The AACP Newsletter
Since 1970 Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - Books for All Ages September 2004
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At a Glance

AACP's Grand Opening
Come visit our new location and meet authors.

She-Roe Asian Pacific American Women Warriors
Recording Her-story for His-story

An Interview with Florence M. Hongo

AACP's Grand Opening

AACP has moved and to celebrate our new digs, beginning in October, we'll be sponsoring Asian American author signings, and poetry readings, as well as other educational activities. We expect to offer a full range of Asian American presenters representing the great diversity found within our community.

The following events will all take place at our new store location of 529 E 3rd Avenue, San Mateo, California. Check our website map for directions and parking information. Note - the schedule is subject to change. Please periodically check our website for possible change notices. Thank you.

Friday, October 1, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
AACP's Grand Opening Celebration
Come see our new store location and meet our staff of volunteers, our friends, and our writers. We will have entertainment and refreshments too. Come early before the food runs out :).

Saturday, October 2, 1 p.m.
Filipino American Historical Month
In honor of the month, publisher Eduardo Datangel of T'Boli Publishing will introduce the new publication "The Forbidden Book: The Filipino-American War, 1899" by Abe Ignacio, Enrique de la Cruz, Jorge Emmanuel, Helen Toribio; discussed by Terry Baustista. In addition Oscar Peņaranda will appear to read from his books "Season's by the Bay" and "Full Deck (Joker's Playing)." In addition some of the authors of "Seven Card Stud with Seven Manags Wild" will be on hand.

Saturday, October 9 at 1 p.m.
Pacific Voices Talk Story
Our guest will be Margo King-Lenson, editor of the just published third volume of "Pacific Voices Talk Story, Conversations of American Experience." All you Pacific Islander transplants and friends are particularly invited.

Sunday, October 24 at 1 p.m.
Northern California Gardeners
Do you know someone connected with the flower and gardening industry in Northern California? Are you interested in learning more? We have tentatively scheduled the first introduction of the book, "Plant, Protect, Preserve: The History of the Professional Gardeners Federation of Northern California" written by Lewis Kawahara and published by AACP, Inc.

Saturday, November 6 at 1 p.m.
Kamishibai or Story Card Theater
Hazuki Kataoka, author of special editions of "Momotaro, the Peach Boy" and "Jack in the Bean Stalk" will demonstrate her kamishibai or story card theater for children of all ages. Reading with Hazuki will be Erika Shimahara, a teacher of Japanese and English language and culture. Children are encouraged to attend this entertaining presentation.

Saturday, November 13th at 1 p.m.
Ruthanne Lum McCunn
Award-winning author Ruthanne Lum McCunn will read from her famous book "Thousand Pieces of Gold" (the story that was the basis for the popular movie by the same name). All six of her current titles will be available for signing.

Up Coming Events

Here are some events that AACP will soon be attending.
Invite us to your events.
Oct. 1 AACP's Grand Opening Celebration AACP
San Mateo, CA
Oct. 2 Filipino American Historical Month Readings AACP
San Mateo, CA
Oct. 9 Pacific Voices Talk Story AACP
San Mateo, CA
Oct. 16 The Topaz Reunion 2004 Burlingame Hyatt Hotel
Burlingame, CA
Oct. 24 Northern California Gardeners AACP
San Mateo, CA
Nov. 6 Kamishibai or Story Card Theater AACP
San Mateo, CA
Nov. 13 Ruthanne Lum McCunn AACP
San Mateo, CA
Nov. 13 Japanese American Museum of San Jose Craft Show San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin
San Jose, CA
Other Event of Interest that AACP May Not Attend
Oct. 16 Chinese Historical Society of America
Dancing on the Roof Gala
Westin St. Francis at Union Square
Nov. 5-7 National Asian American Student Conference USC Campus
Los Angeles, CA

Give Us Your Feedback

Please feel free to send us your reviews, comments, and book suggestions. You can contact us at -

Editor's Message

Hello Everyone. We've all been super busy with our move, preparations for our grand opening celebration, and various other projects.

Speaking of which, we are hoping to complete another Asian American calendar. If you have some good pictures please feel free to submit them to us. We'll make more announcements regarding the calendar in our next newsletter.

