out the survey:




THE FAMILY’S MOURNING BEGINS: it has now been a week since the murder  of Stephen Guillermo, the San Francisco DA’s Office has been given the file from the SF Police Dept. 

A mass will be said Saturday, May 10.

Where: St. Patrick’s Church at 1:30 p.m.

Address: 756 Mission St., San Francisco

Let’s hope that as the family begins its mourning time, the SF District Attorney’s Office will begin to look at the facts in earnest. Since the suspect was already release, the DA has no deadline and can leisurely look at the case. The DA has full discretion. Cases have been charged and convicted on less than what he has. Let’s hope he has the courage to do the right thing for Stephen Guillermo.

See more at: http://www.aaldef.org/blog/justiceforstephen-the-guillermo-family-continues-to-hope.html





SFPD has sent “reinvestigated” file back to SF District Attorney George Gascon, and now DA has a second chance to do the right thing. Let’s hope he considers the witness who indicates this was not a break-in nor home invasion, and that Amisi Kachepa was wrong to use deadly force against a small, unarmed, non-threatening, inebriated Stephen Guillermo who was merely in the wrong apartment.

We are gathering for another lunchtime vigil at 11:30 at the SF Hall of Justice to remind the DA there’s a way to find justice in this senseless tragedy.   see www.facebook.com/emilguillermomedia


UPDATE: 5/8/14 go to 




Hard to believe that in a city that takes a stand on everything from nuclear power to immigration, there is not the political will to take on the gun lobby in a meaningful way. The DA had a time limit of 48 hours, not four days, as I was told originally by a court clerk. And as I tried to speak the truth in two-minutes before the board, I was running out of time.  By late afternoon, the police report was going to the board, and by 6pm if the decision was made there would not be enough to charge, the suspect would be let go.

That was DA Gascon’s choice.

Why? There was enough to charge and hold. Now the man is back in the same apartment building where he shot Stephen.

We are outraged. But controlled. We want the justice system to be outraged for us.

Despite our efforts of the family at the Board of Supervisors, it didn’t matter. The standard of the  DA was much higher to risk his win/loss record, I guess.

That’s what having zero “political will,” means. I guess he doesn’t think Filipino Americans or Asian Americans vote in San Francisco.

But the family has will.  And the fight continues for #justiceforStephen. There will be a vigil at the Hall of Justice today, 850 Bryant around the lunch hour.

We will also be at the Police Commission meeting at SF CITY HALL today at 5:30.

As I said, we are outraged, but controlled. We will raise real questions today.



SFPD Chief Greg Suhr boasted this week about a low homicide rate for the first quarter.  Personally, the Guillermo family murder stats in SF are  up by an infinite amount

Homicides at an all-time low in the history of San Francisco? Tell that to my family.

My cousin Stephen Guillermo, 26, was gunned down last night in the city.

My relatives tell me, he came home and mistakenly tried to enter the wrong apartment. Stephen lived on the fifth floor.  He mistakenly tried to enter the same apartment on the 3rd floor.

The resident of the third floor apartment was armed and is alleged to have shot Stephen, whom he might have mistaken for an intruder.

The older resident apparently felt he needed a gun to live in his urban apartment on Mission and 5th Street. 

This is how safe the city is when one only feels secure when armed and dangerous. 

That’s the situation that leaves an innocent 26-year old  dead.

My cousin, who took the journey my dad had taken 70 years before him, came to San Francisco from the Philippines and was living his American life. Stephan had some time off work and was officially on his  “long weekend.” He was planning a mini-road trip. I saw he went to see the Giants this week. I was going to give him my tickets to the next home stand.

I never got to see him again.

Sorry, SFPD Chief Greg Suhr.  

Boast all you want about how the city has had just four homicides in the city to date, compared to 12 in the same time last year.

Numbers don’t mean a thing.

Especially on an individual basis. The Guillermo family had no murders last quarter. None last year. None ever. And I’m a native San Franciscan with a long history in the city.

But we had one last night.  Do the math. Since you can’t divide by zero, that put our percentage increase at INFINITY.

That’s how ridiculous crime stats are. They don’t tell how safe the city is, nor how safe people feel in the city. 

City crime stats surely can’t explain the sad logic of my cousin’s senseless death.

