Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Eric Byler: "Never Confuse a Single Defeat with a Final Defeat"

Dear Friends,

I wanted to thank you for joining the APA artists coalition, share some thoughts, and invite you to stay with us in the future.

Oddly, I feel liberated by this. Creative ideas are flowing again. I'm ready to refocus my energy on a half-finished film that I had put on hold for eight weeks. Now that the election is over, we can all focus a little more on our career goals, our selfish goals, in concert with our hopes for the less fortunate, for the world, and for our nation.

But let’s remember, our personal goals are not entirely separate from our duty as patriots and as People of Color. History has shown that great work can be produced during, and even inspired by tragic times. Under oppressive regimes, the voices of artists and intellectuals have been more vital, more enduring, and more effective than under democratic and free societies. This election is a reminder of a call of duty we felt in our hearts a long time ago.

There are many factors that have contributed to the collapse of the American democracy, but first in foremost, in my opinion, is the role of mainstream media. The most important pillar of our democracy is an informed electorate. Sadly, the 2004 election was decided by an uninformed, indeed misinformed, electorate. This puts you and I at the forefront in what will be a lifelong struggle to resuscitate our democracy, by altering the message sent out by the media, and contributing to an informed electorate that votes based on facts rather than faith, with humanity rather than hatred, with patriotism rather than partisanship.

This election has inspired the creation of an impressive coalition of Asian Pacific American artists and intellectuals. As our influence as “culture-makers” grows in coming years, our duty will be to provide leadership. Young Asian Pacific Americans are vitally interested, even obsessed with media issues, how we see ourselves represented, and how others perceive us. As APA artists, we are the bridge between our communities and mainstream America-- the voices that will ensure that Asian Pacific Americans are represented, heard and understood. Most importantly, they will look to us, and they will listen.

When we discuss our work in interviews, and when speak at colleges and universities, we must bring with us a unified and progressive message to share with the communities we represent. If APA scholars, filmmakers, journalists, actors, playwrights, authors, activists, and performance artists remain faithful to this duty, a new generation of informed and politically active APAs will emerge as a progressive force and decisive voting block in our democratic system. In the coming days, you will receive an email inviting you to stay with our coalition. We have more work to do. As we move forward, we must stay informed, stay active, and stay in contact with one another. Just as we collaborate in the arts, we must work together to shape and focus the message we will bring to our communities.

It should not come as a surprise that we live in difficult times. It took our nation a decade to realize the mistakes of the Vietnam War. It has taken much longer than that to come as far as we have with Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and equality under the law. Though we still have a long way to go, and though this election is a disappointing setback, we must remember that the long-term trend for this country has always been toward the good. The work we will do in coming years will ensure that, when our nation is ready to face the mistakes we’ve made, when our nation is truly ready for change, the Asian Pacific American community will also be ready to do its part.

Yours truly,
Eric Byler

Jeff Yang, Eric Byler, others liveblog on Election Night

Visit us at

Monday, November 01, 2004

Tamlyn Tomita

Tamlyn Tomita, actress (Robot Stories, Come See the Paradise, The Joy Luck Club)

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Stewart David Ikeda

Stewart David Ikeda calls in from an Election Eve rally in downtown Milwaukee, where thousands brave pouring rain and low-40s temperatures.

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Marina Budhos

Marina Budhos, author (The Professor of Light, Remix)

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David Henry Hwang

Photo by Jilly Wendell
David Henry Hwang, Tony Award-winning playwright, screenwriter and author (M. Butterfly)

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Jessica Yu

Jessica Yu, Academy Award-winning filmmaker and television director ( "The West Wing," and "ER")

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Jacqueline Kim

Jacqueline Kim (charlotte sometimes, Red Doors, Volcano)

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Eric Byler, Jacqueline Kim, Cecilia Tsai and Annie Katsura Rollins at a phone bank operation...

Eric Byler and Cecilia Tsai at the Clinton rally...

Tamlyn Tomita, Greg Watanabe, Jacqueline Kim phone banking at Cheerful Restaurant in Las Vegas ...

At the Clinton rally for Kerry...

Jeff Yang

"Stay SANE"

Jeff Yang, founder of A Magazine, author Once Upon a Time in China, general manager Cultural DNA

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At an APA rally in Las Vegas...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Kip Fulbeck

"The most dangerous election of my lifetime," says filmmaker, slam poet and author Kip Fulbeck.

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Hear our voices: Vote for John Kerry on Nov. 2

Welcome to our audio blog, companion to our coalition's home at We are a national, grassroots collective formed to promote the interests our diverse Asian and Pacific Islander American communities by supporting John F. Kerry for President.

It houses recorded statements by prominent APIAs who have joined our coalition to endorse Senator Kerry. It also contains "field reports" and personal stories recorded by APIA volunteers who are traveling tirelessly across the country, urging our communities to stand up, be counted and vote for Senator Kerry on November 2.

