Advance Notice: Briefs

Michigan AAPI leader says ‘racist’ mailer is a ‘desperate attempt to deceive our families’ 

By: - November 4, 2022 12:39 pm

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller (C) listens during a roundtable discussion on border security and safe communities with State, local, and community leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on January 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rising Voices, a nonprofit coalition of grassroots community organizations that works to mobilize Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters, said on Thursday that Asian-American households across the have been receiving “deceitful, racist, hateful mailers” aimed at suppressing voter turnout. 

Rising Voices provided this mailing sent by the American First Legal Foundation, the right-wing organization founded by Stephen Miller

The right-wing ads, which have popped up across the country, attack President Joe Biden and “left-wing officials” of racially discriminating against white people and Asian Americans. Snippets are included of news stories from primarily right-wing media, including Fox News, the Daily Wire and the Washington Free Beacon. The back panel includes a fictional job posting emblazoned with the words, “Whites and Asians Need Not Apply.”

The mailings were sent by the American First Legal Foundation, a right-wing organization founded by Stephen Miller, a former Trump administration senior official who was influential in crafting anti-immigrant policies. 

“Miller has a long history with peddling racist hate and division and was the architect behind the Trump Administration’s family separation program, which led to the widespread images of kids in cages that shocked the nation,” Rising Voices said through a press release.  

Jungsoo Ahn, Rising Voices executive director, said, “We don’t have time for games.”

“The mailer is a desperate attempt to deceive our families by playing into pernicious stereotypes, lies and anti-Black racism meant to divide and conquer our communities,” Ahn said. “It’s clear our numbers are a threat to racist extremists like Miller and his associates who recognize the growing power of Asian Americans who repudiate the kind of divisive and hateful rhetoric they are trying to sell.”

Michigan residents have been able to vote absentee since Sept. 29. Election Day is Tuesday. 

“Asian Americans resoundingly rejected such rhetoric in the 2020 elections and will continue to do so this election cycle,” Ahn said. “Our community continues to suffer from anti-Asian rhetoric and violence perpetuated by Miller and his associates and is part of the larger system of white supremacy that impacts Black and Brown communities. Attempts to divide us will not succeed. We stand in solidarity with our partners.”

Mailers also have been received in Arizona, Virginia, California, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas over the past week. Digital and radio advertisements against transgender kids have also popped up across the country, targeting Black and Spanish-speaking voters, NPR reports. 

Rising Voices canvassing in Macomb County | Courtesy photo

The American First Legal Foundation did not respond to the Advance’s request for comment. 

In 2019, four Michigan Democratic lawmakers are among the U.S. House members who took the lead in drafting an open letter to President Donald Trump, calling on him to “immediately remove” Miller from his administration following the release of damning evidence that the senior advisor is “an avid white nationalist.”

“Stephen Miller is a white supremacist, period,” said U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) stated at that time. “We didn’t need these sickening emails to tell us this and now that they’ve come to light, he should be fired immediately. Neither him nor ideals steeped in white supremacy should have a role in our government.”

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.