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Beyond the Couch Ep 26: Lessons from Asian American Activists Michael Liu & Pam Tau Lee

This week, Diana chats with lifelong activists Pam Tau Lee and Michael Liu about their early experiences organizing within Asian communities starting in the 1960s. They discuss the importance of relationships and collective care in their work, and reflect upon the evolution of activism over the decades, and offer wisdom for young organizers today.

Pam Tau Lee is an Asian radical elder whose working-class and San Francisco Chinatown roots led her to a lifelong journey dedicated to environmental justice. She is a cofounder of the Chinese Progressive Association-SF, Bay Area Asians for Nuclear Disarmament, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Just Transition Alliance, and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-US, and a contributor to the Principles of Environmental Justice. In her nearly 5 decades of organizing and mentorship, she strives to uplift an ideology of radical love and resistance grounded in the practice of All Power to the People, Serve the People, internationalism, and women whose presence has taught her to act with generosity and courage. Connect with Pam at or on Instagram @pamtaulee4081.

Michael Liu is a native of Boston Chinatown and was active in numerous local anti-development, anti-war and electoral campaigns and a founding member of numerous community social justice groups including the Chinese Progressive Association Boston, Asian American Resource Workshop, and the Boston Rainbow Coalition. He later worked as a researcher for two decades at the Institute for Asian American Studies at UMass, Boston. He co-authored an interpretive history of Asian American organizing, The Snake Dance of Asian American Activism, and recently authored the first book-length history of Boston Chinatown, Forever Struggle. Connect with Michael at

Listen to a sneak peek below, and find the full episodes on Apple PodcastsSpotify, Google Podcasts & more!