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Archive for the ‘New Media’ Category

Exciting news! We are having our film broadcast on a widely watched Mandarin news channel program called Dialogue 360  hosted and produced by Jay Stone Shih tomorrow night. On Thursday and Friday, October 16 & 17 our entire documentary will be broadcast in two segments. This is historic to be able to have a full documentary screened on a half hour news channel. Dialogue 360 is watched by a huge audience of Chinese Mandarin speakers and our film will be shown with subtitles.

There’s a story behind the making of the translation. It was a global project where we found a Chinese woman, Wu Nan who helped us quickly translate our document into Mandarin. I found her through a personal friend and famous blogger, Xiao Qiang who is the editor of China Digital Times one of the most widely read news portals on China related events. Xiao is also an Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley so he recommended his former journalism student Wu Nan who returned to Beijing and we made the connection.

After the show is broadcast in English with mandarin subtitles, you will still be able to view it on their website archives.  Tell any friends who speak Chinese/Mandarin to watch.  Mable

Here’s the press release about this important broadcast and hope you tune in.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Engage Her Announces Broadcast of Documentary in Mandarin

Publicly Acclaimed Documentary Motivates Women & Minorities to Take Political Action

October 14, 2008 (Berkeley, CA) – “Engage Her: Getting Minority Women to Lead and Vote”, a 48-minute documentary produced to inspire women minorities to participate in the political process, will be broadcast on the Dialogue 360 show in Mandarin. Jay Stone Shih is the producer and news anchor of this highly regarded program. The half-hour news show is carried on cable to millions of Mandarin-speaking viewers. The documentary will be broadcast in two segments, on October 16, and October 17, 2008 from 10:30-11:00 p.m. It is broadcast on Channel 38 or Comcast Channel 21 in Northern California.

Mable F. Yee, CEO & co-founder of the social action start-up EngageHer.org , hailed the broadcast as an historic outreach to the huge population of Chinese-speaking voters. The Chinese is the largest single community in the national Asian American Pacific Islander population. The film, co-produced by Yee and Director Maria Victoria Ponce, interviews leading minority women, including Germaine Wong, Chairperson of Chinese for Affirmative Action; Janis Hirohama, League of Women Voters California President; Lillian Galedo, Executive Director of Filipinos for Affirmative Action; Dr. Gwendolyn Mok, Associate Professor at San Jose State University; Margaret Ouye, Internment camp detainee; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; social activist Dolores Huerta and non-voters. The film shares their personal stories and explores the complex reasons why nearly 70 percent of Asian Americans and Latinas, and 40 percent of African American women, failed to vote in the 2004 elections. The movie trailer is available at www.engageher.org.

Getting the 30+ million minority women in the U.S. engaged in voting and leadership spurred Yee and Mina Wilson, a community activist and education consultant, to form EngageHer.org.

Yee says the organization was born out of the need to bring a voice to minority women, who are invisible in the media and lack adequate representation in our government, “These are the women whose children and families are most impacted by our inadequate education, health, and work policies, and yet our issues and concerns are not addressed. It’s as if we don’t exist.”

“We will use Engage Her as a platform to educate and activate women, minorities and communities to step up and influence our nation’s policies. Without our involvement, we lack a real democracy and our issues continue to be ignored,” Yee adds. “By creating a film that shows women discussing the cultural, social and political barriers that prevent or influence their voting behavior, is crucial to accelerating the process of engaging this huge block of voters and future leaders. To have our film translated with Chinese subtitles allows us to engage this population of voters in their own language so that they can better understand the reasons and need to participate in the voting and political process.”

In addition to the documentary, Engage Her is partnering with scores of national and regional minority, women and leadership organizations, including Mobilize Immigrant Voters, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Filipinos for Affirmative Action, Votolatino.org, Colorofchange.org, Momsrising.org, League of Women Voters, The White House Project, Women’s Media Center, Democracy for America and more. They will be collaborating to develop new initiatives to address their key issues of concern: Education, Health, the Economy, the Environment and Social Justice.

“We’ve had enough of candidates coming every four years to solicit our vote, and then disappearing until the next election without addressing the real issues that exist within our communities” says Mina Wilson, Vice President.

By bringing minority women’s voices to the table, EngageHer.org plans to achieve political representation and hold elected officials accountable for their actions. The nonprofit organization is harnessing the speed, scale, and reach of the Internet to rapidly engage members and leverage its members to demand change.

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Imagine standing in front of an overflow crowd of several hundred people at the California Democratic Party’s State Convention in San Jose, CA recently. Thanks to Lynn Shaw Hilfenhaus, Chair of the Women’s Caucus and Elmy Bermejo, our Director of Latina Affairs, I had the wonderful opportunity to announce our Engage Her documentary to this esteemed crowd. As I looked throughout the audience I saw an amazing collection of women and men of all ethnicities, races and ages holding up signs to support their candidates. I had a few minutes to describe our project and to let them know that our documentary was due out in mid June for national distribution. I could tell when I explained that there were 26 million or more minority women who could’ve vote in the 2004 elections that they were surprised the number was so huge. Letting them know that only 60% of African American women voted, while Asian American Pacific Islanders dropped down to 40% and Latinas were only 38% was eye opening. I mentioned briefly some of the amazing women that we are interviewing and that the documentary would conclude with solutions and calls to action. We now have national organizations and partners such as Momsrising.org, DemocracyforAmerica.com, League Of Women Voters who are interested in helping screen and host house parties for our documentary when it is released.

