T E A TH HE AS S II A AN N A AM ME ER R II C CA AN N A TS S Z AR RT Z II N NE E
Cover Art by Michelle Cao “This was primarily inspired by the wonder I felt when I first watched The Farewell , a film which I felt faithfully portrayed my experiences as an Asian American. It was like a breath of fresh, homey air to see a heartfelt rendition of strong family dynamics, Eastern/Western generational differences, as well as seeing people who like me given agency and narrative. Further, as someone studying film and arts, I wanted to give a shout out ot my fellow Asian filmmakers and artists. I know it’s hard, and sometimes when you’re still up at 3 am pouring over a script for what feels like the 100th time you really wonder if it’s worth it. You’re doing something amazing , and even if you don’t know it, I’m sure there’s someone out there who thinks so,too.”
“We’re not all the same, but we all have a story...Immigrant stories are the stories of dreams, of love, of sacrifice, of courage, of honor. They are what truly make America great.” -Constance Wu (2018)
FEATURES Carrying on Her Motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Story
Fixing the Problem with Apu -1-
An Interview with Kathleen Burkinshaw
The Small Things Matter Too An Interview with Zo Fan
- 49 -
Way Down Hadestown
An Interview with Cherie B. Tay
- 56 -
Interviews with #HateIsAVirus #RacismISAVirus #IAmNotAVirus, & #WashTheHate
- 39 -
Film Spotlight: The Influencer - 62 -
WRITING & ART
Looking Like A Snack
Claire Nichols - 13 -
To All The Roommates I Had Before
A Miyako M - 19 -
Alice Tsui - 21 -
Katherine Leung - 29 -
From Here to There
Trang Le - 35 -
Reniel Del Rosario - 45 -
ph.am - 54 -
Tiff Rex Rei - 58 -
- 15 -
- 32 -
- 37 -
Flight Casey Chen
- 53 -
- 47 -
Altar Series (Ongoing)
- 63 -
- 66 -
What does representation mean to you? Is it simply seeing yourself on screen? No. For all of us in marginalized communities, representation is so much more. Representation is validation. Representation is reprieve. Representation is everything. That much is clear, but it also means so much more to each individual. In creating this zine, I set out to answer that question, and the answers have ranged far more than I could have imagined. Representation means everything from a method of understanding the “other” to breaking the expectations of what we are allowed to do. Above all, it is an affirmation that we belong. No matter where or who we are, we belong.
In these pages you’ll find all types of art. The writing includes some interviews with amazing artists, as well as personal accounts and imaginative narratives. The art spans from comics to ceramics. And we even had a chance to spotlight an Asian-directed film! I know that at least one, if not many, of the experiences expressed in this zine will speak to you.
I’d like to take this time to clear up any misnomers about the name. Although it is called The Asian American Arts Zine, the narratives written and visualized here apply across the whole Asian diaspora. Getting to interview director Zo Fan (who lives in France) made me aware that the Asian community faces
similar struggles everywhere we aren’t the majority. So hopefully, no matter if you live in America or Albania, you’ll find something here that resonates.
The zine has quite a history in the Asian American community. Some of the first were started by students during the Civil Rights Movement. They began it out of a need to see people like themselves, at a time when the mere existence of an Asian community was not considered. Gidra addressed a critical need in the community then, by amplifying the voice of Asian American youth. I feel that this zine, and the countless other magazines, websites, pieces of art, and more, published around the world to amplify the Asian voice, are doing the same. Fighting for representation, whether it be in the form of a vote or a tv character, is vital. Our work is just beginning, and the only way it gets even close to ending is through you. You are the ones who will write stories about your own. You are the ones that will show what hasn’t been shown. You are the vehicle of representation. I hope that the impact of what’s contained here, submitted by people just like you, will give you the push to create for yourself. We must create because we must be seen. We must be represented. Now, go forth and enjoy what’s in store.
Best, Suraj Singareddy
Fixing the Problem with Apu
Hollywood is Finally on the Path to Getting Representation Right
There’s a moment right at the beginning of Never Have I Ever, the new Netflix series, where Devi (the 15-year old protagonist) sits down in front of her home’s shrine (think of it like a household church altar, but for Hindus) and addresses the gods “Hey, gods… what’s a-poppin’?”. That’s right before praying to be invited to “a party with alcohol and hard drugs,” for her “arm hair to thin out,” and for a boyfriend who’s a stone-cold hottie.” Afterwards, I promptly posted online how I was glad I wasn’t the only one praying this casually, only to receive a reply saying “I guess I’ve been praying wrong this entire time *laughing emoji*.” Although at first I was hurt by the reply because I felt it invalidated my experience, I slowly realized that feeling was due to the mentality that being Indian could only mean one thing.
