Army Investigates “Racially Charged Bullying” Behind Soldier’s Death

Private Danny Chen died Oct. 3.
Private Danny Chen died Oct. 3.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division is reportedly examining the circumstances surrounding the non-combat-related death of 19-year-old Private Danny Chen, a New York City native who was found dead in Afghanistan on October 3. According to a report in the Sing Tao Daily, Chen was allegedly subjected to “racially charged bullying,” harassment and physical abuse before he was found dead in his barracks of a forward operating base in the Kandahar province. His parents, Yan Toa and Su Zhen Chen, were told that preliminary signs suggest Chen killed himself. But family spokesman Frank Gee said the couple were also told by Army investigators that their only child had been subjected to taunting and violence at the hands of the soldiers with whom he served. The circumstances behind Pvt. Chen’s death still remain a mystery, and community leaders, family and friends are demanding a fair, thorough and transparent investigation.

The Life of a Photo: The Pepper-Spraying Policeman

UC Davis campus officer Lt. Pike pepper-sprays students.
UC Davis campus officer Lt. Pike pepper-sprays students.

The Nov. 18 photograph of Lieutenant John Pike, the now-infamous campus police officer, as he casually unloads a can of pepper spray on the bowed heads of seated University of California at Davis student protesters, has traveled around the world. Some critics compare the image to photographs of 1960s civil rights protesters being fire-hosed in Alabama. Atlantic magazine profiled the photographer of the photo, Brian Nguyen, a first-year student at UC Davis and photographer for the school newspaper. An Atlantic writer found Nguyen at the Occupy UC Davis camp recently and asked him about the pepper spray incident and the power of photography in the age of social media.

Read the Atlantic article at Link: www.theatlantic.com.

 
A Record Number of Asian Americans Running for Congress

A record number of Asian Americans are running for Congress next year, reflecting population gains and a growing sense of the need to flex political muscle, reports USA Today. Republican Ranjit “Ricky” Gill has already outraised Democratic incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney in California’s newly configured 9th District. In Illinois, two Democrats — Raja Krishnamoorthi and Tammy Duckworth —- are vying in the new 8th District. And two current Asian-American officeholders — U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and state Rep. William Tong of Connecticut, both Democrats — are running for U.S. Senate seats.

William Tong is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut.
William Tong is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut.

In all, at least 19 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) candidates have declared their bids for Congress so far in the 2012 election cycle, up from eight candidates in 2010. “You can’t call us invisible anymore,” said Gloria Chan, president and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS), which compiled the data. “This spike in AAPI congressional challengers marks a definite political tipping point for our community.” There are 11 members of the U.S. House and two in the U.S. Senate who have Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander ancestry, according to the Congressional Research Service. Only one — Rep. Steve Austria of Ohio — is a Republican. Larry Shinagawa, director of the Asian American studies program at the University of Maryland, attributes the growth of Asian American candidates in part to the “Americanization” of younger generations and their realization that elected officials can have impact. “Asian Americans are increasingly going into politics because politicians can make people’s lives different,” Shinagawa said. “They realize that civic participation is very important.” Today, an estimated 17.3 million people of Asian descent live in the United States, comprising 5.6 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The largest subgroups (in order) are Chinese Americans, followed by Filipino Americans and Asian Indians.

Tribute Paid to Japanese American Automobile Designer: Larry Shinoda

Larry Shinoda. From the Japanese American National Museum’s “Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism” exhibition.
Larry Shinoda. From the Japanese American National Museum’s “Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism” exhibition.

The popular blog You Offend Me You Offend My Family (www.youoffendmeyouoffendmyfamily.com) paid tribute to pioneering Japanese American automobile designer Larry Shinoda, who is responsible for such iconic looks as the 1963 Corvette Stingray, Mako Shark I and II, the Boss 302 and 429 Mustangs, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the Corvair Super Spyder. Born in Los Angeles in 1930, Shinoda was interned with his family at Manzanar incarceration camp during World War II. He later built hot rods and became involved in the then-burgeoning drag race culture in Southern California. In 1955, he won the first National Hot Rod Association Nationals. Thus, began a life-long affair with cars and positions at Ford, Packard and GM — ultimately leading to his work on concept cars that would give birth to the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, which would secure Shinoda’s reputation as one of the most innovative automobile designers in the business. He later started his own private design firm and worked in that capacity until his death from heart failure in 1997 (he was posthumously inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame in 1998).

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