USC To Apologize For WWII-Era Actions That Derailed Japanese American Students’ Educations

The University of Southern California is apologizing to former Japanese American students whose educations were interfered with by the school during World War II.

USC President Carol Folt will issue a formal apology to the former students and award them honorary degrees posthumously, according to the Los Angeles Times. The school is also asking the public for assistance in locating the families of around 120 students who went to USC from 1941-42. 

“This is a stained part of our history,” USC Associate Senior Vice President for Alumni Relations Patrick Auerbach told the Times. “While we can’t change what happened in the past … the university can certainly still do right by their families and let them know that we are posthumously awarding them honorary degrees so that they can occupy that place in the Trojan family, which they deserve.” 

An executive order issued by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943 forced the removal of people of Japanese descent from the West Coast, placing tens of thousands of people in detention camps.

USC refused to release the transcripts of Japanese American students so they could attend another university, the Los Angeles Times reported. When some students attempted to return to USC after the war, the school would not recognize their previously completed courses and told them they would have to start over, their surviving family members noted. 

USC alumni have been pushing for the school to apologize for their actions toward Japanese American students during World War II for years, but the issue gained new momentum after George Floyd’s murder last year, which prompted many institutions to examine their roles in acts of racism.

USC law students last year publicized their research project centering on the issue, titled “Forgotten Trojans,” and an Academic Senate committee also pushed for the school to formally recognize the issue, the Times reported. 

Folt will officially make the apology and award the degrees next spring at an Asian Pacific Alumni Association gala and will also recognize the former students at the school’s commencement in May, according to the Times.

Source: The Hill

California To Pay $116 Million In Cash To Those Who Get COVID Vaccinations

In the latest and most extraordinary effort yet to boost California’s flagging COVID-19 vaccination rates, state officials on Thursday announced what appears to be the largest inoculation incentive in the nation: the chance for 10 residents to win $1.5 million apiece.

The goal of the multimillion-dollar giveaway is simple: Give residents every possible motivation to finally roll up their sleeves as the state’s vaccine rollout enters its crucial next phase.

Those prizes — along with 30 additional awards of $50,000 each — are open to Californians who have gotten at least one dose. Those who have previously received their shots will be entered into the drawings automatically, and there is no need to register, according to state officials.

“These are real incentives. These are an opportunity to say thank you to those not only seeking to get vaccinated as we move forward, but also those that have been vaccinated since we first availed those opportunities a number of months ago,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The grand prize recipients will be chosen June 15, the date the state is set to fully reopen its economy. The $50,000 winners will be selected in two batches, half on June 4 and the rest on June 11.

Should someone under 18 win, the prize will be put in a savings account until they come of age.

Additionally, starting Thursday, the next 2 million people who begin and finish their COVID-19 vaccine series will automatically be eligible for either a $50 prepaid gift card or a $50 grocery card that can be used at supermarkets such as Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, Safeway and Andronico’s.

Prospective winners can decline the award, or they can accept and remain anonymous, though they are permitted to make their award public, Newsom said. All California residents are eligible, regardless of immigration status, with some exceptions, such as people who are incarcerated and some government employees, including workers for public health departments and the California State Lottery.

Manhunt Underway After 6-Year-Old Boy Is Killed In Road-Rage Freeway Shooting In Orange

Police are searching for a gunman after a 6-year-old boy on his way to school was shot and killed during a road-rage attack on the 55 Freeway in Orange on Friday morning, May 21, the California Highway Patrol said.

The boy’s mother was driving a silver Chevrolet Sonic north on the 55 Freeway near Chapman Avenue at about 8 a.m. when her car was hit by gunfire, said Officer Florentino Olivera, a CHP spokesman.

The boy, in a booster seat in the back seat, was struck. He was taken to Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Orange, where he died, Olivera said. His family lives in Costa Mesa.

The woman was not reported injured. She was the only other person in the car.

The shot came from a newer white sedan, possibly a “Volkswagen wagon sedan,” that fled north on the 55 and was still being sought, Olivera said.

“It’s an isolated road-rage behavior,” he said.

Reyes and Joanna Valdivia of Orange had just dropped off their two children at school and entered the freeway when they saw the Chevrolet on the shoulder near Chapman Avenue.

“My wife noticed a lady pulling her son out and dropping to the ground with her son in her arms,” Reyes Valdivia said.

When they stopped to help, Valdivia said, the woman told them that she had “flipped off” the driver of the white sedan after the driver cut her off in the carpool lane.