However, the vast variety of experiences encompassed in one culture are all valid. This is precisely what good representation should affirm, and it’s what NHIE does best. It is impossible to represent everyone through just one person. However, NHIE’s three main South Asian characters, and the interactions between them, make it possible to show a range of Indian-American experiences, therefore letting that many more people know their experiences are valid. They managed to keep the authenticity without reverting to stereotypes (no doubt due to the show’s creator, Mindy Kaling). NHIE is far from perfect, its portrayal of disability and use of actors faking accents have been criticized by viewers, but the type of representation it features is a definite step in the right direction.
We’re increasingly seeing this type of representation in shows like the recent Hollywood, which portrays the tension between Asian-Americans who pass for white, and those who don’t have the privilege to. Not to mention one of the trailblazers in this area, Fresh Off the Boat, which showed the Chinese-American experience across three generations and recent movies like Crazy Rich Asians and The Farewell. It seems like the media is finally getting representation right. Although we might like to believe it’s all due to entertainment executives becoming more socially conscious, that’s probably not the case. The rise in better representation is most likely due to profit, as most things are. Fresh Off the Boat was the second most watched new comedy in 2015. Crazy Rich Asians made over $33 million in the box office just in its opening weekend, with only a $30 million budget. NHIE was the most viewed series in 10 countries after its premiere. Organizations like Gold House even
buy out whole movie theaters to support representation in the media. On the flip side, viewers, the people who control the profit made, have used social media backlash to deter anyone who dared to tread near an inauthentic accent. It’s unfortunate that the amount of diverse, representational programming is controlled by projected revenue, because the comparative lack of pressure on more familiar projects, to be financially successful, means that they are still the default. However, hopefully with time, executives will realize that diverse programming doesn’t constitute a larger financial risk. If the show is good, people will tune in regardless of whether the family says amen or recites sanskrit prayers.
Illustrations by Danielle Zheng
Katie Quan Generasian
“hail mary” lord, may you give me the loyalty of lane kim
the confience of claudia kishi
and the bravery of margaret cho
uhhmmm... are we praying to the same god? how did gilmore girls get into our prayer?
who are these people? amen!
“‘Hail Mary’ highlights ‘90s to early 2000 characters and personalities of Lane Kim (Gilmore Girls), Claudia Kishi (The Babysitters Club), and Margaret Cho (All American Girl). It is from contributions of trailblazing Asian American actresses that we now have a much more coherent (and ever so improving) stream of narratives reflective of our communities.”
Looking Like A Snack “As an Asian American creative, I love to design tangible experiences that tell stories unique to my communities. I’ve always been interested in cultivating nostalgia, and many of our most precious childhood memories are grounded in food. This project is a celebration of the dynamic Asian culinary patchwork and how shared nostalgia
can connect a diaspora.”
Emily Lin 4
Carrying On Her Mother’s Story An Interview with Kathleen Burkinshaw: Author of The Last Cherry Blossom Even though it’s already been out for 4 years, I’m sure some people still haven’t read it. Could you tell us what The Last Cherry Blossom is about? It is about a young girl growing up in Hiroshima during World War Two, and her daily life, as well as a family secret that kind of comes to light right before the atomic bomb is dropped. Then she has to find a way to move forward with her life, and it’s all based on events in my own mother’s life. She was 12 and a half when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
What was the research process like while writing?
It was interesting because some of the parts that I wanted to find to supplement interviewing my mom, and to find out what everyday life was like in Japan during World War Two, was difficult [to find] because I don’t read Japanese. I have to look
for everything in English; and it was hard to kind of find these in circulation to use. EBay was actually my friend because I was able to find some books that libraries had weeded out, that actually talked about daily life during World War Two in Japan. The events of August 6 itself is taken from what actually happened to [my mother] that day. I then tried to see how other people were affected by the atomic bombing by reading some other sources as well. So I wanted to try to combine as much as I could, in order to give a better idea of what daily life was really like, over there, because I thought we never learned about that here. Basically, it’s just the two paragraphs in a history book that sums it up saying that, you know, they dropped the bomb and the war ended, and [The Last Cherry Blossom] doesn’t tie that nicely in a bowl like that. There’s so much more to it than that. So I was hoping that my book kind of shows that other side of humanity.
