Thursday, April 9, 2009

Massachusetts. Connecticut.

Recently, Iowa, and now, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

Marriage equality is a reality in all four states and the District.

Four states out of 50—the battle is just beginning. And the biggest prize yet, California, lies in the hands of the California State Supreme Court. Will they issue an opinion upholding Prop 8’s legality as a legitimate amendment to the state’s constitution, or will they stand by their original May, 2008 decision that extends marriage to same-sex couples?

We won’t wait for the California Supreme Court to decide—we’re taking it straight to the young people of California, specifically to young Asian Pacific Islander Americans. Polls show young people tend to “get it.” We want them to help explain it to a group of people who were statistically more likely to be against marriage equality--churchgoing, older, English-language limited, recently-immigrated Americans of Asian descent: their parents.

API-PFLAG in collaboration with PFLAG National (with support from their $1,000 Diversity Grant) is offering a college essay scholarship contest to graduating high school seniors and returning college students in LA and Orange Counties.

We need your help to spark an intergenerational dialogue that could change hearts and minds. We need your help because we can’t afford to write off any community. We need your help, because there are many closeted APIA youth and allies without a voice, and we need to make it safe for all to stand up and say marriage equality is for everyone. That started with API-PFLAG, PFLAG National, Lambda Legal, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and a host of other co-sponsors and allies within and around the APIA community. We hope we can count you among our community, as a friend and ally.

Help us meet our $5,000 scholarship goal. Please donate whatever you can. No donation is too small. (PFLAG L.A. Fed Tax ID: 95-3707419)

· For more details about the contest, read previous blog posts:

· To donate safely and electronically online: “ChipIn” widget

· By check, made out to PFLAG Los Angeles. Please mail checks c/o Andre Ting/API PFLAG, P.O. Box 2303, La Habra, CA 90632.

Thank you, from the heart.


Harold Kameya & the API-PFLAG essay contest team

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Essay Topic:
From the perspective of Asian Pacific Americans, why should marriage between two people of the same sex be considered a fundamental civil right (marriage equality)? You may include examples from Asian Pacific American legal history or culture to form your argument.

  • New deadline for entries: May 1, 2009, midnight Pacific Standard Time

  • Winners announced: May 27th, 2009

  1. Students must be residents of Los Angeles and Orange Counties only.

  2. There are two categories, English-language and Asian-language: papers may be written entirely in English, or papers may be written entirely in Chinese or Korean.

  3. Due to the difficulty of writing well in an Asian language, some specialized terms relating to legal and human rights in Chinese have been provided for reference. You may use that terminology in your essay.

  4. Papers must be the original work of current high school and college students who (during the time that the paper is written) will enroll part- or full-time at an accredited 2-year or 4-year college of university in the Fall of 2009.

  5. There is maximum of one entry per person, per category.

  6. Papers must not be previously published.

  7. Papers may be dual-purpose in that they satisfy a class requirement.

  8. A faculty member from the student's school must be willing to certify that the student was enrolled during the time that the paper was written, and that, to the best of their knowledge, the work is original.

    Required Format:

    • Papers should be nor more than 1,000 words (excluding citations, if any) in an easily email-shared format among Macintosh and PC software (.pdf and .doc files preferred). Word count shall appear on the cover sheet. Essays written in Chinese or Korean should be 1500 characters or less.

    • Papers must be double-spaced, in 12 pt font, with 1" margins on all sides.

    • The body of the paper must not identify the author, sponsor, or school, so that judging is performed entirely anonymously.

      Separate cover sheet is required, with the following information in English:

      Author Name
      Phone number
      Email address
      Author's School Affiliation and Status (high school senior or undergraduate year)

      Faculty Sponsor's Name
      Phone number
      Email address

      Word or Character Count

Body of essay and separate cover sheet to be sent as a single pdf file to . Contest staff will separate cover sheets from the rest of the essay.

  • Judges will be public figures in education, the arts, politics, and law, with a familiarity in Asian Pacific American, civil rights and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer issues.

  • Judges cannot submit or sponsor papers for the Essay Contest during the year.

  • Decisions of the judges shall be final. Essay contest organizers reserve the right to withhold the prize money if submissions do not merit awards.

  • A paper may be withdrawn from the contest by the author up to one day before it is scheduled for public announcement. After that time, it may not be withdrawn.

  • API-PFLAG is not responsible for saving papers, or following up or responding to participants.

  • Entries not meeting contest requirements will not be considered.

A portion of the prize winnings were donated by the PFLAG National Diversity Outreach Chapter Assistance Program.


March 26, 2009

"Think, Write, Win: Choose Love" College Scholarship Essay Challenge

(Los Angeles, CA) Asian Pacific Islander Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (API-PFLAG) issues a challenge to all graduating college-bound high school seniors and returning undergraduates: Write a sharp, well-argued essay in favor of same-sex marriage and win a college scholarships split between an English language category and a Chinese/Korean language category. Total prize winnings will be $5,000. The contest is open to all students who permanently reside in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Andre Ting, educator, businessman, and longtime activist in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities (LGBT) community says, "We know Asians value education and achievement. Here's another way to win recognition for your ability and show off your knowledge of Asian Pacific American history."

