GARDENA — Rafu columnist Guy Aoki will talk about his work as a media advocate fighting for positive media depictions of Asian Americans on Sunday, Feb. 15, at 2 p.m. at Merit Park Recreation Hall, 58 Merit Park Dr., Gardena. All are welcome.

Guy Aoki
Guy Aoki

The program is sponsored by the Great L.A. Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.

Aoki, co-founder of the media watchdog Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) and longtime columnist for The Rafu Shimpo, will speak about the racism he faced in Hawaii and in college, which led to him becoming an activist.

He will remember fighting for redress and lobbying Congress to pass the bill in 1987 and will show a video highlighting MANAA’s work over the years to pressure the media to better portray and cover Asian Americans. The Yonsei will also talk about his experiences working with radio legends Casey Kasem and Dick Clark.

Aoki worked as a Los Angeles Times reporter, researcher and mixing producer for Kasem’s “American Top 40,” and wrote various syndicated radio shows, including “Countdown America with Dick Clark” (named “Best Adult Contemporary Radio Show” by Billboard Magazine in 1991) and “Dick Clark’s U.S. Music Survey.”

In 1992, he co-founded MANAA. The all-volunteer, non-profit organization is the only group solely dedicated to monitoring the mass media and advocating balanced, sensitive, and positive depiction and coverage of Asian Americans.

As part of the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, Aoki meets every year with the presidents and vice presidents of the top four broadcast networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox — pushing them to hire more Asian American actors, writer, producers, and directors.

For information, call Louise (310) 327-3169.

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