Saving Innocence Summer Benefit Concert: Join the Fight Against Human Sex Trafficking in the US

PSA – Saving Innocence

Did you know…

At least 100,000 to 300,000 youth are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation annually in the U.S.

The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is 12 years old.


It’s a difficult subject to talk about. Many of us are aware of the human sex trafficking problem happening internationally, but did you know it’s also a large and growing problem within the United States?

On Saturday, August 2nd, Kollaboration is teaming up with Saving Innocence and Ford Theatres to present the Saving Innocence Summer Benefit Concert, in order to spread awareness on the issue of domestic human sex trafficking.

Enjoy a beautiful summer night at the Ford Amphitheatre for a night of empowerment and music, featuring five of the best indie artists and bands in Southern California. As always, you are welcome to bring your picnic baskets of food & wine.

Saving Innocence, Summer Benefit Concert
Saturday, August 2, 2014
7:30 pm (Doors open at 6 pm)
at the Ford Amphitheatre
2580 Cahuenga Blvd E, Los Angeles, CA 90068

Live performances by:
Hana Kim
Lucy Schwartz
Hotel Cinema
Belmont Lights
Jane Lui

Special Guest Jubilee Project will release the trailer of their new documentary “Save My Soul” about human trafficking at the concert.

Online Pre-Sale: $20
General Admission: $25
VIP: $50 (limited supply!)

VIP tickets include preferred seating and a special gift bag.

Please help us spread the word on this issue and the benefit concert.

For ticket information, visit
To learn more about the concert, visit

All proceeds will benefit Saving Innocence, a non-profit organization commissioned by the LA Superior Court to rescue and restore child victims of sex trafficking. Its services include safe housing, medical care, counseling, court advocacy, mentorship, and education for victims. To learn more about Saving Innocence, visit


Artists for APAture

Kearney Street Workshop is now looking for artist submissions from the San Francisco Bay Area for its 13th annual multidisciplinary arts festival, APAture. The festival—slated to run from September 26 to October 5 in the San Francisco-Oakland region—is designed to “produce, present, and promote art that empowers” the Asian-Pacific American (APA) community.

Kearney Street Workshop prides itself as being “the oldest Asian Pacific American multidisciplinary arts organization in the country.” Since its founding in 1972, it has offered classes and workshops while also producing exhibitions, readings, screenings, and performances in the hopes of creating a “more just society that fully incorporates [APA] historical roots, cultural values, and contemporary issues.”

The committee is looking for submissions to its book (comics, illustrations), literary (poems, spoken word), musical, performing, visual, and film arts categories until July 7. For more information, visit APAture ’14 or


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Keeping the Revolution Alive: Remembering Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama, who passed away last Sunday, June 1st, was known for her radical social activism during the 1960s in the course of the Civil Rights Movement and also for her prolonged dedication to the fight against racial injustice.

We should remember and honor Yuri by carrying on her legacy and applying the life lessons she left us with. The issues of inequality and injustice that she fought so strongly against are still very much with us today, perhaps not in the same shape or form, but in the ways they affect our communities.

As members of the communities that Kochiyama revolutionized, it is our duty to continue her work and, thereby, keep the revolution alive.

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Preserve and protect your roots 

Kochiyama was dedicated to the preservation of her Japanese-American identity and pushed for others to foster the same cultural selfhood. Having experienced the atrocities of internment camps in the wake of Executive Order 9066, Kochiyama first-handedly witnessed the abhorrent treatment of her ethnic community and zealously strove to resist anything that disrespected or threatened her culture.

In 1988, Kochiyama’s attempts to alleviate the cruelties of World War II and the internment camps proved to be successful through the signing of the Civil Liberties Act, which granted reparations to Japanese Americans who had been imprisoned by the U.S. government. She also demonstrated this commitment to the preservation of her culture through her fight for ethnic studies departments in colleges.

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Others are key

Kochiyama once stated: “Life is not what you alone make it. Life is the input of everyone who touched your life and every experience that entered it.” In the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, Kochiyama knew that collective action was necessary to realize success. Noticing the similarities between the discriminatory treatment of Japanese Americans and African Americans, she practiced intersectional camaraderie by standing in solidarity with other ethnic communities. She involved herself in the fight for Puerto Rican independence, acquainted herself with the goals of the Black Panther Party, and recognized that the struggles of all minority groups were connected.

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Be conscious

Yuri coined the famous saying: “Consciousness is power.” She knew that the first step to any movement of change was to become aware, which would foster “trust and goodwill”. Kochiyama continuously raised awareness, not only during the 60s through her activism in social movements, but also through delivering speeches throughout her lifetime, urging people to mobilize against inequity.