The woman told Valdivia that when she moved to the right, the white sedan, with a man and woman inside, slipped in behind her and someone opened fire, Valdivia recounted.

Olivera would not specifically describe the incident.

Valdivia said there was a bullet hole in the trunk and that the boy appeared to have been shot in the back. Other good Samaritans pulled over to help, including an off-duty police officer who performed CPR on the boy, Valdivia said.

Joanna Valdivia said the woman, “walking aimlessly” on the freeway shoulder, appeared to be in shock.

“She was hysterical, screaming,” she said.

Relatives said the boy’s name was Aiden, and his death has devastated the family.

“My mom, there was a road-rage on the freeway, and someone pulled out a gun and shot my little brother in the stomach,” the boy’s 15-year-old sister, Alexis Cloonan, told reporters.

“He was only 6, and he was so sweet,” Alexis said through tears. “He was a very, very loving boy. So please, help us find who did this to him.”

The boy’s uncle, John Cloonan, said the family wanted to speak out so the shooter “can see what you’ve done to this family.”

Investigators formed a line the width of the freeway, searching for evidence of the shooting, as traffic was diverted off the northbound 55 to the westbound 22 Freeway. The 55 reopened at about 11:30 a.m.

Mindy Daffron, a crisis team manager with the Orange County chapter of the Trauma Intervention Program, which provides resources to victims of crimes and fires, said her organization was assisting the family.

Olivera was emphatic that Friday’s shooting was not related to the gunfire that has traumatized freeway motorists in the past couple of months. At least 50 cars have been shot at with BB or pellet guns, leaving bullet holes and smashed windows, mostly along the 91 Freeway in Riverside and Orange counties.

Those incidents were different in that motorists did not engage one another before shots were fired, the CHP has said.

The CHP has expanded its patrols as a result of those incidents but has not announced any arrests.

Olivera asked that anyone who was traveling the northbound 55 between the 22 and Chapman from 7:55 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. on Friday who saw anything out of the ordinary or who has dashcam or cellphone video call Investigator Kevin Futrell at the CHP Santa Ana office at 714-567-6000.

A family member of the boy has set up a GoFundMe account.

Source: The OC Register

Donkey Of The Day – University Of South Carolina (USC) President Robert Bob Caslen Called Graduates At His Own School ‘The Newest Alumni From The University Of California’

University of South Carolina President Robert “Bob” Caslen called graduates at a Friday commencement ceremony “the newest alumni from the University of California.”

“It’s now my honor and privilege to officially congratulate you as the newest alumni from the University of California,” Caslen said at the end of a nearly three hour ceremony.

The moment, which was caught on video and recorded by USC, is circulating on social media.

Some in the graduating class laughed. Others at the ceremony jeered. One person on a video can be heard saying “What?” in a confused tone. The university president apologized seconds later and corrected himself after someone on the stage let him know about the error.

Caslen, an Army general, told the gathering “I owe you pushups” after using the incorrect name.

“The president speaks at 15 separate ceremonies all across the state during spring commencement season, congratulating thousands of University of South Carolina system graduates,” said USC spokesperon Jeff Stensland. “It’s a joyous time for our graduates, their families and the entire university community. President Caslen apologizes for accidentally saying ‘California’ instead of ‘Carolina’ at the end of last night’s ceremony and regrets any attention it may have drawn from the accomplishments of our graduates.”

The 2021 Class of USC has had graduation activities all week, culminating in Friday evening’s commencement. Another commencement occurred on Saturday morning and another is planned for Saturday evening.

USC has over 35,000 students.

A California school and the University of South Carolina have clashed in the past. In 2009, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office determined the term “USC” belonged to the University of Southern California. Carolina sued, but the courts sided with Southern California, according to an article from the Los Angeles Times.

Source: The State

‘Forgotten By Society’ – How Chinese Migrants Built The Transcontinental Railroad

When one thinks of the transcontinental railroad, rarely do Chinese migrants come to mind. But in a new exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington, a vital revision is presented.

Until spring 2020, Forgotten Workers: Chinese Migrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad peels back the layers to see who else should be commemorated during the recent 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion – an achievement which has typically been celebrated with photos of old locomotives, successful-looking men in suits and anonymous workers hammering away.

But this exhibition takes a different tack, tracing the forgotten Chinese workers who built the western leg of the railroad across the Sierra Nevada mountains, connecting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad in 1869.

