Exhibit on ’60s-’80s Asian American political movements extended

1970s movement buttons including United Farm Workers, Project Manong, International Hotel and defense of nurses Narciso and Perez. INQUIRER/Florante Ibanez

LOS ANGELES – Due to its popularity, the exhibit “ROOTS: Asian American Movements in Los Angeles 1968-80s” at the Chinese American Museum – Los Angeles (CAM-LA) has been extended to August 13.

Guest-curated by Ryan Wong the exhibit took over four years of conversations to finally bring the concept to life on January 19, coincidentally only a day before Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States.


The exhibit features primary materials, movement paraphernalia and photographs that captured various protest activities including those of the Filipino American progressive movement.

Photo of the April 22, 1972 Asian American Contingent in one of the largest Los Angeles anti-Vietnam War demonstrations on Wilshire Blvd. prominently shows an upside down Philippine flag in the forefront. INQUIRER/Florante Ibanez

“It is a time for a new generation of Asian Pacific Americans to learn about the Asian American Movement, to examine how a generation stood up to oppression, transformed their communities, and attempted to change our society, and a time to organize and fight both old and new forms of oppression,” stated resident CAM-LA curator Steve Wong.


The collection includes political artifacts including community movement posters, photos of anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, a video of Carson Samoan community group Omai Fatasi and mimeographed and printed materials from groups like Asian Women’s Center, GIDRA Newspaper, UCLA student’s Super Dooper Asian Scooper, Amerasia Book store and Chinatown Youth Center.

On the Roots exhibit wall of international solidarity, the late Greg Santillan is shown on the front page of Ang Katipunan representing the U.S. –based anti-Marcos forces. Ang Katipunan was the national newspaper of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP). INQUIRER/Florante Ibanez

Filipino American materials are also clearly visible. Among them are early ditto machine reproduced map directions and materials from the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) Oak Grove Camp Identity Retreat (early 1970s), listing speakers Rodel Rodis and Dan Inosanto.

Filipino movement buttons are also on exhibit: the International Hotel struggle, Mabuhay Pinoy – United Farm Workers (UFW), Project Manong, Veterans Administration nurses Narciso and Perez, and People Power – Cory Aquino.

While background music from the Yellow Pearl album plays, flying high overhead are T-shirts from the Filipino People’s Far West Conventions and those supporting the National Democratic Front in the Philippines. Displayed below are movement songs vinyl LP covers for Yellow Pearl, Yokohama , California and Philippines: Bangon!(Arise.) Primary source documents also keep alive the early activist contributions of locals who have already passed, including, Uncle Roy Morales, Uncle Al Mendoza, Ester Soriano and Auntie Helen Brown.

Guests mingle at the popular “Roots’ exhibit, which has been extended to August 13.

Recently memorialized local and national leader of the U.S. anti-Marcos dictatorship movement Greg Santillan’s photo is seen on the displayed front page of Ang Katipunan, the newspaper of the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP).

In addition The Roots exhibit has produced a free companion printed “zine” collection of articles, poetry and art to help deepen the experience and understanding of past Asian American movements and connect them to relevant struggles today. Included in the zine is this reporter and Rose Estepa Ibanez’s “people’s wedding.”

For exhibit visiting information for the Chinese American Museum – Los Angeles go to their website at http://camla.org


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TAGS: “ROOTS: Asian American Movements in Los Angeles 1968-80s”, Chinese American Museum – Los Angeles (CAM-LA), Filipino American radicals, protest exhibit, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)
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