Join the Final Push for #StandWithNanHui. Nan-Hui’s April 1st Sentencing is Almost Here!

Over a hundred community organizations across the pacific and the country have come together to endorse the #StandWithNanHui campaign raising awareness and making demands to free Nan-Hui Jo, a domestic violence survivor that has been in jail in Yolo County, CA without bail for the past 8 months.  Nan-Hui escaped the U.S in 2009 after reporting 2 different incidents of domestic violence to the police with her then one-year-old daughter, Vitz Da from her ex-partner Jesse Charlton, an Iraq war veteran with PTSD who has previously admitted in court to assaulting Nan-Hui (and father of the child).  When mother and daughter returned to the U.S in July 2014, Nan-Hui was immediately arrested and convicted unanimously on “child abduction” charges which Charlton had filed without her knowledge while she was in Korea.  She is currently being held by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with a very possible deportation upon her sentencing on April 1, 2015.

A growing outpour of outrage at the verdict has spurned thousands of social media posts in support of Nan-Hui and have helped organize various call-ins to the ICE and CBP.  Over 60 activists marched outside the ICE and CBP offices in San Francisco on March 5th, coalition-building with other domestic violence and deportation campaigns such as #Not1More.  As organizers make their final push to pack the courtroom on April 1st to send a strong message to the Yolo County District Attorney, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to demand justice for Nan-Hui and all survivors of domestic violence, Hyejin- one of the core organizers of #StandWithNanHui spoke briefly with Kollaboration around this critical issue.


Kollaboration: How did you first get involved with #StandWithNanHui?

Hyejin: I am a member of the volunteer-based organization Korean American Coalition to End Domestic Abuse (KACEDA), and KACEDA-Sacramento reached out about the case seeking expert witnesses in Korean culture and domestic violence.  KACEDA then organized domestic violence agencies in the area and have been organizing with a larger coalition of people.

Who has been supporting the campaign and what kind of organizing efforts have been made?

It started with friends in various networks using social media but lots of other Korean Americans, young people, LGBTG&T people have been active on social media.  Around Yolo County, organizations from different fronts- church communities, student organizations, and Korean organizations have been supporting us.

What can we expect now?

Nan-Hui’s sentencing on April 1st can be a potential felony with jail time, even though she has already done 8 months so far.  Jail has been a very isolating and challenging experience for her.  She is undocumented, facing possible deportation which means she will not be able to reunite with her daughter.  She left law-abidingly 5 years ago with her daughter to escape and now charged with child abduction.  The law wants the child to stay with the father and cannot regain custody of her child.

What can we hope for on April 1st?

The best case scenario is if the judge reduces charges to misdemeanor and jail time served counts as jail time so she can work on her other legal cases out of jail.  There is possible release from jail.  Possible relocation to immigration detention is likely if released from jail.

What can we do now?

People can make calls [to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP)].  It does make a big difference- the agencies are very aware that this is a public case.  Getting it on the news and spreading it on social media is still important.  We don’t want the decision makers to think that people forgot or don’t care about Nan-Hui.  Public pressure is important.  We have been fundraising, not just against her possible deportation but for a shot at reunifying with her daughter.  There are many cases involved, in the criminal court system and as an immigration care and family court case.  All these are going to be expensive.  Contributions of any, such as people sharing skillsets, from graphic design to fundraising should please get in touch.  We have been mobilizing- NYC, Seattle, LA, Boston—all here



  • CBP Support Director Ricardo Scheller. (415) 782-9201
  • ICE Field Director Craig Meyer. (415) 844-5512. Press #4.

EXAMPLE SCRIPT: “I am calling to ask Director Scheller/Director Meyer to drop the immigration hold against Ms. Nan-Hui Jo (A 098 906 641) and allow her to reunite with her six-year-old daughter. Ms. Jo is a survivor of domestic violence and her case should be considered under the parental interests directive. I ask that CBP & ICE exercise its prosecutorial discretion and drop Ms. Jo’s deportation case.”

**Local field office has the prosecutorial discretion to drop the charges against Nan-Hui. But you can also call ICE’s newly appointed director, Sarah Saldaña, in their DC office: 202-732-3000. Apparently, Director Saldaña is picking up the case directly.**

Please read the full story here and please support, contribute, and share #StandWithNanHui

Discovering Suey Park through Hashtags

Who is Suey Park?  I ask, as a long time member of Kollaboration, and a member of the particular group of Asian/Pacific Americans that I belong to who have been mobilizing and working towards a greater sense of our own productive individual and collective identities, possibilities, and visibility online, in media, within our own communities and to the rest of common viewers that have historically and continuously projected discriminatory, reductionist, and biased racialized and gendered ideologies of ‘who’ and ‘what’ we are supposed to be.