Growing up, was your Japanese heritage a big part of your life and your family? It was half and half, so to speak. My mom came to the states in 1959, after she had married my dad. She met him in Tokyo. He was serving in the Air Force, they married at the US Embassy in Tokyo; then, he was done with his time there and they came to the states. When she arrived, she was kind of surprised that there was still so much prejudice against the Japanese. Some [people] from even within my dad’s own family were upset that he married someone Japanese. I think that from that, she decided that she was going to learn more English and become a citizen of the US. So she did that within the first five years and tried to set up more of an Americanized, is what she called it, household when I was born. She didn’t want me to go through a lot of what she went through.
She would tell me Japanese stories, she would sing songs in Japanese to me, but she never taught me the language. She felt it would be easier if I just learned English. She regretted it later, but at the time she hoped that maybe that way it would make me look less Japanese.
Unfortunately, well, fortunately I guess, I looked very Asian when I was in school. I was one of the very few Asians in our elementary school. So after all the hard work she thought she did, I still got picked on. I still got racial slurs that I didn’t understand, you know, to go back to your own country. I never understood that because I was like, well, this is where I’m from. From that point on it was really difficult. I didn’t really start getting into my Japanese culture until I was probably in high school and then a little bit more in college. Then when I had my own daughter, I wanted to make it so that she would have that Japanese culture with her as well.
Did you find yourself reconnecting to your culture while you were writing your novel?
Very much so. I think my mom didn’t talk about a lot of certain things. So, being able to discuss with her parts of her childhood, parts of the culture that she valued, and parts that she missed, when she came to the states, led me to realize how interesting the Japanese culture was. Part of it too is I had finally come to realize that you can be your Japanese side, you can be your American side,
and neither one takes away from the other. You’re able to have both coexist, and that was really an eye opener for me. That really didn’t happen until I started writing the book, which was about when my daughter was in seventh grade. So that was probably about 10 years ago now. That’s when everything kind of came up, when I talked to my mom more. Prior to that, my mom never said she was from Hiroshima to people. I think it started because when she came to the states with everything, she just didn’t want to bring any spotlight on her. She always said she was from Tokyo, because that’s where she met my father. So, growing up, she always said she was from Tokyo. I didn’t know she was from Hiroshima until I was about nine. The only reason I think she told me was because at the beginning of August she had these horrible nightmares that she’d wake up screaming from. Then I remembered she had it the year before. I think I pestered her enough, and that’s when she finally told me that she was actually born in Hiroshima. She lost her home in her family on August 6, to the atomic bomb, and
she said she couldn’t tell me anything more. It was still very painful for her, and then she would tell me don’t tell anyone. So I didn’t say anything.
The John Hersey book was the first time that I found out about what she may have been through. I remember going to her. I was crying because I couldn’t believe that, you know, something like this, she must witness somehow. She said “I did, but please don’t tell your teacher. I don’t want to go in and talk about it. I just can’t do it.” So from that point on, it wasn’t until I was around 30 when she really started sharing more of her culture, the happy stories, and what actually happened on August 6.
The main reason I think this happened was because I had been very ill. I was in the hospital for over a month, and when I came home, I had trouble taking care of myself. My daughter was four then, and my husband was working during the day so my parents would come [to visit]. I think she started telling me more stories because we actually had more quality time together. Because of my illness and the way it came on, so suddenly and what I was losing from that, I was kind of sinking into a depression. She wanted to start telling me
these stories of what she went through to show that, you know... she said to me “I thought I couldn’t do anything after that, but I was able to somehow find strength to do so. I’m so glad I fought to survive, because you wouldn’t be here.” She said to me that I had the same Samurai blood in me, and I can fight through the pain of what I’m dealing with. I can fight to find a different way of considering what I was; because I was in the healthcare field as an executive, and I couldn’t do that anymore. So she was trying to give me the strength to know that you can move forward.
It was interesting because when she first was telling me [about her childhood], I was thinking I was giving her an outlet. Little did I know that her reason for doing that was to help me, and I guess that shows the way a mom is. I think that even when she diverts part of her past, she didn’t tell anyone. She was really giving me the gift of knowing what she went through, of knowing how she found strength to keep going, and then the [ability] to use that. I think that is probably why as my
daughter grew up, I wanted her to know more about Japan. [My] mom still didn’t teach her very many Japanese words. She never told me why she didn’t do that, but she would tell my daughter a lot of stories about Japan. Later on my daughter actually minor-ed in Japanese, so she’ll be the one that can do that. It was very hard for her to talk about. She was very private, and it was a very difficult time to hear her be so upset when she described what happened. So, getting to know that piece of her was also very special for me, too.