The files here may be copied, shared, linked to or downloaded, and broadcast online, through broadcast media or in public without prior permission, provided that the substance of the speakers' messages remain intact and unedited. Additional reprintable essays, features, opinions and other materials are available at

On November 2, APIAs can have an unprecedented influence on the course of our country's future if we all turn out to perform our duty as citizens. Please join our effort to give John Kerry and ourseleves a long-awaited chance to build a safer and stronger America, both on the world's stage and here at home.


Gish Jen

"Why I am Voting for John Kerry"

Gish Jen, author, Typical American, Mona in the Promised Land, The Love Wife

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Uyen Loewald

"Vietnam, Iraq and My Husband's Dying Wish: Help John Kerry Defeat Bush" [in English] by Uyen Loewald, 64, a Vietnamese American widow tells the powerful story of how her diplomat husband stopped cancer treatment and urged her to leave his deathbed in Australia to come home and share his last patriotic message: "We need John Kerry!"

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Uyen Loewald [in Vietnamese]

"Vietnam, Iraq and My Husband's Dying Wish: Help John Kerry Defeat Bush" [in Vietnamese] by Uyen Loewald, 64, a Vietnamese American widow tells the powerful story of how her diplomat husband stopped cancer treatment and urged her to leave his deathbed in Australia to come home and share his last patriotic message: "We need John Kerry!"

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Paul Igasaki

"Stronger ties to bring the Nation back together" by Paul Igasaki, former Vice Chair of the U.S. EEOC, civil rights activist, and EEO columnist, pauses from volunteering in Columbus, Ohio, to urge support for Kerry

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Saturday, October 30, 2004

Peggy Hong

"We Need a President..."

Peggy Hong
, Korean-American author of Three Truths and a Lie, calls from battleground Wisconsin to detail why John Kerry has what America needs at home and for stability in the Korean Peninsula.

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Eric Byler

"I couldn't believe my eyes"
Photo by Lia Chang
Eric reports from Democratic headquarters after the first hard day canvassing, rallying, meeting APAs all across Las Vegas.

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Listening to President Clinton

Thanks to Eric Byler's cell phone, we catch President Clinton speaking to Asian Pacific Americans in Las Vegas...

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Eric Byler

Photo by Lia Chang
Eric Byler, director of charlotte sometimes and American Knees, is with Tamlyn Tomita, Greg Watanabe, Esther Chae, Jacqueline Kim, Annie Katsura Rollins and Cecilia Tsai) in Las Vegas and shares his thoughts on why we should elect John Kerry as our next president.

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Friday, October 29, 2004

Stewart David Ikeda

Stewart David Ikeda (author, What the Scarecrow Said,

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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Join Us in Supporting John Kerry


October 28, 2004 - MILWAUKEE - A diverse and dedicated array of Asian-Pacific American (APA) arts, media, literary and entertainment figures today joined to unequivocally endorse Senator John F. Kerry for President.

The United Coalition of Asian and Pacific Islander American Independent Arts, Culture and Media Professionals was launched by filmmaker Eric Byler and author Stewart David Ikeda on Sunday and in 48 hours gathered a veritable “who's who” of today's APA culture-makers eager to sign an endorsement statement posted today at

From mainstream movie stars to experimental performance artists, and from new immigrants to fifth-generation multi-racials, the Coalition joined to express their unanimous conviction that John F. Kerry is the best choice to "lead our country and all our diverse communities as the next President of our United States."

The burgeoning list of signatories included actors George Takei, Rosalind Chao, Tamlyn Tomita, Zoe Bui, Jacqueline Kim, Ravi Kapoor, Katie Luong, and Dennis Dunn; playwrights David Henry Hwang and Philip Kan Gotanda; filmmakers John Woo, Justin Lin, Greg Pak, Byler, Gene Cajayon, Lisa Onodera, and Grace Lee; authors Gish Jen, Garrett Hongo, Jessica Hagedorn, Phoebe Eng, Chang-rae Lee, David Mura, Marina Budhos, and Jeff Yang; stage and performance artists Ping Chong, Dan Kwong, Erin May Ling Quill; as well as architects, curators, cartoonists, digerati, and graphic, installation, multimedia and industrial artists.

"John Kerry has truly listened to, understood, and committed himself to taking positive action on our communities' specific concerns," says Ikeda. "He has built a campaign outreach team, detailed policy plans, and a bold, positive vision for America that is more inclusive and more uniting than any I've seen before."

Byler added, "The members of our coalition are not involved in politics. But we are inspired by and create from our communities – and to the extent that we represent them, we wanted to issue a clear, positive message: APAs can help make a difference in this election, and we are taking it upon ourselves as a community to elect a President in John Kerry, who will restore our national security, our economy, and our dedication to the expansion of Civil Liberties, Civil Rights and equality under the law."

The coalition statement, supporting documentation, ongoing updates to the endorsement list, volunteer information, articles and other features can be located at Additional materials made available for media and webmasters including freely reprintable drop-in commentaries by supporters, links to downloadable organizing tools, in-language materials, PSAs, and more will be added late today at


For more information, contact or call 414-510-3934 or 414-906-1125.