Tag Archives: journalism

Emil Guillermo: Winner of the 2015 Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights and Social Justice

Humbled and honored at this year’s 15th Asian American Journalists Association national convention.


Twenty years of column writing and reporting on Asian American issues, the last five at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s site, http://www.aaldef.org/blog

Emil Guillermo’s Amok: The story Ishmael Reed shared at Dori Maynard’s service about how she told him she had been racially profiled.

Here’s the way journalists deal with grief. They cover the story head on.  That way they stay objective and avoid the tears and the pain. They save that for another day. Maybe on the day they see a sad movie, or when a cloud comes in the sky and exposes their Vitamin D deficiency. Or something.

So when someone asked me to cover my friend Dori Maynard, the diversity in journalism advocate, I had to say yes.


It was also a way to include the story shared by noted author and MacArthur Genius Ishmael Reed. At the service, Reed was one of the select few to give his remembrance.  He was the only one to bring in a real sense of the pain people of color experience in general. He spoke of how we are treated in society, and of racial profiling. And he told a story about the time Dori Maynard was humiliated and racially profiled herself.

It was a story she shared with him.

Ironically, most people covering the service probably would have left out Ishmael Reed from their story.  But I couldn’t.

It was a strange day. I saw people who have been fighting the civil rights battle in journalism for more than 30 years.

Belva Davis was there.  I worked with her when I was in high school. She commented on my boyish looks being an advantage now.

There was Pam Moore from KRON.  I worked with Pam 30 years ago in Dallas.

Both Belva and Pam know, we are still fighting the fight.

And considering all the backsliding in recent years,  it may even be a little worse today in the media world.


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Emil Guillermo: Dori Maynard led an inspired fight for diversity in the media. The fight shall continue.


Still can’t believe my friend Dori Maynard is no longer with us.

She dedicated her life to make sure there was a little more color in the media.  There have been incremental gains. But there’s still much to be done.

My tribute to Dori  Maynard is here.

The services for Dori in Oakland will be tweeted and streamed live on the web.


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Asian American Journalists Association conference #aaja2014 — CSPAN panel, some observations.

I’ve been coming to these conventions since the very first one in the 80s. But the “convention” has evolved, as has the media itself. It’s  more like a modest, yet big meeting. But still very valuable as it brings together veterans and young people who haven’t given up on journalism as a career, or as a way to make a difference.

The drive for diversity plays some role in that, but the young are less conscious about the civil rights aspect of journalism. Free speech? First Amendment? The new generation hates trolls slightly more than racists. (Sometimes they’re one and the same. But in this digital post-racial world, racism doesn’t quite compute. Until you experience it first hand).

Generational differences in perspective actually make AAJA more interesting. In DC,  I said hello to old friends, some who met their spouses at AAJA, had babies while at AAJA. Some have kids who have entered journalism/media/writing.

My personal memory from my years of convention going? It’s not asking Connie Chung a question in an open meeting about her lack of involvement with AAJA. It’s not even our nice chat at the 2010 LA convention when we were both among the “Pioneers.” No, my personal AAJA story is about coming back from an opening night of the first Chicago convention, and then being forced to leave the next day.

I got a call. My mother had died.

AAJA. It’s  journalism, life, and death.

These days at conventions, I speak more often to young people than the veterans. (Most of the best ones have retired, or  like Dith Pran, have passed on).

In DC, I’ve met with young men and women who are working their way through the path we’ve left.

And with each one, comes a reminder of why we’re all in this game to begin with and why we stay.

We’re all yearning to have a voice.

This is the panel I was in, moderated by Phil Yu, Angry Asian Man, that discussed the Asian American community and the Media.