In a signed letter to Harvard Asian American groups, almost a thousand college students and graduates argued against the groups’ decision to not sponsor a pro-DACA walkout. DACA is an Obama-era policy that allows undocumented immigrants who came as children a two year reprieve from the threat of deportation.
The letter said that there were 1.7 million undocumented Asian immigrants living in the U.S.
“An apolitical cultural community is a pernicious lie. It is literally impossible to live as a person of color on the stolen land that is the United States without either being political or being politically instrumentalized by oppressive structures,” the letter read. “It is also something we need to be particularly wary of as members of the Asian American community whose history often times is erased and excluded from the mainstream narrative.”
The Harvard Crimson reported that the Asian American groups that did co-sponsor the event were the Harvard Task Force on Asian and Pacific American Studies, Harvard Philippine Forum, and the Khmer Student Association. The walkout organizers reached out to other Asian American groups as well, but they declined or did not respond to the invitation. Among the groups that did not sign are Asian American Association (AAA), Chinese Students Association (CSA), Harvard Korean Association (HKA), South Asian Association (SAA), South Asian Women’s Collective (SAWC), Harvard Vietnamese Association (HVA), Asian American Brotherhood (AAB), and South Asian Men’s Collective (SAMC).
Jennifer Lee, a professor at Columbia University, supported DACA on Twitter.
“I signed the open letter because I believe Asian American is a political term and Asian American cultural organizations have a responsibility to engage politically,” said Harvard student David J. Moon to the Harvard Crimson.
The groups that did not sign the letter either declined or did not respond to requests for comment.
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