UPDATE 11:52 a.m. 5/3/2014  FROM SFPD:

At approximately 1:40 AM this morning, San Francisco Police responded to an apartment building on the 900 block of Mission Street for a report of a shooting.  Officers arrived on scene and located a shooting victim, male 26 years old, in an apartment.  The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel.  The suspect in this incident was located at the scene, arrested and booked into San Francisco County jail.  He is identified as Amisi Sudi Kachepa, 68 years old, San Francisco resident.  He was booked into county jail on a homicide charge.  His booking photo will not be released at this time


UPDATE: 11:07

I just got this statement  from SFPD–


At approximately 1:40 AM this morning, San Francisco Police responded to an apartment building on the 900 block of Mission Street for a report of a shooting.  Officers arrived on scene and located a shooting victim in an apartment.  The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel.  Homicide investigators are actively investigating the incident.  Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call San Francisco Police.
 SFPD:  415-553-0123


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Arthur Chu zeroes out on “Jeopardy,” leaves with just under $300,000 for 11 days, but still Asian America’s champ

If you look at my tweets along the right panel of this blog, you know I was stunned to hear that there would be no topping $300,000, no 12th victory, no on-going Chu dynasty on “Jeopardy.”

It was sad following the roll-out of the pre-recorded game. Arthur Chu was live tweeting from 7pm EDT,  and though  I couldn’t see the show,  I could sense from the tweets something was going wrong. Very wrong.

From the start of the week, I knew something was a bit askew. Arthur just seemed off his game on Monday and Tuesday. He won handily,yes. But he got some easy answers wrong. Fortunately, he was not up against  very savvy  opponents.

But on Wednesday, he was up against two tough women, Julia and Diana, who both played aggressively and knew their stuff. Diana started strong with literary questions on Willa Cather and David Copperfield and when Arthur answered one with “Two Penny Opera,” I knew he would be at least a penny short today.

By the first break, Diana was leading $5400 to Arthur’s $3,200, and Julia’s $2600.

The pattern only continued.

When Arthur couldn’t get a Native American question, and Diana got “Hopi,” that’s when I sensed hope was lost on this night.

There also seemed to be a few  glitches worthy of competitions like Olympic figure skating. In Double Jeopardy, even as she was getting all the Daily Doubles, Diana seemed to answer a question twice, changing from “Peptic” to “Peptide.”

 It would only make Arthur fans dyspeptic. Foul? It would get fouler.

There were at least two more  irregularities, like on the Monty Python question, whereby Arthur got a CREDIT before Final Jeopardy. And according  to Arthur’s wife, there was much discussion off camera that all came out in the edit.

But even with all that,  Diana was  still way ahead. Even with a double, Diana would have had to fail and bet illogically.

She didn’t.

And so with British Royalty, and the wrong question, “Who is George II,” King Arthur zeroed out.

Still a good run.

The negative sentiment about how he played the game, seemed to have died. And many of his detractors admitted to liking him now that he was a loveable loser.

It was just exciting to see a regular Asian American guy get on a show for 3 weeks or so and get exposed to an average audience of 10 million people a week.

He should run for something.

In the era of social media, Arthur is the image of the Asian American male. For the moment.


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“Jeopardy” champ continues roll: Arthur Chu’s generational vulnerability as he approaches $300,000 (Tuesday update)

After a week off, Arthur Chu’s “Jeopardy” run continued this week.

Monday’s  show put him at nearly $280,000. (More on Tuesday’s show below).

I’d like to think the racism toward him has died down, but I’m sure there’s still some resentment out there.

But it’s likely less about Chu’s race or his aggressive style of play, and more due to outright jealousy.

The guy has pulled in more than a quarter mill and makes “Jeopardy” more interesting than it deserves to be.

What surprised me this week, however, is that Arthur is not nearly as formidable as one might think.

In the first round Monday , he was aggressive right away, starting with “Potent Potables” for $1000. But then he missed the clue “Black Bush” and couldn’t come up with “What is Bushmills?”

Maybe he’ll have a shot on St.Patrick’s Day. Or maybe he just likes Cleveland craft beer?

Then there was the Faulkner answer in a literary category, “1929 title…”

And he came up with “What is Franny and Zooey”?  How do you mix up J.D. Salinger and William Faulkner?

Arthur has some weak spots. But never mind. The technique of playing the high ticket answers first does two things. If you answer them right, you build a big lead while your opponents become even more nervous than normal. If you don’t answer and no one else does, you take the biggest threats off the board. 

He’s not cheating. He’s just adding a level of strategy that makes the game more interesting.

You still have to get the answers right. And when he does, Arthur builds almost an insurmountable lead as he did on Monday. By the start of Double Jeopardy, Arthur was at $6,000 to his opponents $200 and minus $200.

The game was virtually over.

By Final Jeopardy, his lead was $18,200 to his oponents’  $200 and  $7,800.

