The Annual Balgopal Lecture on Human Rights and Asian Americans: The Asian American Movement 2.0 and Multi-ethnic Organizing in Chicago and nationally – initial observations and experiences from the fieldI





Speaker: Dr. Kathleen Yang-Clayton

Director of Policy and Programs at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago

Wednesday, October 21 at 4:00pm,
Illini Union Rm 314A
Reception to Follow
Free and Open to the Public

Between 2000 and 2010, the Asian American population grew faster than any other racial group in the U.S., increasing by 46 percent nationally, and 27 percent in Illinois. Most of that growth occurred outside of the traditional gateway communities of New York, California and Hawaii. These new geographies of AANHPI community growth have brought into sharp relief the ongoing struggles within these communities around unresolved issues of race and class. As we celebrate the 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, this talk will map out some of the major opportunities and challenges for an Asian American* civil rights and civic engagement agenda that seeks to bridge the divide across other communities of color. In this discussion, we will begin to offer an analysis of how Asian Americans can begin to craft new narratives about their own identity in light of the current confluence of three major public narratives – disturbing viral images of black men being brutalized by police and the resulting the Black Lives Matter movement, extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric calling for mass-deportations and the elimination of birthright citizenship, and anti-Muslim fervor which has led to violent assaults against South Asian men.

The annual Balgopal lecture series was established in 2007. It is named for Pallasana Balgopal, Emeritus Professor of Social Work and Asian American Studies, whose endowment established the fund. The lecture endowment allows us to bring an outstanding invited lecturer to campus whose scholarship and talk focus on issues of marginality and oppression experienced within Asian American communities, which may include a focus on issues such as social and economic disenfranchisement and political struggles for empowerment and social justice.

This year's speaker, Kathleen Yang-Clayton brings extensive academic and applied policy experience to her work with Advancing Justice Chicago. Her academic work is focused on social movements, urban policy and organizational change. Her dissertation, “Controlling Interests: Institutions and Ideas in Labor-Community Coalitions” examines how different forms of communication and discourse used by social movement organizations reflect and construct their own understandings of material reality and interests and informs their framing repertories, especially in the context of political and policy campaigns. Prior to joining Advancing Justice Chicago, she co-founded Building Partnerships USA, a technical-assistance organization that developed strategic leadership training programs for coalition leaders, linked academics to applied research projects, and published multi-issue reports on jobs, housing, transportation and education designed to support organizing and advocacy objectives for coalition partners.

Paid for by the Student Cultural Programming Fee


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