Did you ever face any obstacles in getting a story about a culture different from our own, and about a different perspective on World War 2, published?
Yes, I think part of it was difficult. I started submitting before I actually had my agent. Some didn’t want to deal with that aspect of World War Two.
“I still got racial slurs that I didn’t understand, you know, to go back to your own country. I never understood that because I was like, well, this is where I’m from.”
I’m guessing that part of it was because the United States was the one that dropped the bomb, but my book wasn’t about who did it. It is about what happened. So when I started to [write] letters to submit [TLCB], I kind of changed how I described what it was because I wanted to take out the [politics] . So when we finally got a contract with the publisher, one of the things that came back was how much I [was] going to tell about what happened that day. At first, there was some pushback because it being middle grade and the descriptions of what my mom saw -- and my biggest thing was I wanted to show respect to what they saw and lived through. I didn’t want to water it down. We finally were able to come to a way of how I could say it to keep it true to the story. I think also with some aspects of the Japanese culture, and especially the way that their language is spoken, there’s a lot of formality to it. I also wanted to show some of that because I wanted to show that yes, it was different. Then they were worried that maybe it’ll be too stilted. Maybe if you put in too many Japanese words, it might be too confusing.
We finally were able to work it out [when] I finally had an editor. She really understood what I was trying to do. That helped a lot because some other publishers wanted me to [start] from the day the bomb dropped, and move it forward. To me, that’s not the story that really needed to be told. I think that it was just very difficult for some editors to look at, and I think part of it was there was nothing really out there like that. Maybe they felt it was too quiet, that it wouldn’t be looked at, or that it might not be a subject of interest, which was kind of sad to hear. But when you found the right one, it was kind of a back and forth. We finally were able to get something where they could embrace the Japanese culture, without being overwhelmed by it. At the same time [doing that in a way to] capture a lot of people’s interest, whether they were Japanese or not Japanese. I’ve been very lucky that I had someone who could work with me for that in the final piece.
If there’s one thing that you want readers to take away from your novel, or one thing that you think is important right now, what do you think that would be?
First, I would hope that they would understand that the children in Japan, like my mom, were very scared of what could happen to their home and their families during the war. They saw people from the neighborhoods that were sent off to war... that didn’t come back. You know, they worried about what would happen to their friends, and they all wished for peace. I really wanted to show that [it] was all the same stuff that the Allied children were going through. Today, I think it’s so important because I feel that unless we humanize people and look at them and realize that we all share a common need for connection [we won’t realize] that the ones that we might think of as our you know “enemy” are not really so different from ourselves. If we don’t take the time to notice that, then we’re in danger of repeating the same deadly mistakes over and over again. I think even in today’s environment... It saddens me and angers me to see what’s happening to Asian Americans because of COVID19. So I really feel that my book’s message is that we all share the same heart. I think a lot of the times what I would hear was that the Japanese, you know, they bombed Pearl Harbor so fair is fair. I’m like, that’s not
what this is about. I think yes, you can talk about all the lives that were lost on the US side, but they’re separate stories. That doesn’t mean that one [story] negates the other, or that the other person deserved it. The book that started when my daughter was in seventh grade, and they were talking about the end of World War Two. They had the mushroom cloud picture, and she remembered some kids talking about how cool that looked. She came home, and she was very, very upset. She said “can you talk to them about who was under those clouds, like grandma?” That’s really what started it all, it was to show them that the people that were under there were all somebody’s parents or someone’s child like my mom. They were all just trying to live their daily life. It happened to people, not just the enemy. It’s still something that’s so needed today, in light of everything, and that’s what I really hope might be something that someone could take away
Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about? Sure, right now I am working on the sequel, which takes place about five
years later. My mom is now in Tokyo with a new family member and trying to deal with PTSD, which wasn’t named at that time. They didn’t know what that was, but she was going through a lot of that. She was trying to figure out who she accepts or lets into her heart again, because she feared having them leave her again. She also had a lot of guilt for surviving when she lost most of her family members. I’m doing some research into doing a book based on Japanese Peruvians, who were taken from Peru and put on a ship to be an exchange for American citizens in Japan. Then they were later taken to Crystal Lake, the Japanese internment. So, those are a couple of things I’m working on.
Those sound so exciting! Thank you so much Kathleen. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.