Afterwards, I was approached by a number of different organizations and individuals who are interested in hearing more about our documentary and the movement we are creating including Emerge California, National Women’s Political Caucus of California among others. It was exciting and gratifying to see such a strong response and interest in our project. Maria Victoria Ponce, our Filmmaker, Annie Masullo, our Director of Operations and Elmy Bermejo were there filming and networking with people as we handed out postcards announcing our documentary and blog. Women were very interested in hearing more about our project and I would hear feedback like “It’s about time”. A number of people kept telling us that we needed to get the documentary onto PBS for national screening since it is such an educational project and resonates with so many people.

It was an exciting moment to announce our documentary publicly and to see that it resonated so deeply with a very diverse audience. Everybody’s pushing us to get the documentary out as quickly as possible and we’re moving at break neck speed. Stay tuned for more individual interviews and videoclips. Mable

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Why did I start this blog?  I have spent 20+ years  in the business world operating in environments where  decision makers were predominantly males.  There never seemed to be enough females in executive and decision making positions…much less minority females and I felt like it’s time to take action to encourage more inclusion. One way to change the power and infrastructure is if women take on leadership positions both within the private sector as well as in the government.  During the past few decades with the initial support of programs like Affirmative Action, we’ve gained the experience and credibility to assume higher leadership positions.  However, It’s critical that we continually push and assume executive & leadership positions in the private and government environment.  It’s the only way to have a strong voice,  definitive impact and create lasting change. 

However, as I looked around I noticed that there still aren’t enough women of ethnic and minority backgrounds in leadership positions to make huge changes.  As I began to research articles, I found out in the area of voting,  minority women voted in far lower percentages than majority females. In the 2004 elections 125 million people voted with women out voting the men. Overall, of the eligible people who could vote, 65% women voted compared to 62% of the men. There were approximately 26 million minority women who were eligible to vote.  However, while 70% of majority white women voted, 60% African American women and only 40% of Latinas and Asian women voted.  

Let’s think back to how close the presidential elections of 2000 were and the razor thin victories in different elections like a state governorship determined by less than several hundred votes. We  can see how this huge group of minority women voters could have major impact on the consequences on our country’s direction. When you think about how minority women represent the heads of households for many families, affect every aspect of their children’s education, health, housing and vote in larger numbers than men, it really makes you respect their significance. I began to question why minority women voted in far less percentages than their non-minority counterparts. If you look at minority women in leadership roles, in many industries the percentages are significantly lower.

I reflected upon my own parents who came from China. My father was a U.S. Naval officer and served our country for 24 years. Yet I never recalled that he nor my mother ever voted nor encouraged me to vote.  I realized that my own awareness and political conciousness didn’t develop until I attended the University of California in Berkeley and learned about the importance of voting and becoming involved in politics.

As I started to research the reasons why minority women voted in lower percentages, I discovered it’s a very complex problem affected by a huge number of factors. Different racial and ethnic groups face multiple hurdles and issues depending upon factors such as language, education, citizenship, income, etc.  Issues such as: being born in an immigrant family heavily influenced by the homeland cultural values, having parents who came from autocratic, communist or corrupt countries where there were no democratic opportunities to participate and vote, fear and mistrust of the government, language barriers, cultural emphasis on women to not speak up nor “rock the boat” for fear of reprisals, lack of civic duty and responsibility for voting, pressures to obtain a good education and jobs, deterrence from the males to participate in democracy and voting, etc.

As you research the different cultures and races, the issues vary tremendously and are very profound. I feel that the best way to try and understand some of these issues is to conduct interviews and to capture the personal stories of  women who represent these cultures, generations, and families.  Statistics alone cannot reveal the depth of the conflicting issues and pressures that these women face.

As a result, the research project has evolved from a book to a documentary we are producing called:

Engage Her! Getting minority women to vote

The documentary will be released later this Spring to impact the voting cycle of our 2008 elections.

In addition, we are launching this blog to incorporate the use of New Media, social networks and technologies to complement our efforts in sharing our findings. With the changes in generations and people’s adoption of new media to communicate, it’s critical to share and publish our stories in the most popular and prevalent media.  I am inviting a number of different minority women and representatives of organizations to post about relevant topics that influence our decisions about voting and leadership. As we interview women of different ethnic and racial groups, we’ll be posting about their stories, perspectives and including videos of their contributions.   I am fortunate to be co-producing this documentary with a Latina filmmaker, Maria Victoria Ponce .  She is equally excited about capturing the personal stories of minority women regarding their attitudes towards voting & participation. We’ll be asking their opinions of how we can engage themselves, their mothers, daughters and friends into the political and leadership process so can increase our overall representation in the system.

In addition, since we are faced with a unique opportunity for women to vote for the first time in history for either a woman or an African American candidate in one party for President, it will be interesting to see if more women feel compelled to vote based on these unique candidates qualifications. Our interviews will be conducted with women of all ages, races, generations, different political affiliations, etc. to get a broad perspective of the issues we all face.

We’ll also be interviewing people and organizations who have used innovative technology and marketing solutions to engage women both online & offline to involve them in social advocacy. With the New Media and social networks that have rapidly evolved, there is a whole new way of engaging the generation raised with mobile and networked technologies. We plan to invite women to interview their mothers, friends and communities about their opinions and post their videos online to share. We want to explore these stories and to hear their personal voices.  We invite you to join us and hope you will  share your stories so we can all learn from them.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to your comments.   Mable

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