“Historians have always known and written about the Chinese workers, but it’s forgotten by society,” said Peter Liebhold, who co-curated the exhibit with Sam Vong. “We’ve forgotten the contribution of these workers, and in fact, we forget the contribution of all workers. We tend to focus on the achievement of the few and not the stories of the average everyday person.”

Ittells the story of Chinese workers through old maps, detailing where they worked, their labor materials – from conical hats to miner’s picks – and photos, showing the tents they lived in, their working conditions and their nomadic lifestyle.

“The artifacts on view are meant to help visitors understand how forgotten workers had to endure hazardous, unfair conditions, in addition to backbreaking labor,” said Leibhold. “The 150th anniversary is not just about completing a railroad, but the workers involved.”

From 1863 and 1869, roughly 15,000 Chinese workers helped build the transcontinental railroad. They were paid less than American workers and lived in tents, while white workers were given accommodation in train cars.

Chinese workers made up most of the workforce between roughly 700 miles of train tracks between Sacramento, California, and Promontory, Utah. During the 19th century, more than 2.5 million Chinese citizens left their country and were hired in 1864 after a labor shortage threatened the railroad’s completion.

The work was tiresome, as the railroad was built entirely by manual laborers who used to shovel 20 pounds of rock over 400 times a day. They had to face dangerous work conditions – accidental explosions, snow and rock avalanches, which killed hundreds of workers, not to mention frigid weather.

“All workers on the railroad were ‘other’,” said Liebhold. “On the west, there were Chinese workers, out east were Irish and Mormon workers were in the center. All these groups are outside the classical American mainstream.”

The exhibition features a century-old pair of chopsticks, as well as canisters for tea and soy sauce. The railroad company provided room and board to white workers, but Chinese workers had to find their own meals, which were often brought to them from local merchants.

There are also miner’s picks and shovels, conical hats, as well as photos of the camp sites where the workers lived in Nevada in 1869. There are photos, as well, of the Native Americans, many of whom protested against the building of the railway in 1869, which displaced the Lakota, Shoshone, Cheyenne and other communities.

The Chinese workers were educated and organized; 3,000 laborers went on strike in 1867 to demand equal wages, as the white workers were paid double.

“They were unsuccessful because they were out in the middle of nowhere,” said Liebhold. “The railroad stopped them from getting food. That’s one way it failed.”

One telling photo on view is a shot of the Union Pacific board members sitting in a business class train car from 1869. By paying laborers a low wage, they were able to skim millions from the construction and get rich.

“Building railroads is often profitable but operating them isn’t necessarily, if you look at the history of railroads in the US,” said Liebhold. “To totally condemn the businessmen is challenging because they took huge risks raising money to build a railroad that was astronomically difficult. Many people didn’t think it was possible.”

There is one photo from 1869 that shows how the company commemorated the last hammered spike to complete the railroad, however, only one Chinese worker is in the photo. Many of the actual workers were left out.

This story could still be one which resonates with today’s America. “There’s no question this is a story about migrant labor,” he said. “Chinese workers were not citizens, weren’t allowed to become citizens. From the 1850s to 1882, they were tolerated in the US, but not accepted as peers.

“Then, there was the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred immigrants from coming into US, unless you were a diplomat or a businessperson,” said Liebhold. “You’re always welcome if you’re affluent, then you’re allowed to come in.”

Source: The Guardian

Orange Coast College Professor Emeritus John Upton, Noted Photography Icon, Dies

John Upton, one of the founders of the well-respected photography department at Orange Coast College who taught there for more than 40 years, died on Dec. 7 in Petaluma. He was 88.

Upton died due to complications from lung cancer, the school announced.

A former San Clemente and Laguna Woods resident, Upton had moved to Petaluma two years ago to be closer to his family, his daughter, Sean, said.

“He always had an eye for photography,” Sean Upton said. “The day that I drove him to the hospital, which was just two weeks ago, he was looking out the window appreciating places that he may photograph someday. So, he was always looking through the eye of the lens of the photographer.”

John Upton was born in Iowa and moved to the San Fernando Valley when he was 5 years old, his daughter said. He went to art school in San Francisco, at the California School of the Fine Arts, studying with contemporaries like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston before he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War in 1953.

Upton came back to Southern California and became a faculty member at Orange Coast College in 1960. He retired in 1999 but continued to teach a gallery class part time for several years.

Upton and his then-wife, Barbara London, published the influential college textbook “Photography” in 1976. There are more than 1.5 million copies in print.

