About The Class
UCLA M116, Asian American Social Movements: Strategies For Community Education is a course instructed by Professor Glenn Omatsu. This class is unique in which it is a service learning class that emphasizes the role that Asian American and Pacific islander students can play in recovering the hidden stories of Asian American veterans.
Students worked with Asian American veterans of the Vietnam war tell their stories through a writing project organized by Traci Kato-Kiriyama. These veterans became activists for peace and justice after serving in the war and these interviews will serve as the first phase of Traci Kato-Kiriyama’s long-term project for documenting stories, people, and art focusing on pro-peace action and education.
Additionally, student work will be posted on this site, providing how their own lives have been affected by the Vietnam war, as well as other wars. This work may be in the form of video, writings, or comic books.
While working in this class, the students of Omatsu’s class are cognizant of these three guiding principles:
- emphasis on grassroots mobilization by ordinary people to change society
- emphasis on the need for youth to decolonize their minds from the legacy of 500 years of colonialism
- emphasis on the link between transforming oneself while changing society
About Professor Glenn Omatsu
Glenn Omatsu is an educator who works with community and labor groups and international solidarity networks. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1947 as part of the post-World War II internment, third-generation Japanese American cohort. He has lived most of his life in California. He is a graduate of East Los Angeles College and University of California, Santa Cruz.
At UCLA, from 1985 to 2002, he served as associate editor of “Amerasia Journal,” the nation’s leading research publication in Asian American Studies; and editor of CrossCurrents, newsmagazine of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. At UCLA, he teaches “Asian American Social Movements,” “Community Education: Youth Empowerment,” “Asian Pacific American Labor Studies,” “Investigative Journalism and Communities of Color” and other classes relating to student and community activism.
At California State University, Northridge, he teaches classes in service-learning, Asian American Studies, and developmental reading and writing, and serves as Faculty Mentor Program Coordinator for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) assisting low-income students.
At Pasadena City College, he teaches an introductory sociology course focusing on the Asian American experience.
He is co-editor (with Steve Louie of San Francisco) of “Asian Americans: The Movement and the Moment,” published in September 2001 by UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press. He has worked with a number of interethnic alliances in Los Angeles, including the New Otani Workers Support Committee in Little Tokyo and the Koreatown Restaurant Workers Support Committee, campaigns for immigrant rights, and other struggles for social justice.
At UCLA, he was named an honorary life member of the national Mortar Board, an honors society, where he also teaches courses. He is the recipient of the Community Service Award from the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California and the Community Activism Award from Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates of Los Angeles.