Welcome to the Serve the People Institute!
In the mid- to late 1960s social justice movements began in different parts of the United States. They were a continuation of a broader movement for social justice, social consciousness and social change took root in the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) communities nationwide.
Two slogans emerged out of those movements that symbolized the times. “Power to the People” represented the political and populist passions of the movements. “Serve the People”, a saying coined by Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong) and popularized by the Black Panther Party, represented the organizing activities of these social justice movements. Addressing people’s needs, organizing service programs to empower and working with the disenfranchised, forgotten and oppressed in the community, propelled the work of many during those times.
Such were the cornerstones for the growing and dynamic Asian American and Pacific Islander Movement in the 60s, 70s and early 80’s in the greater Los Angeles area. Also, this was the genesis for many of the service, education, cultural and political organizations that exist today.
A recent organizing initiative driven by the belief that what you learn from the past can help shape the present and future is the basis for the Serve the People Institute (SPI). SPI endeavors to document, preserve and share the information about the political issues, organizations, projects and programs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
The SPI Inaugural Event on May 2, 2014 was a “shout out” to those who may be interested in helping with and contributing to this effort. We will be organizing many other programs that share the experiences and lessons learned from “back in the day.” But most importantly we are asking folks to inventory and preserve their materials, reflections and thoughts about the movement so they can be shared with those who may be interested today and tomorrow.
Power to the people and serve the people!
WARREN T. FURUTANI
Director, Serve the People Institute