black history month.
yellow peril, brown berets, and black panthers protesting outside a courthouse where huey p. newton was being tried. a beautiful example of different cultures coming together for change.
i’m going to comment everytime on these few photos that we can’t reduce these actions to “different cultures coming together”, it’s a false representation of history and a false representation of what genuine solidarity was and should be.
what is important to me about this photo and what it represents is not some neoliberal concept of “cultures coming together”, but specific and intentional asian american activists SHOWING UP for the Black Panthers, not out of thinly concealed self-interest, but because they held a comprehensive and complicated understanding of racial justice and understood that they should support the BPP because it was the right thing to do.
^^Awesome commentary! I’d like to add to the conversation: I’ve seen a lot of Tumblr folks refer to the Asian American men in the photo as members of a group called “Yellow Peril,” but that group never existed!
This photo comes from the Roz Payne Newsreel Archive and is part of a series taken outside the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland in 1969, on the opening day of the Huey P. Newton trial. The Black Panther Party had deeply inspired and influenced Asian American, Chicano/Latino, Native American, and white radicals, and the photos show a multitude of folks attending the rally in support of the BPP. One of those groups was the Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA): the men in the photo were from the Hayward State and Berkeley chapters.
AAPA was founded in Berkeley in 1968 by Yuji Ichioka, Emma Gee, and a handful of other Asian American activists, all veteran organizers with experience in the anti-war, labor organizing, and Black Power movements. Ichioka was the first to coin the term “Asian American,” with the intent to unite activists of different Asian ethnicities under one political banner. AAPA became the first multi-ethnic, anti-imperialist Asian American organization, influencing groups to form their own chapters and other organizations across the U.S., thus beginning the Asian American Movement. 
In July 1968, AAPA held their founding rally on the UC Berkeley campus; speakers included Bobby Seale of the BPP and representatives of other community organizations. Although AAPA’s membership was largely students, it included workers, professionals, and organizers from off-campus communities, and sought to build strategic alliances with community organizations. In a speech, AAPA co-founder and BPP member Richard Aoki laid out AAPA’s platform:
We Asian-Americans believe that American society has been, and still is, fundamentally a racist society, and that historically we have accommodated ourselves to this society in order to survive.
We Asian-Americans believe that hereto fore we have been relating to white standards of acceptability, and affirm the right of self-determination.
We Asian-Americans support all non-white liberation movements and believe that all minorities in order to be truly liberated must have complete control over the political, economic and social institutions within their respective communities.
We Asian-Americans oppose the imperialist policies being pursued by the American government. 
From its inception, AAPA was founded on the values of supporting all people’s struggles for self-determination and liberation from U.S. racism and imperialism world-wide (political ideologies that emerged from the Black Power Movement. Note also how the platform uses language similar to the BPP’s 10 Point Plan; the Asian American Movement was undeniably built on the work of Black radicals). They pursued this by supporting the BPP, Chicano and Filipino farmworkers in Delano, CA , and even collaborated with preexisting, less radical Asian American groups like the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). One of AAPA’s greatest achievements was joining with Black, Chicano, and Native American groups in the Third World Liberation Front strikes to fight for Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State (1968) and UC Berkeley (1969), two of the longest student strikes in U.S. history. 
I say all this not to glorify the history, but to emphasize baritonepats' point that, for AAPA, “solidarity” was not merely posing for a picture—it was consistently showing up for other people of color and working class peoples, it was building strategic alliances between Third World Left organizations in the U.S. and abroad, and it was struggling to build solidarity as an Asian American coalition of different ethnicities, genders, class and generational backgrounds, and sexualities.  “Building solidarity” was never an easy or simple process, but something the Asian American Movement constantly worked towards, albeit imperfectly.
To me, these photos reflect that history. The stories behind the photos say several things to me: 1. Asian Americans owe A LOT to Black Power and Black radicals and thinkers, 2. our liberation is inextricably tied to the liberation of all oppressed peoples, 3. as Asian Americans, it is our duty to listen, learn, and work to struggle in solidarity with others.
(Also see this photo from the same event: men for sure weren’t the only ones running things, more writing on that forthcoming!)
Sources: [1. Also important to note that “Asian American” and “Asian” are both constructs. Blogger biyuti has written some great criticism on the terms, see here and here.] [2. Also see full text in Stand Up: An Archive Collection of the Bay Area Asian-American Movement (Asian Community Center Archive Group, 2011)]  [4, see here and here] [5 which was for sure a complicated struggle that differed between regions and organizations: reflecting on his experiences in the Asian American and other revolutionary movements, Fred Ho criticized “[o]ur addictions to homophobia, male chauvinism, white chauvinism, economism, to nicotine, alcohol, the nuclear family.” See Legacy to Liberation (Fred Ho, ed., 2000), 180.]
Also see Asian American Activism’s reading list!
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