TAPAS 2020 Year in Review!

2020: A Year in Review

This was a tough year. In response to the challenges this year wrought, our members sprung into action. From eviction protection in MA to U.S. militarism in Africa, TAPAS covered a disparate array of topics through a record number of events.

None of this would have possible without the boundless enthusiasm of our members. While it would not be possible to list every person you worked on every event, you know who you are. Thank you. TAPAS will always be your home.

Below are messages from our outgoing co-coordinators as well as exciting news about our new co-coordinators. The remainder of the email after these messages is a chronological summary of all twenty-three of our events in 2020. Enjoy! If you’d like to learn more about TAPAS, check out our website, Facebook page, and join our mailing list. Happy New Year!

A parting note from Liana, Max, and Raj

I feel incredibly lucky to have co-coordinated TAPAS for the past two years. With the Ethnic Studies resources at Harvard still lacking, a good part of my intellectual progress has come through dining hall conversations with fellow TAPAS members and the advocacy that we took part in. I am so grateful to be surrounded by a group of people that live by their values — standing up for affirmative action, decolonization, immigrant rights, and more while caring for each other and constantly learning together. As TAPAS has become increasingly integrated into the world around us, we owe a great deal to community organizers in Boston (including CPA, AARW, and GBLS) that have taught us along the way, our friends from nearby college organizations that are undertaking similar fights, our amazing TAPAS alumni, and the new generation of members that are already taking TAPAS in new, braver directions.
- Liana Chow

I’ve been in and out of TAPAS since my first year, but I’ve always been able to come back to TAPAS as a pillar of community and friendship that I could always depend on. I can undoubtedly say that TAPAS has shaped how I approach the world: with community and with friends, constantly advocating for a better world. I’m excited to see what new ways TAPAS will evolve, and what I’ll continue to learn in my last semester at the College!
- Maxwell Ho

I joined TAPAS in September 2019 knowing many members but nothing about Asian American history or activism. What I found was not just a club, but the most nurturing, formative, and special space I have had in college. Being a co-co for a year has been a true blessing, and I am so thrilled with what the next year has to bring!
- Raj Gambhir

Announcing New Co-cos!

We are so excited to announce our new co-coordinators! Returning to the role is Ruth Jaensubhakij! Our new co-coordinators are Alison Chen, Justin Hu, and Thuan Tran! They are going to take TAPAS to new heights and we are so excited.

Events Held in 2020

View Our Events Page

FEBRUARY

Southeast Asian Deportation and the Model Minority Myth
February 19th, 2020

This was our first event of the year! We heard about the threat of deportation facing many in Boston’s Southeast Asian community from AARW’s Kevin Lam, GBLS’s Bethany Li, and public defender Eileen Morrison. We were lucky to have many co-sponsoring organizations, the full list of which you can see in the link above.

Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine Launch
February 20th, 2020

HOOP’s launch event, co-sponsored by TAPAS and many other wonderful organizations. During the talk, we heard from Dr. Cornel West, the founder of BDS Omas Barghouti, and HDS fellow Rami Younis. Support HOOP and PSC”s work if interested!

AAA presents: APIDA Decade Roundup
February 22nd, 2020

AAA hosted a fantastic event reviewing the decade (2010–2019) of Asian American culture and politics at Harvard College and beyond. TAPAS along with AAWA, CSA were lucky enough to co-sponsor this event.

MARCH

All the Boys 2 Screening & Discussion!
March 5th, 2020

Our last in person event of 2020 : (
We had a very cozy screening of To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (at 2 times speed if I remember correctly) along with some delicious snacks (thanks to Taia) and a great discussion.

APRIL

Asian American Resistance & Creative Clapbacks
April 27th, 2020

At the height of anti-Asian violence in the U.S. due to backlash against the COVID-19 pandemic, TAPAS along with the Asia Center, AAA, and the Pao Arts Center held a very timely event about the history of state sanctioned anti-Asian violence and the persistent effort on the part of Asian Americans to resist.

MAY

The Half of it Watch Party
May 1st, 2020

TAPAS celebrated the impending end of the spring semester by watching The Half of It, a wonderful film by queer Asian American director Alice Wu. Would highly recommend! It is on Netflix and on Google if you search “watch half of it online free”.

The Cost of Prisons: A Documentary Screening and Day of Action
May 18th, 2020

As of the time of writing this email, 1,700 incarcerated people have died from COVID-19 and an astounding one in five have contracted the disease. In May, we held a screening of Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story which tracks one man’s quest for restorative justice and decarceration, followed by an action hour where we wrote to legislators advocating for decarceration in order to limit inmate exposure to COVID-19.

JUNE

So You Wanna be Anti-Racist?
June 25th, 2020

Pulling together a very impressive number of student organizations, PBHA held a timely student-facilitated discussion on white privilege, racism, and racial supremacy.

JULY

8 to Abolition Action Hour
July 8th, 2020

In support of the 8toAbolition framework for the dismantling of the prison-industrial complex, TAPAS held an action hour preceded by a brief discussion on solidarity with BLM and what prison and police abolition would actually entail.

AAPI Activism and Int’l Solidarity
July 17th, 2020

At the height of the George Floyd protests, many Asian Americans were wondering what cross-racial and international solidarity should look like. Thanks to the insights of PhD candidate Ruodi Duan, we were able to give attendees insight into the long history of Asian and Asian American solidarity.