“Things that other people see as common knowledge, John would sort of miss,” said OCC Photography Department Chair Blade Gillissen, a student of Upton’s at the junior college in the 1990s. “He was so tuned into photography. I remember one day trying to talk to him, back when the [Los Angeles] Lakers started doing better again with Kobe [Bryant] and [Shaquille O’Neal]. And he had no idea who I was talking about.”

The gallery class provided joy for Upton later in his life. Gillissen said he and Upton would each drive a van full of students to art galleries and museums throughout Southern California on Saturdays, with Upton acting as a docent.

“I haven’t offered it since he stopped teaching it,” Gillissen said. “I don’t know anyone off the top of my head that could teach it like he did it.”

Sean Upton called her father one of the premier art historians in the U.S. Last January, Orange Coast College opened a survey exhibition of his fine art work at the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion on campus. The exhibit ran until mid-March, when the school was shut down due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The survey had selections from four main bodies of work: early work, “Japanalia,” “Jungle Road” and the more recent “Petaluma.” John Upton was an avid fan of Asian art and culture and would visit Japan yearly for decades, Sean Upton said.

The exhibition was curated by Tyler Stallings, director/senior curator at the Doyle.

“He was mainly known as an educator, for the book and what he did for the photography department at OCC,” Stallings said. “He’s always been making work, but as a busy teacher, he didn’t always have the time to get his work out there. That was the angle of the show.”

Later in his life, Upton also collaborated with longtime friend and part-time OCC Photography Department instructor John Hesketh, who would print his photography.

“John was one of the sweetest and most giving people around,” Hesketh said. “I had a commercial father of photography [Dean], and John was kind of my fine art father of photography. He was very, very dedicated to photography itself and what it meant to be a fine art photographer, or an artist that was lens-based … He was like this elder statesman that represented photography in its best, kindest way. He was very generous in encouraging other people to do what they could do.”

Source: LA Times

NASM Certified Personal Trainer Brian Kranz Of Red Fitness (Irvine CA) Follows, Hurls Racist Remarks At Asian Woman; Says Recording Him Won’t Do Anything And ‘Thanks For Bringing COVID To My Country’

A woman shopping in Orange County, California has become the latest target of anti-Asian racism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The incident, which was caught on video, reportedly occurred outside a Sephora store at The Market Place in Tustin and Irvine.

In the video posted on Instagram and Reddit, a man can be seen hurling anti-Asian racial slurs while a female companion sarcastically says “bye” to the camera.

The man has since reportedly been identified as Brian Kranz, a fitness instructor in Irvine, California who runs Red Fitness. His female partner—who is seen smirking throughout the incident and even smugly taunts the victim with a “bye”—has been identified as Janelle Hinshaw.

The Asian woman reportedly recalled how the incident started inside the store after the staff asked the pair to wear face masks.

“These people were standing after me in the line at Sephora. They didn’t have masks on before the staff requested so. But then [they] refused to keep social distancing from me. Sephora staff was doing a good job directing me to stand in another line,” a Nextdoor user, who claims to be the woman behind the camera, wrote.

The woman eventually finished shopping and returned to her car. That’s when Kranz followed and began making racist remarks.

“Why don’t you stay at home? Are you that dumb? You want to photograph me?” he says before charging toward the woman, who then retreats in her car.

“Exactly! Get in your car, stupid g**k. Go back to f**king [unintelligible].”

Brian Kranz returns to his Jeep and continues his tirade before driving away.

“Are you really that stupid? You know that recording doesn’t do anything,” he tells the woman. “Stay home. And thanks for giving my country COVID. Have a great day.”

Kranz is a trainer licensed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and many on social media called for his license to be revoked. Many also tagged Hinshaw’s current masters’ program at Azusa Pacific University to revoke her license as a psychologist working with teens.

Given both Kranz and Hinshaw’s work requires working with the public at large, it was of concern to many how they would treat their clients of Asian descent. 

The backlash has been immense. After reportedly deactivating their LinkedIn and Instagram pages, they faced backlash on other platforms. 

Source: The Daily Dot, NextShark

The Dual Album Design Of Kendrick Lamar’s Major Label Debut Offers A Glimpse Into An Alternative Future

The two albums’ early 90s photographs are highly personal to Lamar, but have a familiarity to the beholder as well

In 2012, good kid, m.A.A.d city brought hip hop’s finest new storyteller to the attention of the masses. Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut tells the story of a kid growing up in Compton, Los Angeles, circumnavigating the pitfalls of gang life, whether by accident or design. The cover art meanwhile provides two stories, perhaps offering us a glimpse into an alternative future. 

