In the decade following the [San Francisco State Strike], several themes would reverberate in the struggles in Asian American communities across the nation. These included housing and anti-eviction campaigns, efforts to defend education rights, union organizing drives, campaigns for jobs and social services, and demands for democratic rights, equality, and justice. Mo Nishida, an organizer in Los Angeles, recalls the broad scope of movement activities in his city:
“Our movement flowered. At one time, we had active student organizations on every campus around Los Angeles, fought for ethnic studies, equal opportunity programs, high potential programs at UCLA, and for students doing community work in “Serve the People” programs. In the community, we had, besides [Asian American] Hard Core, four area youth-oriented groups working against drugs (on the Westside, Eastside, Gardena, and the Virgil district). There were also parents’ groups, which worked with parents of the youth and more.”
In Asian American communities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Stockton, San Jose, Seattle, New York, and Honolulu, activists created “serve the people” organizations— mass networks built on the principles of “mass line” organizing. Youth initiated many of these organizations— some from college campuses and others from high schools and the streets— but other members of the community, including small-business people, workers, senior citizens, and new immigrants, soon joined.
The mass character of community struggles is the least appreciated aspect of our movement today. It is commonly believed that the movement involved only college students. In fact, a range of people, including high-school youth, tenants, small-business people, former prison inmates, former addicts, the elderly, and workers embraced the struggles.
- Glenn Omatsu, “The “Four Prisons” and the Movements of Liberation: Asian American Activism from the 1960s to the 1990s,” Asian American Studies Now (2010)