May 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter Index
• Editor's Message • Events • An Interview with Frank Abe: Upon the Release of His New Book “WE HEREBY REFUSE” • Is AAPI What We’re Settling On?: A Rose by Any Other Name Would Still Make Us Americans • Featured Books

Editor's Message

Hello Everyone,

Happy Asian American and Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Heritage Month! (aka: Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, read my editorial :)

I hope this is getting to you in May. As of this writing, the completion of the newsletter in May is still not certain. Apologies for that – as you may imagine, we were pre-occupied with many things. I won’t bore you with the details, but we did go to our first in person event – the Jasmine Market at St Andrew Presbyterian Church in Marin City on May 28.

Thank you Caitilin Damacion and the other organizers for having your event. Thank you Sue Yee for letting us know about the Jasmine Market. It’s been over a year and three months since we’ve been to an event. It was great meeting people again. I had forgotten how enjoyable that could be.

Marin County is doing very well in vaccinating everyone (the Jasmine Market was even giving shots to people on-site). As of Friday, Marin had 63.17% of the 12 and older population fully vaccinated.

For those of you that have not gotten your shot(s) yet, please talk to your doctor or someone else that you trust. Your relatives, friends, and neighbors are getting vaccinated. This pandemic is serious and will continue to be serious until a large percentage of everyone in the world is protected against the COVID virus. If not for your own safety, please get vaccinated for those that you love and all the people of this world.


Things are getting back to normal, but we’re not there yet. Even though some events are beginning to happen again, event planning takes a lot of time – requiring months to even years to plan. The Jasmine Market may still be our only event that we go to for some time. So we still need your support and interest in following us online. Thank you to all of you that continue to donate and support us. We really appreciate it. (Donate, Facebook, Instagram)


Hey everyone, please read our interview with Frank Abe. His new book highlights biographies that really need your attention.

Thank you Frank Abe for your book and doing an interview with us.


Our special May Asian American and Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Heritage Month book selection is full of biographies and memoirs of people that paint a portrait of our participation in the American experience. Please have a look.


Thank you to the AACP newsletter staff.

Take care and hope to be writing again to you soon.


Leonard Chan

Executive Editor


Sunday July 11: San Jose Obon is virtual again this year. Click here for more information.


If you have an event that you would like us to mention and or to participate in, please feel free to let us know.

An Interview with Frank Abe

Upon the Release of His New Book

“WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration”

Interviewed by Leonard Chan

Hello Frank. Congratulations on your new book.

I’ve seen quite a number of books on the Japanese American Internment. Your book was able to take a new perspective on the subject. When George Takei’s book came out, I was really impressed with how much he was able to cover in a graphic memoir. I began to wonder how the subject could be covered in some new way – I think you’ve done it.

Thanks Leonard, that means a lot coming from an avid reader like you. I admit it was bold to bill this as “the story of camp as you’ve never seen it before,” but from the early reader response it feels as if the message is getting across. The Seattle Times just called it a “page-turner.” There’s a “we” in the title by design. This is not the story of just one person. “We hereby refuse” was the phrase by which the Fair Play Committee at Heart Mountain crossed the line from protest to resistance, but in our title the “we” takes on a second meaning as the collective cry of all those targeted solely on the basis of race, whether or not they took action or spoke out.

First of all, how would you describe your book – is it a graphic novel, graphic biography, or graphic memoir? Could it also be classified as historical fiction?

We Hereby Refuse is a dramatic story based on true events. Every line on every page is drawn from the historical record. That’s by design. Even where we must reconstruct private conversations between two people, every line is true to the moment and to their character.

The truth was far more compelling than anything we could invent. It’s not fiction, but it reads with the depth and texture of a good novel, a novel with drawings.

I first saw a preview of your book at the 2018 Tule Lake Pilgrimage and became excited about it, especially since it was partially about someone that I knew (Hiroshi Kashiwagi). Tell us about how this book came about. When did you first start thinking about doing this book?

Read More

Is AAPI What We’re Settling On?

A Rose by Any Other Name Would Still Make Us Americans

An editorial by Leonard Chan

Hey, when did we switch to AAPI to describe ourselves? Suddenly, AAPI is being used everywhere. How did this come about and why?

So here’s my problem with AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islanders) – in all the places that I’ve seen AAPI, it’s used to describe Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. By placing the word American after only Asian, Pacific Islanders become non-specific to the Americans that the term is trying to describe.

Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but this is similar to an issue that has bothered me for a long while. Back in May of 2009, I wrote a short piece complaining about how people were leaving out the word “American” to describe “Asian Pacific American Heritage Month” (APAHM).

In the case of APAHM, the word American was vital in that the month was created to “bring to the attention of the American people the contributions that Asian/Pacific Americans have made to this Nation.” (Reported to House from the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service with amendment, H. Rept. 95-1335)

By leaving out the word American in describing Pacific Islanders in AAPI are we slighting their contribution to America and reaffirms the image of their foreignness?

Read More

Featured Books

View full descriptions of all these featured books at where you'll also have the opportunity to purchase them.

Children's Books

General Literature - Biographies and Memoirs