The only way to lose was by betting wrong. (You double your closest opponent, assuming he’s smart enough to double up in FJ, and come up with $15,600).

That means Arthur only needed to bet anything up to $2,600 to finish ahead of his closest opponent.

Even if Arthur didn’t know the answer, he’d still win.

And that’s what happened. He didn’t know the correct question to the Broadway composer answer, picking Alan Menken and not Stephen Sondheim (showing his obvious generational weakness).

But it didn’t matter. He bet a conservative $2,000 and still finished with $16,200– well ahead of his nearest opponent.

I haven’t watched “Jeopardy” in ages. But now that Arthur’s made me watch it,  I appreciate it a lot more.

I still don’t get the racism people have displayed toward him. Arthur actually makes the game less boring. In fact, Arthur’s style could be a losing strategy if you don’t get the answers right. That’s the real risk. The key is not to  guess.  If you’re wrong and put yourself in a hole, you can’t easily get back in the black without a big run among the easier answers.

But if you do know the answers, and land a Daily Double, you can sprint ahead of your opponents  and go wire-to-wire.

Still, you have to get the answers right.

I hope Arthur wins. I like to see an Asian American with bangs go on “Jeopardy” and talk about things like how he’s  promised his mother he will take care of her the rest of her life. That’s good old Asian American family values for you.

So much for the “Jeopardy” villain. There’s not a ruthless bone in this kid’s body.

But he’s shown some vulnerability on some of these “generational” questions.

He has a good chance to continue his “Jeopardy” buzz saw. He just  needs to avoid his weak topics and smarter, older players.

Let’s see if he gets to $300,000 tonight.

UPDATE: 11:43 p.m. PDT — Just saw the replay  of Tuesday’s show and was surprised that the Chu-train stumbled a bit early. On the very first question he aggressively went with the “Reddit-Ask Me Anything”  category for $1,000 and then couldn’t convert the Mookie clue into “Who is Spike Lee?”  Into the first break, the champ was trailing with $1,200 to his opponents’ $2,600 and $1,800. He didn’t know much about walrus teeth either and sunk to a low of  $200 vs. his opponents at $3,000 and $1,600. But his strategy begets volatility, and sure enough in no time he got a question right on Pringles, Dublin, and the Black Forest to get him back to $2,000. A Daily Double on Best Sellers got him the clue “1972 Diet Revolution…” Who is Dr. Atkins, of course. That got him to $4,000 and the champ was back on track. Double Jeopardy saw two incidents worth comment. One a mispronounce of actress Frances McDormand. Arthur said “McDiarmand.” It was Arthur’s “travoltifying” moment (See “Adele Dazeem.”) But it didn’t hurt him. Arthur was already at $14,400, more than double his closest rival. Another speed bump occurred on the question “In 1814, this VP from Mass. for whom a political term is named died in office having served less than 2 years.”  “Who is Gerry,”  said Arthur, with a soft G, because of the term “gerrymandering.” But host and arbiter Alex T. said it was Elbridge Gerry with a hard G. (BTW, Old Elb was Harvard, ’62…as in 1762). Once again, it didn’t hurt Arthur who was so far ahead, the game was over. Into Final J., the game recycled a subject from the previous day, with a clue on a 1951 novel about a hero who rescues children falling from a cliff. Good thing Arthur, who confused Faulkner and Salinger on a previous show, got it right this time. Catcher in the Rye. Arthur bet just enough to hit $20,000 giving him an 11 day total of $297,200. Once again his style helps him to overcome some wrong answers early in topics where he’s shaky. But the champ is showing some weakness. In some ways, these lesser conventional contestants play right into Arthur’s game plan. Playing the big numbers first helps him. And it’s kind of fun to see his score bounce all around the board. But If he ever catches another smart, aggressive player in a volatile matchup, now that would be a thrilling show.


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PODCAST–PART 2: Arthur Chu,”Jeopardy” Champ, Talks About Race, Being Asian American, & Racist Tweets (second installment)

This is Part 2 of my conversation with Arthur Chu, the Asian American who has amassed more than $235,000 in two-weeks on “Jeopardy.”

But it’s also made him the target of racist and intimidating tweets and comments on the internet. He talks about what it’s like to be a racial minority, and how despite opportunities and success, there’s always a feeling of a  compromised sense of belonging. He hasn’t forgotten what his father told him as a young boy growing up Asian American.

But he also has chosen to be very open and  confront any racism he perceives head on.



Arthur Chu,"Jeopardy"Champ, Talks About Race, The Game, & Racist Tweets, Part 2


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