“Unless we humanize people and realize that we all share a common need for connection, then we’re in danger of repeating the same deadly mistakes over and over again.” 12
Claire Nichols â&#x20AC;&#x153;This work is a demonstration of the representation of Asian American bodies in popular media with visual references to exoticization of Asian American women, desexualization of Asian American men, the model minority, and orientalism.â&#x20AC;?
To All The Roommates I Had Before
Trigger Warning: This story contains mention of s**cide and s*xual ass**lt
In college, I had a lot of roommates. But my senior year, I ended up with not one but four. In October 2018, I was hospitalized for 3 weeks, diagnosed with an episode of psychosis, a condition that is characterized by a disconnect from reality. I had no contact with the outside world and a lot of time to reflect. I ended up there because I had been struggling with untreated depression and anxiety, the difficulties of dealing with Asian culture and their denial of mental health issues, and the &quot;liberal&quot; prescribing of pharmaceuticals by my school doctor in Hong Kong. It all came crashing down.
Every patient begins in Room 1: the suicide watch room; there were four rooms total. As the patients improved, they moved through the rooms as if on a sushi conveyor belt. They joked that they could never get out—they would just keep rotating around and around.
I met my first roommate, Charity at lunchtime, when she slid into the seat across from me, and politely asked if she could join. She then closed her eyes in prayer. “I planned my suicide” she explained, “Sent an email to my boss saying goodbye and everything. You’re on Risperdal, right? It’ll make the fear go away. There’s too much dopamine firing off in your central nervous system.” I was shocked. “How do you know all this”
She said, “Oh, dear! It’s because of my job. I’m a psychiatrist…sh! Don’t tell anybody!” Charity had bipolar disorder. Despite being a doctor, she lamented that her parents, yes...they were Asian, only saw her as second best to her brothers . She became the patients’ in-house counselor. In my years of going to therapy, she was the best talk therapist I ever had. To Charity: thank you for being such a great friend and mentor when I needed it most. I hope that you know you are so much more than what your parents believe you to be. You are an amazing doctor and deserve the love you offer to others.
A few days later, when I could move about myself, I was promoted to Room 2. A teenager full of ambition, my new roommate, Abigail, lit up the room like a star. She was, however…bald. “Why are you here?” She interrogated. I sidestepped. “I’m not sure, can’t remember. What about you?”
“I was molested as a kid. My ex-boyfriend found out and said some really nasty things to me. Called me ‘dirty’ and a ‘slut’. He triggered me and so I shaved my head.” That was some Brittany Spears level shit. Like me, Abigail was clinically depressed. Yet she loved to get meta. I joked that she was born in the wrong generation. It was as if Confucious was trapped in a teenager’s body. Her depression gave a dark, intense tone to her ruminations. I wanted to be there for her, but I just didn&#39;t know how. Then it occurred to me, maybe, I could pray for her. I’d never done that for anyone before. So I asked... “Hey, can I pray for you?” “No! That’s weird.”
I prayed anyway. At the time, I didn’t believe there was a God. If God loved us so much, why would he put people like me, Charity, and Abigail through all this. But if He did exist, I hoped he would hear me. Abigail ended up in the ER again three weeks after her discharge, an apparent overdose, blood running down her wrists and no memory of how she got there. To Abigail: I still pray for you. I learned so much from your passion for life, your hunger and thirst for knowledge. Despite this depression that wants to consume you, please never let go.
I was referred to occupational therapy as I was paraded into Room 3. There, I met Grace*. Her eyes were glassed over as she stared blankly across the room, her face was as pale as paper, and she had a medication induced rock that made her silently sway back and forth. I was terrified. Grace had schizophrenia. A third culture kid like myself, her ability to fluently transition between those cultures was her greatest talent, but also her greatest vice — the torment of knowing all but not identifying with any. I soon learned, that Grace had a heart as big as the moon. We met when I burst into a fit of nervous tears from the side effects of my medication. She immediately attempted to comfort me, “T-t-t-his is the h-h-hospital. D-d-on’t be a-a-afraid,” as she rocked back and forth.
Grace was the only other native English speaker in the ward. Though she was a self-proclaimed “bad Christian”, she taught me how to read the Bible. She was so happy for me as I got better, but yearned for her own magic pill while never doubting God’s existence. Through Grace, I strengthened my own faith.
To Grace: “Do not be afraid. The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
In Room 4, I became closest to the person that mattered most in my recovery: myself. I began to paint a blossoming Mandela flower. A blue petal today: every person’s path looks different. A yellow petal tomorrow: progress is never linear. A black petal the day after: even the bad days count. It’s been eight months since I left Room 4 and my four roommates.
