7 years ago, I started an Asian American band called The Slants. Little did I know, it would eventually bring us into the U.S court system to help marginalized communities fight for identity rights.
You might have heard that we've been fighting the US Trademark Office - the story was profiled on NPR
, BBC, on the TEDx stage
, and many others (including OPB's Think Out Loud
). While many have talked about the historic importance of our case
(especially since it was discovered that I was denied the right to register a trademark precisely because of my ethnicity), people haven't really talked about the exponentially growing legal fees. This is a 1st amendment issue
as much as it is one about systemic racism
. No one should be denied rights because of their race.
We decided to fight this case because it's the right thing to do - our community should have the right to define itself. However, it has become more costly at each stage of the process. Thankfully, our legal team has been fighting this pro bono. However, the court filing fees continue to increase.
My attorneys so strongly believe in this cause, they've generously taken this cause on pro bono. However, fightng a this involves many other fees: court fees, research, administrative and filing costs, etc. This is where I need your help.
I've spent over $10,000 on this case so far - money that I will never get back, even if we win this case.
I've taken on 2nd and 3rd jobs as well as done freelance work.
I am asking for you to help invest in this case
. This is an opportunity to change a law that has been disproportionately affecting minorities
for almost 70 years now, primarily small business owners and activists who believe in reclaiming identity. It is a chance to create culturally competent laws
and build equity and justice in a very unjust legal system. Currently, we are one step below the Supreme Court; it is very likely we will advance there.
I hope you will considering helping through a contribution and by sharing this with others. Any amount would be deeply appreciated and help advance this cause.
WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
"In the past, the word slant is considered an outdated term to the band and other community members. The long-held racial slur against Asian Americans is now a source of empowerment and change." - Japanese American Citizens League
"This not disparage Asian American identity, it celebrates it" - Mari Watanabe, Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center/Oregon Commission of Asian Pacific Islander Affairs
"The Slants kick some serious ass" - Phil Yu, Anrgy Asian Man
“We are deeply concern about the government placing limits on people of color and other marginalized groups from expressing their viewpoints. This is a case where a racially charged term is being re-appropriated as a way to fight back against historical oppression. To limit the trademark benefits of such artistic and political expression would marginalize people struggling for tolerance and racial justice.” - Mat dos Santos, Legal Director, ACLU of Oregon