Asian-American activist newspaper from the 70s back in print in LA
When a group of UCLA students met in 1969 with an idea to initiate a publication that would address issues facing the Asian American community, even the term ‘Asian-American’ was considered revolutionary. It had only just entered the lexicon, thanks to UCLA professor Yuji Ichioka, who had proposed the term as a way of collectively identifying what was described as an ‘inter-ethnic-pan-Asian self-defining political group’ and as an alternative for the offensive term that was commonly used at the time ‘Oriental’.
The students were inspired by other activist movements, particularly the black student movements of the ’60s and the Third World Liberation Front strike that took place at San Francisco State University in 1968, and were eager to advocate for their own community. The publication they created, Gidra –taking its name from the Godzilla movie dragon Kingu Gidora – was in print for the next five years and discontinued. On the 45th anniversary of Gidra‘s last issue, a small group of Asian American activists of diverse ages and backgrounds–from current college students to one of the early Gidra contributors–gathered at a restaurant in the same South LA neighborhood where the original publication had its offices, and hatched a plan to bring the publication back to life. Recently the first issue of the new Gidra made its debut.