To Charity, Abigail, Grace, and me: without having met all of you I would still be in that hospital swallowing pills. Each of you was a friend, a mentor, a healer and a teacher. Each of you was what I needed to re-discover myself. I carry each of you in my heart every day. I can now face the world and all that I am.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;I can now face the world and all that I am.â&#x20AC;?
A Miyako M
Left to right:
Barista Shiba Sakurako,
Page of Swords (Sparrow)
Right to Left: Queen of Wands The Botan Tarot (The Tower)
“Yellow Peril.” “The Wuhan Virus.” “The Chinese Virus.” “Chink.” “Cough into your elbow.” (Comes closer) “I SAID COUGH INTO YOUR ELBOW!” (Repeats multiple times in a train between stations, so I cannot get out).
“Get away from me.” - What people have directly said to me
COVID-19 is most definitely changing my experience as an Asian American. When I first wrote about the coronavirus “back in February” (so... just a month ago), I had no expectation that my life would be where it is today. (Did anyone though?) What I shared on video with USAToday had a greater impact than I thought it would - for better, for worse, for everything in between.
Starting in March and as COVID-19 started to escalate in the United States, my commute to work started to feel awkward and uncomfortable. People would move away from me, and glare at me. They didn’t need to say anything racist; I felt the racism with their eyes. “Are you sick? Are you a carrier of the coronavirus?” These were the questions that their eyes tried to pierce at me. In Asian culture, it is a proactive measure to wear masks, but for so long in American culture, masks had an association of being negative, and perhaps still does, of automatically labeling someone as sick. Maskophobia is real, and I struggled for weeks in my decision to wear a mask or not. Did wearing a mask mark me as a target of racist attacks? Did NOT wearing a mask make me susceptible to violence? To mask or not mask, there was no clear answer. There is still no clear answer. I only started wearing a mask this past week, and I always walk quickly, shifting my gaze downwards to avoid being a victim of a hate crime
As a result of sharing my thoughts online, I started getting so many messages from people I have met in my life, and from countless strangers as well. I am grateful to have so much support, but the hate continued to spew as well: “Forget racism. I am so sick of people turning everything happening to racism.” - A white person. “Welcome to the freaking club. Here, make yourself right at home.” - A person of color. I unfortunately expected it from white people. The rhetoric was nothing new. But it has been incredibly hurtful from people of color.
Here I had subscribed to the media channel where Asian people have truly “made progress”, having finally been highlighted with “Parasite” winning the Oscars, and movies like “The Farewell” changing the landscape of what it meant to be Asian American - for the non-Asian American. But these accolades and the continuation of the model minority myth (which has its own harmful effects) were quickly shoved aside by the endless headlines of the “Asian virus”, and not the “New York” virus. This isn’t my first encounter with being called “chink”, or “dirty”, or “smelly”, or being told that “Chinese people are disgusting.” How do I even respond to, “welcome to my world”, when I’ve suffered from racism since I was a child? What is the proper response for “welcome to the freaking club”, from another person of color? How dare I think that the racist tropes of Chinese people, of Asian people, could not possibly make such an overwhelming comeback in my lifetime.
One comment I have been severely criticized for was,
“Yes, I am Asian, Yes, I am Chinese, and I’m really proud of that.”
I didn’t realize that by saying that I would be interpreted as supporting the Chinese government and communism (which, to be clear, I do not). After all, I just wanted to express that I was proud of my Chinese culture, and where my parents came from. Lo and behold, tons of Chinese people verbally fought each other online on this one statement alone, either denouncing the Chinese government and the evils of communism or standing by the Chinese response to this outbreak. People interpreted “I am proud to be Chinese” as a political statement. I hated that what I said polarized and divided people. It kills me that this one statement is as divisive as saying “I am proud to be American” today. What are the “United” States anyway? I also received so many messages about how sorry people were that I had to experience this with my students. Racism is learned behavior, and NO CHILD IS BORN RACIST. My intention was never to create a pity party, and especially not one that would further marginalize my predominantly African American, Caribbean American, and LatinX students.
How can I talk about racism without igniting further racism or marginalization? Explaining to every person that my students were not at fault, but were reinforcing learned racial stereotypes was exhausting. Yet, I continued trying to extinguish fires of misunderstanding. Did I end up actually putting out the fires, or did I simply fan the flames? Did I inadvertently pour more gasoline on the fire that seemingly divides people of color? I felt my racial fatigue continue to burden me, with no sign of an end in sight.
