California State University, Long Beach

Asian American Women's Movement Activists


Although not widely known outside the Asian community or among feminist activists and scholars outside of the Los Angeles area, there was a thriving, militant Asian American women's movement in southern California starting in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Like other movements among feminists of color, it both grew out of and remained tied to the larger national/ethnic movement and the anti-war movement. Asian American consciousness and activism most often developed on college campuses and, ultimately, often led to the development of Asian American studies. The core women activists in the Los Angeles area, however, focused most of their political work and organizing in grass roots community programs, and looked to Chinese and Vietnamese women revolutionaries for their inspiration. Many of them were members of the Community Workers Collective, which engaged in studying political liberation movements in other countries as a basis for their community organizing. Based on their study and organizing experience, the Asian Women's Group developed one of the first multi-media interactive presentations on the Asian women's movement which was performed at venues along the West Coast. They also founded the first Asian Women's Center in the US, establishing principles of unity to guide their programs; and collectivized their salaries to generate more staff and programs. They collaborated in anti-Vietnam War activities, and used their resources to support other struggles such as Wounded Knee. Despite ongoing struggles with the men in the larger Asian American movement, these women activists remained committed to and involved in the broader movement and eschewed separatism. The Asian American activists included in this series include: May Ying Chen, Miya Iwataki and Evelyn Yoshimura. An additional interview with long-time Asian American male activist, Alan Nishio, sheds further light both on the activities of the women and on the relationship between them and the broader Asian American movement in Los Angeles.

Search DSpace

My Account

RSS Feeds