Asian Pacific American Advocates (OCA) is denouncing the civil rights abuses against demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri while the Asian American Journalists Association is speaking out for the protection of journalists covering the story.
“Excessive use of police force, continued racial and religious profiling, and the lack of accountability for officers involved in these cases have led not only to the death of Michael Brown, but a long list of deaths from the African American community and other communities of color,” Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President, said in the International Examiner.
“The incidents in Ferguson are an outrageous abuse of civil rights against the African American community. The reactions by local police to peaceful protesters, from their use of police dogs to tear gases thrown at demonstrators, are clear violations of the Ferguson community’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble,” said Ken Lee, OCA Acting Chief Executive Officer.
The Asian American Journalists Association released its statement shortly after a number of articles criticizing the group for not speaking out on this issue, especially since the group was convened in Washington, DC last week for its national convention. Both Emil Guillermo in his blog for AALDEF and Richard Prince of Journalisms raised the issue in their respective blogs.
“We are dismayed by the actions taken by local authorities against journalists covering the story, said AAJA in a statement released by Bobby Caina Calvan and Zain Shauk of the group’s Media Watch Committee and Paul Cheung, the group’s national president.
“They’ve arrested reporters and photographers, and disrupted the work of getting out the facts in a challenging environment. In some cases, journalists were detained even after following the directions of authorities. Other journalists have reported being threatened by police, sometimes with mace and violence. We consider this harassment. A free press is vital in protecting our democracy.”
The OCA statement follows a similar statement released last week by the National Council on Asian Pacific Americans, a coalition of 35 civil rights organizations.
Also this week, Chinese for Affirmative Action, based in San Francisco joined the chorus of protestors.
“CAA joins with others across the globe calling for equality and justice, and insist that all protestors have the ability to voice their views without interference. Our hearts are with the family and friends of Michael Brown, and the countless others who have and continue to suffer the consequences of systemic and structural racism.”
You can read about examples of police abuses in the Asian American community in the International Examiner.