I can’t stop thinking about the Asian American youth. As a born and bred New Yorker, and product of the public school system, I am so disheartened when I read about the experience of Asian American children and teenagers. Katherine Oung, a Chinese-American teenager in Florida shared this experience,
“Not only do we have to be afraid about our health. But we have to be afraid about being ourselves. Class basically just started. One of the girls said all Chinese people were disgusting. And so I literally like raised my hand up and was like “I’m Chinese.” She didn’t even say sorry. She didn’t.” (Katherine Oung, New York Times).
When NYC schools were still open, Stuyvesant High School teachers penned a letter pleading for the closure of schools, citing that
“Compounding [students’] terror is the racism many of our Asian and South Asian students are experiencing as they commute to school. Not only is this a viral epidemic, it is a threat to our global mental health.” (New York Teachers, New York Times)
I went to Brooklyn Tech, another public specialized high school in NYC with thousands of students. How would 14-year-old me respond to exacerbated comments on my Chineseness and my Asianness - in AND out of school? If I am experiencing extreme discomfort as an adult, what are the almost 200,000 Asian kids in our public school system feeling? It’s horrific to imagine and I want to do something, but I don’t really know what to do. Are they voiceless, and if so, how can I help speak up for them? How do I empower them to #washthehate? What long-term effects in mental health can I possibly help in combatting on their behalf? The feeling of helplessness as an Asian American educator is paralyzing.
I may be scared for myself, but I am truly terrified for my parents - on so many levels. My parents are senior citizens who enjoy walking outside. One of the reasons my dad immigrated to America was for cleaner air. My dad has severe asthma, and has experienced near-fatal asthma attacks a number of times in his life. I tell my parents constantly to stay home (as if I’m the parent now ha), and I’m scared that the airborne spread will infect them if they are not careful.
I am merely scared for the actual spread of the virus, but I am beyond terrified of my parents potentially being on the receiving end of a violent, racist attack. With over 650 racist acts over the last week (and those are only counting reported incidences), many of them against elderly Asian people, I can’t help but live in terror for my parents. Will they make it back from grocery shopping safe, alive, breathing, and unharmed? Will they come back from their walk commenting on the trees they saw blooming, or having been spat at by others? Will my parents have to die from the air they sought to breathe here or from the hate that we label as “freedom of speech”? HATE is a virus that is spreading quicker than COVID-19, and I constantly wonder if my parents have already been victims, but just haven’t told me.
“My mom wishes I would just stay quiet. But I can’t. And I won’t.”
My mom saw the video where I shared my experiences, and hasn’t talked to me about it. Through my brother, I found out that she wished I hadn’t said anything. She fears for my safety, and is afraid it marked me as a target. A few days ago, I received these posts on my personal Facebook wall:
“Just saw your video how you were like I am proud to be a Chinese well then fuck you because you guys have put everyone in danger if you love your country so much ask them to be hygienic stop eat ing bats snakes rats because it’s easy to say you love your country but stand up for what is right or wrong and I f****** hate china and Chinese people.” “I am against racism but then you guys are just acting like nothing happened look at the world around you and your country did this.”
I literally felt frozen, and unable to physically move. My mind went completely blank. This personal attack cut me, even though I tend to pride myself as someone who doesn’t mind the thoughts of others.
My friends reported both comments as hate speech (fun fact: I am not able to do that even though it is my personal Facebook). The first one was removed. The second one wasn’t, and still lives on my Facebook wall. I guess microaggressions aren’t considered “hate speech enough”. People apologized to me for having to experience this. “That guy is stupid and doesn’t know what he is talking about!” Oh, by the way, the person who wrote that is a woman of color.
When people ask me “How are you?” I’m truly uncertain how to respond. Do I say yes to make you feel better? Do I say yes to mask my incoherent mind and thoughts? Do I say yes and wear an actual physical mask? Or do I say no and make you privy to all that I am thinking and feeling? Does saying no make you feel sorry for me? Does saying no make you feel pessimistic instead of wanting to be optimistic in this time? Does saying no make me selfish? How am I?
