Black and Asian Book Club

Kyoung’s Pacific Beat is thrilled to launch our Black & Asian Book Club, in partnership with The Blasian March, Asians4Abolition, GAPIMNY, Indie Space and The Exponential Festival. These emergent gatherings invite our community to examine our shared histories of Black and Asian solidarity work through literature and social gatherings in order to amplify abolitionist discourse in our community.

Tuesday, May 17th – 7:00-8:30pm EST
Free Via Zoom –
Register here

A Black LGBT woman, labeled a terrorist for uplifting Black life, must survive the horrors of policing in modern times. A Japanese American gay man recounts his childhood in the inhumane camps, when the U.S. government called all Japanese and their descendants the enemy. In this book club, we examine how incarceration impacts Black and Asian communities through the memoirs of Patrisse Cullors (When They Call You a Terrorist) and George Takei (They Called Us Enemy).

Rohan Zhou-Lee (Founder, The Blasian March) and Stephanie Hsu (Board Co-Chair, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat) will moderate our virtual launch on Tuesday, May 17th with guest speakers Sneha George and Ishmael Thaahir. An in-person discussion will be held on Sunday, June 12th.

Sneha George, Guest Speaker

Sneha George is a P.h.D. student in Ethnic Studies at the University of California Riverside. She received her Master’s in International Relations at The New School and her Bachelor’s in Women’s Studies and World History at SUNY, Albany. She is a leading member of Critical Anti-Violence Research and Action (CARA) at UCR, which is an abolition-feminist research center. She organizes with CAT911, MALIKAH, and has organized various community-based political education courses. Sneha’s research focus lies in women of color feminisms and queer of color critique. Her dissertation examines cheating in the university in order to challenge the morality of university subjects as a product of antiblack and settler logic.

Stephanie Hsu
Stephanie Hsu, Co-Moderator

Stephanie Hsu is an associate professor of English and American Studies program director at Pace University in New York City. She teaches and writes in the fields of Asian American studies, queer and trans studies, and disability studies about the embodiment of race, gender, and desire. She is an editorial collective member for the Q+Public book series published by Rutgers University Press, and she was honored with the 2020 Community Catalyst Award by the National Queer Asian/Pacific Islander Alliance.

Ishmael Thaahir
Ishmael Thaahir, Guest Speaker

Ishmael Thaahir is a performer and artist born in Harlem. He earned his B.F.A. in Theatre from North Carolina A&T State University. When not performing, he has worked in arts education and as an Associate Artistic Producer for Kyoung’s Pacific Beat. He believes art is an invaluable component in community building. He aims to make theatrical arts accessible to everyone, as it can be a powerful way to give a voice to the often unheard marginalized communities we belong to.

Rohan Zhou-Lee
Rohan Zhou-Lee, Co-Moderator

Rohan Zhou-Lee (Founder, Blasian March, (They/Siya/祂 (Tā)) is dancer, writer, and organizer. Previous credits include a soloist role in the Off-Broadway revival of Over Here! The Musical, West Side Story (New Bedford Festival Theatre), and The Bluebird from Sleeping Beauty (Victoria Ballet Theatre). They also trained at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Ruth Page Center For the Arts. Their short act play, The Soldier’s Home, was produced in 2015 by Circa Pintig, Chicago’s premiere Filipino theatre company. Zhou-Lee is the founder of the Blasian March, a solidarity movement for Black, Asian and Blasian [mixed] communities through education on parallel struggles with racial injustice and mutual celebration. Under the Blasian March, they have continued to co-organize events with specific focus on uplifting Black and Asian Women, LGBT and disabled individuals. They hold a BA in Ethnomusicology from Northwestern University.

About our Program
Kyoung’s Pacific Beat’s Black and Asian Book Club supports cultural activities that de-escalate anti-Asian and anti-Black violence in NYC. Our program invests in the capacity building of our grassroots partners to build community cohesion through artistic and community-care events that increase cultural competence, awareness, and respect for our differences, in order to cultivate positive relations among New Yorkers.

This program is made possible by an Innovation Grant awarded by the NYC Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes. For more information, visit http://nyc.gov/stophate.