Note, we plan on phasing out the posting of our email addresses within the body of future newsletters and will start to use only one new address (probably something like Some of our readers' computers may be infected with viruses that have caused the misuse of our addresses. If you have email filter software that uses friends list, please make the change to include our future email address. We'll keep you apprised of any changes.

Thank you to all the volunteers that helped us this past month. Special thanks go to Sophie Wong for helping us these past few months. We wish her luck on her future career plans. Thank you very much to Emily Mah and Ellen Lee, our interns from this past year. It was great working with you and we hope you keep in touch with us as many of our past interns have so wonderfully done. Speaking of which - thanks to past interns Melissa Eng, Jaime Young, Michael Kim, and Alice Tan for coming back to help us at the store, at events, and on the newsletter. It was super great to see you again.

Hope to see you all at our upcoming events at the store. Take care.

Leonard Chan
Executive Editor

She-Roe Asian Pacific American Women Warriors
Recording Her-story for His-story

By Melissa Eng
Edited by Leonard D. Chan
In a country with a rich, American history of multiculturalism, many voices need to be heard. From whites to blacks to Latinos to Asian Americans to Native Americans, our diversity offers much more than anybody can imagine. But, when one examines the history books, whose voices are represented? The ones with political and socio-economic power have their voices heard. And, the ones with the privilege of holding this power tend to be white males. Anyone with racial and/or gender identities deviating from the white male standard seem to get lost in history. So, where are the women of color? As women of color, Asian Pacific American women tend to be silenced and made invisible because they are excluded from the face of history. However, they are crucial contributors who deserve the right to be included in our rich American heritage. Asian Pacific American "she-roes" (heroines) are important contributors to history because they can contribute to the telling of "her-story" from a feminist perspective.

Inclusion of Asian Pacific American women's voices is important because it aids the fight for social justice for subordinated ethnic and gender groups. Members of subordinate groups (such as "colored" women) tend to receive less job security, more dangerous working conditions, lower wages, and caste like segregation. Therefore,

an awareness of racism and sexism is crucial to fighting for justice.

In order to fight for inclusion, there is a need for awareness of exclusion. Americans need to stop believing in stereotypes and take off their rose-colored glasses of idealism to face the Asian Pacific American women's world of reality. Americans need to learn how to analyze reality critically and be constantly aware of the complex social identities of racism and sexism, especially in deceiving areas where "equal opportunity" is thought to already exist.

In an effort to record a slice of "her-story," I recruited six diverse Asian Pacific American female activists and interviewed them. Through these interviews, they were allowed to voice their activist stories, experiences, and words of wisdom so that they would be included in history.

The following is the interview I conducted with Florence Hongo, general manager and president of Asian American Curriculum Project (AACP). The remaining interviews will be included in future newsletters or posted on the AACP website.

An Interview with Florence M. Hongo
The General Manager and President of the Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc.

By Melissa Eng

Melissa Eng (ME) & Florence M. Hongo (FMH)

1) What factors in your life influenced you to become an Asian Pacific American activist (She-Ro)?

There are a number of influences that have shaped my career. The number one influence is that I am Asian...more specifically, a Japanese American. I am a second generation - Nisei with supportive parents. So, my second influence is that I have devoted, religious parents who were traditional Japanese Methodists. But, unlike my parents, I had another (third) influence of being born and raised in the United States. A fourth influence was that I had a good education. My teachers taught multiple grades because the class sizes were small. While the class sizes were small, I still interacted in a diverse, multicultural student body. My final influence is my rural, comfortable upbringing. All of these influences have given me a well-rounded background for advocacy.

2) Are there any influences that served as catalysts for your career?

Without a doubt, I would have to say that the Japanese American internment of World War II has shaped my life immensely. To this very day, I am upset at being interned. I was removed at 13 years old. As an adolescent, I was not politically saavy just yet. I was interned for three and a half long years. In addition, life after internment was horrible. We lost land. My brother was wounded in the war. Since he became crippled, he could not work again. My dad got sick. Moreover, my family was shocked when we found out that we had nothing left. We came back to a house that was under 6 feet of dirt! We had no house, no furniture, no nothing.

3) What kinds of significant challenges or obstacles in life have you overcome?