As Suey Park continues to be a trending topic, the object of much criticism, analysis, and praise on my selectively curated world of social media, I simply want to make sense of who she is, for me.  She is the David of a satirical modern-day David and Goliath, given her rise to the upper-echelon of the great Twitter-verse in her battle against long-standing and ongoing racism and sexism regenerated online and in social media.  The Goliath here is not Stephen Colbert, the mighty powerful American comedic satirist, television host and an emblem of a political pundit.  The battlefield was social media, her weapon of attack was “#CancelColbert.”  The fight was against racism, racist rhetoric, and a response to Stephen Colbert’s  failed satire of attacking another racially marginalized group (Asian Americans) when his scripted and performed “joke” on his show The Colbert Report said:

“I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”

as a way to ridicule [Dan Snyder’s] Washington R*dskins Original Americans Foundation’s feeble attempts to “offer genuine opportunities for Tribal communities” by distributing winter coats and shoes that his $1.8 billion franchise have built around the racist slur that evokes and undermines the centuries of systematic genocide and removal of Native/Indigenous Americans and their lands.  The moment that Colbert called the Asian American community Orientals and reduced our existence to a funny-sounding joke- “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong” (I personally don’t make those sounds, ever) he repeats and reappropriated what Snyder’s Washington R*dskin’s mascot, as an offensive racist slur that physically and figuratively attacks the Native American community onto Asian Americans.  

When Suey Park took to Twitter with her #CancelCobert, it quickly mobilized a large following of Twitter-activists that problematized Colbert’s failed satire and racism. The hashtag and hashtagger also forgot to contextualize the whole incident and the origin of the “joke”.  It produced and generated a lot of lurkers and racist and misogynistic trolls that began to attack Park for her Asian American/female-ness and against Asians, Asian Americans, and Asian American women in particular.  (I choose not to link any of these virtual trolls and their disgusting language and descriptions of rape, misogyny, and racist attacks, because why would I give them additional social capital? No effing way.)  All this catastrophic viral and virtual confusion sparked a Week of #Solidarity between Asian/Pacific American and Native American online activists around a collective social and racial justice oriented campaign #NotYourMascot.  

The Asian American social media community also did not know what to make of Suey Park’s campaign or of her.  As an Asian American female that studies racial production and discourse in pop-culture and new media, it took me a while to simmer in what others in my community had to say about Suey Park.  A list of Asian American men of social media influence reacted with immediate resistance to her hashtag on Twitter, from Steven Yeun (who is probably the most famous and popular Asian American actor of our generation) to Kollaboration alum Alex Hwang of the band Run River North’s, Hollywood Writer/Producer Daniel Chun, and Phil Yu (aka Angry Asian Man).  These reactions came out before Suey Park herself got the opportunity to represent herself, her activism, and virtual campaign.  Novelist/Sports-writer Jay Caspian Park somewhat questions Suey Park’s identity as an activist, while Arthur Chu calls her the Asian American villain we need (but love to hate).  

All this makes me question where the women and female voices and representation is in Asian America.  Besides Margaret Cho who rightfully claimed the role of the controversial Asian American female in media and entertainment, there has yet to be a successor.  I cringe, as the only other “commercialized” Asian American female to stir up any controversy in mainstream media outlets had been Tila Tequila. Besides every Tiger Mom (or the Anti-Tiger Mom), who else exists to represent a nuanced and deliberate representation of Asian Americans and more specifically, Asian American women?  In a recent Vanity Fair article, Why It Matters When Asian Women Leave TV Shows it points out how Asian characters are still disappointing stereotypes of ourselves, while the bamboo ceiling persists with simultaneous opportunities and limitations for Asian Americans in media and entertainment.  

Jeff Yang said in what I consider to be a more nuanced coverage of #CancelColbert that: “That’s because social media is, in many ways, our mainstream media.”  His phrasing of social media as OUR mainstream media struck multiple chords for me.  Whether his claim is based on the bamboo ceiling, or because of the college-educated (or college-bound youth) Asian American demographic he self-identifies with is widely and heavily active online, it makes me reflect on how I fall under his particularity as well.  That is why #CancelColbert and how a twitter-based activism of an Asian American is so meaningful, because I am part of this specific upwardly-mobile (educated/literate/with consumer-power) young Asian Americans whose life is virtually connected and social media-driven.  It is a new and partial group of Asian Americans coming-of-age that exists in relation to what was and is Asian America.  

As Asian Americans in social media have yet to cultivate an individual and collective identity of and for ourselves, what Suey Park means to me is another type of our possibility.  She is not perfect, and I do not know all of her politics, or her hobbies.  I don’t know if she likes the type of music I like or if we spend our dollars at the same stores. But she represents an Asian American (and female) figure who speaks to what I believe Kollaboration is working towards as well.  To break ground, to create interventions, to provide platforms for the Asian Pacific American community to discover and connect with each other to locate and produce our own diverse representations.  Whether it is through music, dance, acting, comedy, or hashtags, she has built herself up to be a force to be reckoned with in our ongoing efforts for inclusion and creation on stage, in print, on camera, in albums, and in social media.