Asians in the City is a joint venture composed of teachers at Fresno City College and the Asian American Club. There are three projects sponsored by Asians in the City: the Conference, the Booklet, and the Student Film Festival.
Asians in the City is organized and led by John Cho, an Asian American Studies instructor, and Michael Takeda, a reading instructor. They are the advisers for the Asian American Club.
Guests: The Slants
Saturday, October 7, 2017
8:00 am - 8:30 am
8:30 am - 8:45 am
9:00 am - 9:50 am
10:00 am -10:50 am
11:00 am - 11:50 am
12:00 pm -12:30 pm
The Asians in the City Conference is a Saturday morning event held at the historic Old Administration Building on the campus of Fresno City College. The purpose is to promote education, culture, and understanding; so we want to offer participants the opportunity to learn from lecture presentations, to engage in cultural workshops, and to share thoughts in discussion groups.
Participation is open to all high school students, college students, and adults in the community. Registration is limited to 100 participants. Lunch is available at a nominal cost. The first fifty participants will receive a free copy of the Asians in the City booklet, which showcases the work of students in the genres of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, and two-dimensional art.
Over thousands of years, Chinese artists have created images of mythical creatures such as the taotie monster, dragons, and guardian lions in different styles and media. Explore the symbolism and meaning behind these motifs in fantasy.
Learn about the Han Dynasty of China from 206 BC to 221 AD. Confucianism became the basis upon which Chinese society developed. Examine the technological innovations of this dynasty. Why do Chinese refer to themselves as Han Chinese?
What it means to live in another country. Have you ever wanted to travel the world? How about seeing the world while earning college credits? Or experiencing an exciting new culture while working and making money?
Participate and experience
Japanese Flower Arrangement, or Ikebana, is a cherished traditional art that has been practiced in Japan for over 500 years. Originally a religious art, Ikebana is now practiced worldwide.
Taiko drums have been a part of Japanese culture and history for over one thousand years. Today ensemble groups maintain this cultural heritage and perform in multi-cultural events. Members of Clovis Heiwa Taiko will show and share their skill.
Pan Dau “flower cloth” is the embroidery artwork of the Hmong. This is an iconic representation of the Hmong culture and a heritage skill of needlework which has been passed from grandmothers to mothers to daughters for many generations.
Discuss and share thoughts on
Which came first: the reality or the stereotype? Are stereotypes based in reality, or do stereotypes shape reality? Why do Asian stereotypes exist? How do they do harm? Will they persist?
Has society changed its attitudes towards the LGBTQ community and in what ways? How would your family react to a family member who came out; what variables would influence their reaction?
What defines mental health and mental illness? How does one’s cultural background influence those definitions? When does it become necessary to seek professional help?
Director: Fernando Galarza
Contributors: Patrick Marmolejo, Fernando Ruiz, Victor Reyes, Jazmin-Livera, Nicolas Gonzales, Christian Barerra, Antony Yun, Francisco Ruiz, Jason Garcia
Synopsis: A young field worker, full of doubts, has to find his own voice in order to believe in himself and take the first step towards his future.
The Futility of Time
Director: Elias Garza
Contributors: Adam Benitez, Shireen Klein, April Vu, Graham Aldredge, Flor Garza, Gabriel Quintero, Jenna Garcia, Elias Garcia, Jonathan Perez
Synopsis: Joe is your average, well, Joe. Nothing exciting has ever happened to him, until a time traveler suddenly appears in his living room and sets off an unexpected chain of events.
The World and Its Ways
Director: Toni Erebia
Contributors: Jeff Morgenstern, Angelica Hanna, Jiaang Czher Choong
Synopsis: A young woman “pays it forward” by helping a man get back on his feet.
On January 18th, 2017, the Asian-American Dance Rock band The Slants stood before the US Supreme Court to argue its case. At issue was the band’s right to use the term “slants”, which the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had previously deemed derogatory in forbidding the band to trademark the name. The band argued that the use of the term “slants” was its way of reappropriating the term for Asian Americans, thereby robbing the term of its power.
On April 3rd, 2017, The Slants made their way to Fresno City College to talk about the pending case and introduce the campus to its brand of music, Chinatown Dance Rock. Simon Tam, the group’s bassist, enthralled the attendees in the historic Old Administration Building Auditorium with the amazing story of the band’s long fight with the USPTO and the righteousness of its purpose. The remaining members—vocalist Ken Shima, guitarist Joe X. Jiang, drummer Yuya Matsuda—then joined Tam on stage to perform for their existing and budding fans. Among their many songs, none defined their struggle better than From the Heart:
Sorry if our notes are too sharp
sorry if our voice is too raw
Don’t make the pen a weapon
And censor our intelligence
Until our thoughts mean nothing at all
Sorry if you take offense
You made up rules and played pretend
We know you fear change
It’s something so strange
But nothing’s gonna’ get in our way
There’s no room
For your backward feelings
And your backyard dealings
We’re never gonna settle
No, we won’t remain silent
Know it’s our defining moment
We sing from the heart
No, we won’t be complacent
know it’s a rock n roll nation
We sing from the heart
Sorry if we try too hard
To take some power back for ours
The language of oppression
Will lose to education
Until the words can’t hurt us again
So sorry if you take offense
But silence will not make amends
The system’s all wrong
And it won’t be long
Before the kids are singing our song
June 19th, 2017, brought an end to the band’s eight-year battle for freedom of speech and expression: the Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, affirmed the right of the The Slants to trademark their name as such. In his opinion, Justice Alito wrote,
“To the extent trademarks qualify as commercial speech, they are an example of why that category does not serve as a blanket exemption from the First Amendment’s requirement of viewpoint neutrality. In the realm of trademarks, the metaphorical marketplace of ideas becomes a tangible, powerful reality. To permit viewpoint discrimination in this context is to permit Government censorship.”
On September 6th, 2017, Fresno City College will again welcome The Slants to the OAB Auditorium stage to celebrate their victory. With this long struggle to win the rights of marginalizes groups everywhere in their rearview mirror, the band will continue in their struggle for equity and justice in America while savoring their place in the future of our cherished Free Speech.
For more information about The Slants, please visit their website: www.theSlants.com