It’s a cinematic roman-à-clef that comes at you out of sequence—memory isn’t linear, after all—and the two photographs chosen for two editions of the album conjure up different but connected memories from the immediate past: one is a family scene from a kitchen, and the other, a van sitting in the driveway of Lamar’s old house. While personal to the artist, these pictures from the early ’90s have a familiarity to the beholder too, even if they’re not our own memories.

Exhibit one, for the initial 12-track release, is a picture we’re to assume is of the baby Kendrick surrounded by three older figures who may be relatives. According to Marcus J. Moore’s excellent new biography The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited The Soul Of Black America, that is indeed Lamar in diminutive form, with two teenage uncles and his grandfather sitting to his left. In an interesting visual twist, the eyes of these other figures are blacked out with identity-obscuring oblongs, while the toddler—who you’d expect to be the protected party here—stares into the lens. A few years after this photo was taken, Kendrick, aged just five, would witness a teenage drug dealer gunned down before his eyes, and the year before, he’d seen mass rioting in the streets following the infamous attack on Rodney King by LAPD officers. 

On closer inspection, the photograph is communicating dangers via signifiers, such as a bottle of alcohol sitting on the table—something he’ll addressed on ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)”; meanwhile, the uncle whose lap young Kendrick is sitting on is throwing a surreptitious gang sign with his left hand. Potential downfalls are hiding in plain sight in a picture as symbolically rich as Holbein’s The Ambassadors. “That photo says so much about my life and about how I was raised in Compton and the things I’ve seen,” said Lamar. 

Exhibit two, mounted on the cover for the deluxe version of good kid, m.A.A.d city, is not as easy to read. Lamar’s mother’s van, parked on the street in front of their family home, appears on the cover, shot through a fisheye lens. Intriguingly, while this photo offers less in the way of visual portents, the house itself has become a shrine to fans. Type “Good Kid M.A.A.D City House” into Google Earth and you’ll find the rapper’s childhood home in Compton, and pictures of fans assembled outside like they’re at Graceland. Furthermore, scrawled under the battered Chrysler are the words “a short film by Kendrick Lamar,” adding to the hauntological vibrations.  

“I fought not to have that on the cover!” says designer Don Clark on a Zoom call from his Seattle office. Clark set up the design agency Invisible Creature with his brother Ryan in 2006. “At the beginning I felt a photo of a minivan wasn’t worthy of an album cover, but I’m not always right. Because then his art creates this thing that becomes greater than any of us. That’s the sweet spot I love when working with other artists, when it takes on a life of its own.” 

Clark was initially reluctant to talk about good kid, m.A.A.d city because of his lack of conceptual input into the design. Invisible Creature took 4×6 photos supplied by Lamar and scanned them, adding crease marks to the corners to give the packaging a more distressed appearance, and then superimposed the pictures onto various textures until they found a background that most resembled an old Polaroid. But otherwise, the direction all came from Lamar himself. Within the space of a five-minute conference call, the musician, who was just making a name for himself at the time, had laid out exactly what he wanted in fine detail. His objectives were clear for every inch of good kid, m.A.A.d city, visually and audibly.

There are ten polaroid photos laid out across the deluxe gatefold edition, again all chosen in sequence by Lamar. Clark also disapproved of the graffiti-style font at the base of the sleeve, but he’s willing to concede that that cover has become a fan favorite, and that it has an enigmatic quality, too: mystery, after all, is in short supply these days as cover art becomes utilitarian and avatar-like, a one inch box on a tiny smartphone screen to click on or swipe away. 

The alternative 12-track cover still makes more sense to Clark though, and a couple of serendipitous details add to its ability to communicate: the Parental Advisory sticker is analogous to the photo’s message, and use of the black strips across the eyes of the adults was actually at the insistence of the label. “That was more of a legal thing,” says Clark. “Interscope and the family wanted to do that to obscure their likenesses.” 

Other than obfuscating the identities of the grownups in the room, Interscope was happy to allow their new signing complete artistic freedom to unleash his vision, a gamble that obviously paid off given that Kendrick Lamar is one of the most acclaimed rappers of all time, a state of affairs that really began with good kid, m.A.A.d city

“From the beginning they let him do what he wanted,” says Clark. “He was also [Dr.] Dre’s guy and I think that had a lot to do with it. That’s another amazing thing about him in that he doesn’t care what people will think and his art speaks for itself, and I appreciate that audacity.”

Source: AIGA Eye On Design