In addition, Kochiyama saw consciousness as “the perfect vehicle for students” to implement change and served as a strong advocate for student voices. Many believed that Kochiyama was almost hyper-aware and “ahead of her time”.

Stay open-minded and compassionate

Although Kochiyama knew the importance of being critical, she also knew that narrow-mindedness, bitterness, and violence crippled the heart of revolutions. Her compassion was actualized both on a nationwide scale through her support of nuclear disarmament and on a personal scale through her services as a pen pal to political prisoners.

Importantly, her friendship with Malcolm X also showed that she valued interpersonal relations amidst intense social change. Kochiyama’s compassion for Malcolm was famously documented by TIME Magazine, in a photograph that captured Kochiyama by his side at the time of his death.

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Never settle

Yuri’s prolonged efforts to question the quality of social and racial systems show us that change is constant, and because society is persistently changing, we must continue to challenge the inherent disparities that come along with it.

Yuri Kochiyama never settled for anything less than equality, so in her honor, we must carry on the revolution and keep her legacy alive. The Blue Scholars’ song, titled “Yuri Kochiyama” proclaims: “Revolutionaries die, but the revolution won’t.”

Thank you, Yuri Kochiyama, for being the revolution.

It’s an Asian Take-Over at the 2014 Met Gala

It’s May, which means two things: 1) it’s Asian American Heritage Month, and 2) it’s that time of the year for that one event where celebrities, designers, and really rich people pay upwards of $25,000 per ticket just to get in. Ladies and funky gentlemen, the Met Gala happened yesterday. Continue reading “It’s an Asian Take-Over at the 2014 Met Gala”

CAPE Launches #IAm Campaign For APA Heritage Month

To commemorate this year’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) has partnered with Verizon to launch the #IAm Campaign, which showcases inspirational stories of various influential Asian American actors, musicians, and role models in entertainment and media. Continue reading “CAPE Launches #IAm Campaign For APA Heritage Month”

KRNFX, DANakaDAN, Style 2 Kill, and More to Celebrate LA Korean Culture at Beats Bistro This Sunday

This Sunday, April 27, in Los Angeles, Kollaboration is co-presenting Beats Bistro – LA Seoul, a celebration of LA’s Korean culture at the Troubadour with live music from KRNFX and DanakaDan plus a special food menu prepared by Kokio Chicken. Continue reading “KRNFX, DANakaDAN, Style 2 Kill, and More to Celebrate LA Korean Culture at Beats Bistro This Sunday”

Ktown Night Market Puts Hip, Urban Spin on Asian Market

Last year, Anthony Bourdain made a guest appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and was asked to name his favorite spot in Los Angeles. He replied:

“KTOWN, yeah Koreatown. The Korean restaurant scene here is the best in America. It’s a bottomless pit of wonderful restaurants, layer upon layer.”

Continue reading “Ktown Night Market Puts Hip, Urban Spin on Asian Market”

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.

Check Out CAAMFest Before It Ends This Sunday

All week long, the San Francisco Bay Area has been playing host to the 2014 Center for Asian American Media Film Festival (CAAMFest). From the City by the Bay itself, Berkeley, and for the first time- Oakland, attendees have been able to discover a wide selection of Asian American and Asian diaspora films.

This year’s festival started off with the US premiere of the Ham Tran’s “How to Fight in Six Inch Heels” at the Castro Theatre which was followed by Opening Night Gala at the Asian Art Museum.  For the festival’s closing feature, the honor will go to the New Parkway screening in Oakland of Marissa Aroy’s documentary, “Delano Manongs.”

Continue reading “Check Out CAAMFest Before It Ends This Sunday”

akaDAN Documentary Premiere Brings Friends and Family Together

Several weeks ago on February 1, I had the pleasure of attending and volunteering at the akaDAN Documentary Premiere, held at the JapaneseAmericanNationalMuseum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

You might be thinking, “What’s akaDAN, and what is it about?” It is an incredible story documenting the reunion of a Korean-American adoptee, Dan Matthews (better known as Los Angeles-based musician DANakaDAN), and his biological family in Korea, including a twin brother he never knew existed!

Dan and his production team had the opportunity to travel to Korea in the summer of 2013, during which he attended the International Korean Adoptee Association (IKAA) and underwent the process of being reunited with his family. The documentary follows Dan and his team through the whole process, highlighting the raw emotions of each scene. I had the chance to watch most of the film, and it is an incredible journey to follow. I can guarantee that one moment you’ll be laughing at and along with Dan, and the next you’ll have tears rolling down your cheeks without realizing it.

Continue reading “akaDAN Documentary Premiere Brings Friends and Family Together”