API-PFLAG chair Harold Kameya, devoted parent of a daughter who is lesbian, adds "Everyone in the state of California knows about Proposition 8. Right now, my daughter is deprived of a basic civil right: to marry the person she loves. Why should she be? Every parent wants happiness, stability and companionship for their child."

Two prominent ministers also lend their voices in support of the contest. Reverend Jonipher Kwong of California Faith for Equality and Reverend Dae Jung of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles both emphasize the importance of living out God's word through deeds that support all God's children. "When some are denied rights, and others granted them, this is our opportunity to reflect and act on the belief that 'what harms or blesses one, harms or blesses all.' Through inclusion we can truly say we have kinship in Christ," says Rev. Kwong. Of marriage equality, Rev. Jung says, "To deny any individual that privilege and that celebration is to deny them what God has already given them. One of the ways we give God full glory, which is the aim of our faith, is to be who you are, to be fully alive as a person. To do that is to give God glory."

Prominent Asian Americans are judges, including the two ministers mentioned above, plus Dr. Julius Nam, professor of religion at Loma Linda University, State Board of Equalization Chair and congressional candidate Hon. Judy Chu, and State Assembly member Hon. Mike Eng. Two school board members, the Hon. Jay Chen of Hacienda Heights-La Puente District and the Hon. Henry Lo of the Garvey District will also encourage students in their districts to enter.

"This is a community with a lot of talent - much of it in the math and sciences," says Cynthia Liu, writer, former teacher and one of the contest organizers. "We're challenging young Asian Pacific Americans to show off their ability to write well and persuade others on substantive issues of the day. We're wondering where our community's 'Obama' might be."

On March 5, 2009, the California Supreme Court reviewed the controversial statewide Proposition 8 passed in November, 2008. At issue are several procedural questions having to do with the ability of a ballot initiative to alter the state's constitution, and the fact that the court already issued an opinion finding that civil unions are "separate and unequal" to marriages under the law. In May, 2008, the California Supreme Court justices wrote that marriages between same-sex couples should be imbued with the same rights and responsibilities expected of differing-sex couples.

The Asian Pacific American Legal Center, where API-PFLAG and its co-sponsors are announcing the contest, joined with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Equal Justice Society back in November, 2008 to petition the California Supreme Court to stop enactment of Proposition 8. The allied legal defense funds point out that if enacted, Prop. 8 mandates discrimination against a minority group.

The contest is co-sponsored by organizations hosting some of the best, sharpest legal minds in civil rights legislation: lawyers with the Lambda Legal Defense Fund recently twice argued the constitutionality of same-sex marriage before the State Supreme Court, and are ready to do so again in front of the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. The California State Supreme Court's opinion post-Prop 8 will be rendered sometime in April or May, 2009.

# # #

List of co-sponsors: Asian Pacific Islander Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (API-PFLAG), PFLAG Los Angeles, PFLAG national office, Lambda Legal, Korean Resource Center, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, Jia Lan Literature Foundation, Chinese Rainbow Association, API Pride Council, API Equality Los Angeles.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Essay Contest on Civil Rights of Same Sex Marriages:
$5,000 scholarship essay contest.

Thanks to a $1,000 grant from the PFLAG Diversity Outreach Chapter Assistance Program, the Asian Pacific Islander Parents Families and Friends (APIPFLAG) satellite group is conducting an essay contest for high school seniors up through college juniors. Additional fundraising will increase the scholarship funds to $5,000.

The essays are to be written on the following topic: From the perspective of Asian Pacific Americans, why should marriage between two people of the same sex be considered a fundamental civil right (marriage equality)?

Essays may be written in English, Korean or Chinese and are to be submitted by April 24, 2009. Entrants must reside in Los Angeles or Orange counties.

Contest details are to be released at a press conference at 10:30AM on March 26th at the Asian Pacific Legal Center at 1145 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Please contact for further details.

The essay-writing contest is being used to reach out into the Asian Pacific communities to continue meaningful dialogue on the issue of same-sex marriage. It can impact the Asian Pacific communities in at least three ways:

First is the media coverage in the various API communities on the loss of civil rights for a group of people.

Secondly, the contest can stimulate meaningful dialogue between students and with their parents on the civil rights aspect of same-sex marriage.

Lastly, this contest will encourage API youth to be more analytical of social issues that affects their communities, as well as those issues affecting all communities that make up our nation.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Prop. 8

This post was created to invite comments on issues related to Prop. 8 and marriage equality.

API PFLAG Los Angeles is a member of the coalition of Asian Pacific Islander groups that forms API Equality Los Angeles.

On January 31st, 2009, the API Equality LA group and the API Pride Council mobilized a contingent of about 190 marchers at the annual Golden Dragon Lunar New Year parade. This was the 4th year that a group marched. In 2008, the marchers numbered about 70 people. Proposition 8 created a large turnout as a demonstration of marriage equality support.

Arguments on overturning or retaining Prop. 8 will be made to the CA state supreme court on March 5th. A decision is required within 90 days after arguments are heard.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

LGBT Support

This topic was created for anyone to post their needs for information or support in dealing with parents, relatives, friends, workplace, community.

You may submit your requests as comments to this post.