Eventually, my family was able to recover. With a large family, the four girls (including me) worked hard for 12 hours per day for 3 months. The work was grueling, especially in the 103-degree heat of the San Joaquin Valley during the hot, summer months of July and August. We worked on a farm under the scorching sun. We wore straw hats and long-sleeved shirts to protect ourselves from the sun. We sweated like crazy!

We worked and saved every bit of our money, in hopes of earning property of our own. Little by little, we pooled our money together. Some of our hard-earned money was put on a different piece of property. We got a home and some land. As for transportation, we could only afford a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. As the kids, we rode in back. I still have fond memories of that motorcycle. Today, I can still recognize the distinctive sound of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. And, whenever I hear it, I would turn my head and, yep, sure enough, I see that motorcycle!

In addition to a financial obstacle, there were racial, social, and political obstacles. My activism was born out of my own anger. When I first told the public the story about Japanese internment in America, the people did not believe me! They called me horrible names. They accused me of being a liar. They questioned my loyalty to America and they called me an infidel to the U.S. government. But, I was always insistent about telling the truth because this was (and still is) a crucial civil rights issue. I looked at the documentation of the theory of internment. Older and more politically saavy, I began to understand the internment process better and I was completely shocked. So, I began to talk to people with similar experiences. We eventually formed our own activist organization, the Japanese American Curriculum Project, Inc (which later expanded to become the Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc). Through this organization, we sold Asian Pacific American educational materials, networked with activist organizations, and published Asian Pacific American materials to spread awareness to the general public.

4) What do you think of the lack of public awareness of Asian Pacific Americans in the media? How has the media affected you and your career?

Since the media distorts reality, I tried not to be influenced by the media. The media has horrible stereotypes and representations of Asian Pacific Americans. First of all, I dislike the derogatory names and labels placed on us. It is very common to be called names, such as Chink, Gook, and Jap. Secondly, there are not enough media images of Asian Pacific Americans, much less any good ones. And, finally, I cannot stand how the media homogenizes us, for we are extremely diverse. For instance, you, Melissa, and I do not have much in common...except for the fact that we are both of Asian ancestry. The Asian Pacific American community is so diverse, so it is sad to have

people believe that we all act, look, and think alike. Coming from different generations, immigration experiences, and socio-cultural backgrounds, people of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry are a part of the most diverse population on the planet. So, we should be seen that way!

Just like how people get emotionally charged with laws on banning same-sex marriages, I am passionate about racial and ethnic justice. Americans need to cater to a socially diverse, American society. And, we, as Asian Pacific Americans, have a long ways to go. We need more leaders and role models in the Asian Pacific American community to act NOW. Therefore, I am going to do something about it!

ME: 5)
Do you have any role models yourself?

I adored Pasty Mink. She was from the house of representatives from Hawaii. I fell in love with her and her career when I attended her socio-political lecture. While she was a tiny woman (who is not even 5 feet tall), she was a big, amazing civil rights advocate, especially those regarding women's and Asian Pacific American issues. She waas a wonderful role model not just for me, but for the entire, Asian Pacific American community. It is too bad that she has passed away.

6) Where and how do you find social support for your career?

From people like you, Melissa! It is rewarding to have people tell me that what I am doing is worthwhile. I love to feel appreciated. Furthermore, my husband and children have been very, very supportive. I also find social support with fellow civil rights activists. Networking is the key to success. When we collaborate, we get motivated by the power of the network. We raise Asian Pacific American awareness by spreading information across the country. I feel strongly about letting the public know about internment and other civil rights issues. The public needs to know that people without money and resources have little or no power and civil rights. As non-whites, our race can be used against us and our rights can be taken away from us at any time. That is why defense attorneys and pro-bono work are so important to this society. For that reason, I donate money to non-profit organizations in civil rights and pro-bono work. They have goals and visions that they fight for. People need to stand up for what is right!

7) What is your vision for the Asian Pacific American community and how do you think you've contributed to it?

I would love to see Asian Pacific Americans integrated as a part of a multicultural society. We need to have people stop calling us "foreign" because it is one of the worst stereotypes against Asian Pacific Americans. The rationale behind it is that if you call somebody different "foreign," then you can exclude them from society. I got into activism because I hated how people would treat my daughter, Jan. She is a third generation Japanese American. Yet, the students at school would call her "foreign." Then, they would make her say words in Japanese and then make fun of the "foreign" language. So, I had to stand up for her and for other Asian Pacific Americans.