Activism through Art: Intercollegiate Asian American Zine Workshop
July 18th, 2020

Now this one was a lot of fun. Thanks to the tireless efforts of many members, but especially Sunah and Kelsey, TAPAS convened a number of Asian American organizations from a variety of schools to present their respective Asian American political zines. We also had an insightful presentation by Frances Higsen on Gidra, the grandmother of all Asian American political zines. This was topped off by a zine workshop which resulted in an AMAZING collaborative zine which you can access here.

Economic Justice Action Hour
July 29th, 2020

The U.S. government’s callous handling of coronavirus has made the pandemic not only a public health emergency but an economic disaster. Working with SLAM, TAPAS sought to shed some light on why the pandemic saw one of the largest upward transfers of wealth in history and how class analysis relates to racial struggle. This teach-in was followed by an action hour focused on issues of economic justice.

AUGUST

A Conversation with Jeff Yang
August 30th, 2020

The success of our zine event inspired our members to learn more about the history of Asian American political media and about what careers in media look like for Asian Americans. Jeff Yang provided valuable insights into both of these questions. Yang founded A. Magazine, which for a decade was the nation’s largest Asian American periodical and has written for a number of prominent publications.

SEPTEMBER

TAPAS Intro Event — AAPI Advocacy, Art, and Academics
September 1st, 2020

This was our intro event, our first done through a virtual format! We had an incredible number of people in attendance and at was at this event that we met many people who went on do become TAPAS stars like Alexandria, Jeanna, Justin, Brian, Sakshi, Shraddha and more! If you’re reading this and are not yet part of TAPAS, you don’t need to go to an intro event to join! Just email tapasharvard@gmail.com to learn more!

(Gay)me Night — A Queer Asian American Game Night
September 11th, 2020

To celebrate queerness and Asian America in all their forms, we held a laid back game night! Many skribbl.io’s were had!

Call Her Ganda Screening: How One Life Galvanized a Nation
September 26th, 2020

In Fall 2020, President Duterte of the Philippines pardoned Joseph Pemberton, a U.S. Marine who murdered a trans Filipinx womxn Jennifer Laude. To prepare our members for the following week’s panel discussion on the matter, we screened this excellent documentary directed by one of our panelists, PJ Raval. If you haven’t already, please see Call Her Ganda.

OCTOBER

Imperialism and Jennifer Laude
October 1st, 2020

With the Harvard Philippines Forum (HPF) and the generous support of the Harvard Asia Center, TAPAS organized a panel on Jennifer Laude with director PJ Raval, Professor Victoria Reyes, and queer theorist Zack Frial. This was hands down my favorite event of the year so watch the recording if you can!

Activism, Amplification & Allyship: A Conversation on Black and Asian Solidarity
October 6th, 2020

This was a panel organized by AAA and co-sponsored by TAPAS and ABHW. In the wake of the George Floyd uprisings, a vital question remains for Asian Americans: how do we stand in allyship with black communities, underscoring shared forms of oppression without eliding differences? Our wonderful panelists during this event attempted to address these questions.

Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity from Palestine to Turtle Island (the “Americas”)
October 21st, 2020

PSC’s Palestine Awareness Week 2020 was a smashing success and TAPAS is proud to have helped out with this event. Special shout-out to Shraddha, our incredible new member who pretty much single-handedly represented TAPAS at this event. This event was about the overlap between the struggles of the Palestinians and Native Americans and featured Professor Marcelo Felipe Garzo Montalvo and Professor Loubna Qutami.

NOVEMBER

#ShutDownAFRICOM: Resist US Colonization of Africa
November 19th, 2020

Our high powered new members Nikhil and Bhargavi along with EESA and NSA planned this teach-in on the web of U.S. military bases that operate across Africa. We also heard from Andom Ghebreghiorgis, former Congressional Candidate for NY-16 and critic of AFRICOM. Access the recording thru the link above!

DECEMBER

Deconstructing Liberal Myths about Asian America
December 4th, 2020

Inspired by a series of Viet Thanh Nguyen tweets, this event was a community discussion reflecting on the pernicious grip of liberal myths on the imagination of Asian America. How do we create liberatory art? How do putatively progressive spaces unknowingly perpetuate these myths? Huge shout-out for new members Justin and Jeanna for their work on this event.

Bong Joon-Ho’s The Host and U.S. Imperialism
December 7th, 2020

Reading period was STRESSFUL, so we tried to provide a fun space for some great anti-imperialist art! We had the privilege of having Dr. Tian Li of EALC, who provided a very insightful teach-in on the history of imperialism on the Korean peninsula, and how art has responded to various occupations. This as James’s last event as a college student, love you James!

Letter Writing in Support of Workers
December 13th, 2020

In a devastating, unnecessary, and inane move, Harvard has threatened to effectively lay-off over a dozen staff and almost all contracted workers by mid-January. Also, the Trump Administration has threatened to revoke work permits for immigrants who are slated for deportation. In light of these two separate but connected struggles, we held an impromptu action hour. This was our last event of the semester. If you would like to help with either of these causes, email tapasharvard@gmail.com.

The work begins again in just a few weeks. Let’s fight for a better future!

Signing off,
Liana, Max, and Raj

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