In 1968, six young Americans of Asian heritage gathered at a house on Berkeley's Hearst Avenue to discuss how to create a place for themselves in the activism of the day.
It was one of the most politically tumultuous years the United States had seen. The Tet Offensive by the North Vietnamese was eroding public support for the Vietnam War; Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy had been assassinated; and San Jose athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in protest on an Olympic podium.
Vicci Wong of Salinas was a 17-year-old first-year student at UC Berkeley in 1968, and she was searching for a place to contribute to what she saw as "the struggle."
"The peace movement was led by whites," Wong said, "and then I tried to join the Black Panther Party in Oakland, and they told me you can't because you're not black. So they said you should form your own group, and I thought, 'Well, what is my group?' "
Wong found the answer at the meeting held at the home of two PhD students, Emma Gee and Japanese internment survivor, Yuji Ichioka. They'd found her and the others by searching for Asian last names in the rosters of other political groups.