Asian America--We Were There
by Tony Osumi


Asian America we were there

we were there
jumping off Spanish galleons in the 1500s
we were there
saying "I do." with an African American sister--State of California’s first interracial marriage
we were there
burning up Hawaiian sugar cane profits
we were there
uniting in Oxnard with Mexican American sugar beet
workers.
we were there
dying for the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain
we were there
doing political time at Leavenworth for taking a stand against the draft
we were there
giving birth to Local 770
we were there
fighting for the "Rights of the Foreign Born"
we were there
down South for Freedom Summer
we were there
as Malcolm X took his last breath
we were there
sitting down in the orchards of Delano
we were there
shutting down Berkeley and S.F. State
we were there
"Blowing-out" of Eastside schools
we were there
marching the Chicano Moratorium August 29, 1970
we were there
T.B. testing with the Young Lords
we were there
singing center stage at Panther rallies
we were there
leafleting grape-selling Safeways
we were there
counseling G.I.s and resisting the Vietnam draft
we were there
clutching Red Books in China with long lost cousins
we were there
running support at Wounded Knee
we were there
defending the I Hotel 9 years strong
we were there
winning Redress and Reparations
we were there
tearing down Apartheid in South Africa
we were there
strategizing to keep G.M. Van Nuys open
we were there

we were there
we were there
we were there...
And we are here

raising up against Prop 187
we are here
forcing Jessica McClintock to the bargaining table
we are here
fighting to end police brutality
we are here
phone banking for Affirmative Action
we are here
door knocking for livable wages
we are here
demanding child care and health care
we are here
supporting 5 years of the Crips and Bloods gang truce
we are here
mobilizing for Ethnic and Gender study classes
we are here
working to unionize the New Otani Hotel and more
we are here
resisting roadside mugshot books in Orange County
we are here
in solidarity with "Comfort Women" around the world
we are here
taking our educations back to our communities
we are here
holding hands with our queer brothers and sisters
we are here
standing by the Rafu Shimpo workers
we are here
walking the picket at Baek Hwa Jung
we are here
freeing the land in Okinawa
we are here
continuing the redress fight for Japanese Latin Americans
we are here
lending a hand so no one is ever left behind
we are here

Asian America

we are here
we are here
we are here

Originally published in The Rafu Shimpo, September 2, 1997

Updated: 8/17/02

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