I contribute to my vision by being blunt and getting my point across. I was not really an activist in college and, most of the time, I was shy and withdrawn. But, I grew out of my shell and I became blunt. I realized that this was the only way to educate people because, if I were too nice about how I felt, then people would get away with their acts of ignorance.

8) I admire your strength and your passion to fight ignorance. What is your take-home or inspirational message to the next generation of Asian Pacific American activists?

I get so much satisfaction out of being an Asian Pacific American activist. People should contribute their share to the community. They should not suck stuff from this world. Instead, they should give back to it. There is a famous saying that says, "You are either an activist or you are nothing." I believe that this saying is true because life should be satisfying because people made contributions to society. When I die, I want for people to say, "Yeah! She did it." I don't want to sit around at take things from people. Instead, I want to give back to the world. I am pro-active and I was involved in a lot of activist work. But, as I got older, I realized that I had limitations in time and energy. I realized that I could not be everything or do everything all at once. So, the Asian American Curriculum Project activist organization is my one-stop "niche" for activist work. And, after 35 years of community service through this organization, I can die a happy, satisfied person.


The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end October 20, 2004.

Special Note
We will be charging regular retail price at our book signings, so take advantage of the special newsletter prices. If you wish to purchase one of these book for one of the signings and there is not enough time for us to deliver it in time to you, make a note in the "Special Instructions" section of our order form saying that you will pick up the book at the signing and that you do not wish to be charged for shipping.

If you cannot make the book signing but wish to have the author sign the book for you, also note this in the "Special Instructions" section of the order form.

The Forbidden Book
Color Black and White

By Abe Ignacio, Enrique De La Cruz, Jorge Emmanuel
2004, 186 pages, Paperback.

The brutal war waged by the United States against the Filipino people at the turn of the century has been shrouded in darkness for a long time, the truth concealed from generations of Americans. THE FORBIDDEN BOOK brings that shameful episode in our history out in the open, with a wonderful combination of crystal-clear text and extraordinary cartoons. The book deserves wide circulation.
-Howard Zinn
Professor Emeritus, Boston University
Author of A People's History of the United States

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3251, Price $24.95

Seasons by the Bay

By Oscar Peñaranda
2004, 240 pages, Paperback.

Writing for over thirty years, Peñaranda has already established his place as an important California writer. This collection of stories, many of them celebrating the Filipino's existence in America, has been a long time coming. His portraits of Filipino life are imbued with the hare realities of the manongs' survival and are masterfully rendered. More important, his beautifully-told stories which take place in the islands, are legacies that provide a link for the descendants of the Filipino diaspora.
-Shirley Ancheta, writer/Instructor
Santa Cruz University

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3249, Price $16.95

Full Deck
(jokers playing)

By Oscar Peñaranda
2004, 74 pages, Paperback.

This book of poetry by Oscar Peñaranda has been long awaited. It's a marvelous and touching collection of work by a poet who has been at the forefront of Filipino and Asian American writing, activism and culture for decades. He has lived the life, and his words give us fullproof of the struggles and yearnings of Filipinos in America.
- Jean Vengua,
Tulitos Press

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3248, Price $12.95

Pacific Voices Talk Story
Conversations of American Experience
Volume Three

By Margo King Lenson, Editor
2004, 346 pages, Paperback.

Pacific Islander narrators, speaking from the heart, tell of their experiences adapting to USA realities while still holding fast to Island values of family, community, and spirituality. As an ongoing series, Pacific Voices will continue to present first-hand stories of Pacific Islanders in America today.
- Margo King-Lenson, Editor

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3250, Price $21.95

Seven Card Stud with Seven Manangs Wild
An Anthology of Filipino-American Writings

Edited By Helen C. Toribio
2002, 246 pages, paperback.

Seven Card Stud with Seven Manangs Wild is an anthology of memoirs by Filipino Americans. These stories are culled from memories growing up in different regions of the United States: from the urban jungle of Manhattan to the dusty farmlands of California. View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3031, Price $16.95

Copyright © 2004 by Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. (a non-profit organization since 1970)
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