I am incoherent. I am still uncertain if I should wear a mask or not, even though I have currently decided that I should. I am apprehensive of writing, recording, and sharing my thoughts because I do not want to further divide people, or add fuel to the racism that exists. I am wary of everyone around me because of my Chinese face. I am nervous for our Asian American youth. I am terrified for my parents’ lives. For all Asians and Asian Americans’ lives. I am worried for my own students in this time, who are facing an extreme number of inequities - if the inequities can even be counted. I am skeptical of the media’s portrayal of COVID-19 for likes, subscribes, and follows, and not for spreading TRUTH. I am uncertain if my friends who are healthcare workers will survive. I am alarmed by people who continue to commit sinophobic acts of prejudice - verbal, physical, violent, all of the acts. I am afraid that people will stop caring about violence against Asian Americans, and Asians around the world. I am America’s unwanted daughter. Raised here, I live and breathe my freedom of speech, but it is undesired, unwanted, and HATED. I am hated. My mom wishes I would just stay quiet. But I can’t. And I won’t.
Trauma Informed Body
Katherine Leung â&#x20AC;&#x153;The artist was born in Tucson, Arizona desert, home of cacti and unique sunsets. The ethereal image of her parents baptized alongside one another was one of her first memories. A blissfully devout upbringing characterized her childhood, creating space for exploration of other faiths as an adult. Faith in the dominant narrative is about sacrifice, purity and discipline. Faith in the lesser known context commands one to achieve those ideals through self-study. The artist explores this idea in her paintings. Much of the imagery in the artwork is inspired by Mexican Catholic art, but the colors are reminiscent of the Tucson sunset. The figures represent perfection found in femme energy. Katherine Leung has spent time exploring religious sites all over the Southwest including Crestone, Colorado; Taos, New Mexico; San Antonio, Texas; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. These solo explorations were remarkable to the artist, but at every pilgrimage to a religious site was the erasure of the self. The artist invites the viewer to include, if not insert, themselves into their studies of theology.â&#x20AC;?
From Here to There Tiffany Hwang
Blurred yellow lights of street lamps pass us by as I look out the window. The three of us have assumed our standard seating positions. Mom and I upfront while Tim claims the backseat. The lighting on the road becomes sparse as we enter the hill bottoms of La Habra Heights on our way back to Baldwin Park. Mom expertly navigates the same winding hills I’d years later feel anxious driving myself. The frequency in which we took this drive shows through as Mom anticipates every curve, smoothly delivering us out of the windy hills. As we come down Hacienda Boulevard shadows of the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple loom on our right side. By the time we replace this grey 1988 Toyota Camry station wagon, it will have seen over 200,000 miles traversing all over Southern California dutifully taking us to our destinations. It was a welcome upgrade from Mom’s previous white Toyota Tercel. The new grey and white fabric interior was of particular value to me. I would never again have to feel the Tercel’s navy plastic seats burn the back of my thighs on a hot summer day. My favorite part of the new car was the rear cargo area. Before the stringent seat belt laws of today, my cousin Kim and I had the best adventures in the back, feeling every bump we went over, laughing when our heads hit the roof of the car.
One of our most frequent destinations was La Habra. Po Po, one of ten children, had four brothers settle down here, living within minutes of each other. Mom, Uncle Peter and Po Po’s arrival to the United States in 1971 was a direct result of the revolutionary Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965. This new law had a profound effect on not only my family but the United States as a whole, transforming the demographic makeup of America. Grand Uncle Walter, one of Po Po’s younger brothers, was given the opportunity to sponsor my family’s arrival into the states. This would create a watershed of some of the best memories I have as a child.
While in La Habra, we spent most weekends at Grand Uncle Norman and Grand Aunt Nancy’s. On those days, we would make a stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Idaho and Imperial Highway. Showing up to a Chinese home empty handed is tantamount to sacrilege. To this day, my love for glazed twist donuts is unmatched. In the more recent years the house has gotten a facelift, updated with a modern kitchen, neutral color carpet and white paint. Back in the 80s and 90s, though, I’d liken its aesthetic to that of the 70s Brady Bunch home, brown carpet and orange paint running throughout.
Many of my fondest memories as a child were made in this home. Loud family dinners with a huge spread, a mixture of Western and Eastern dishes. Grand Aunt Nancy’s signature steak dish was my personal favorite. Mahjong was the centerpiece of the weekends. I can still hear the clicking of the jade green tiles from the garage as Tim, myself and our cousins would watch TV in the living room. It was in this house I learned how to stack the tiles to start a game. As I got older, I began to understand the strategy of mahjong, what tiles played a better hand. The game brought us all together, the elders sharing loud Cantonese gossip and friendly competition. While the adults played, us kids would check in periodically, trying to get a measure of who was winning that round. For us, the best part was at the end of the night when the winner would split their earnings with each of us and we’d all leave a few dollars richer.
Uncle Dave, who still lived at home, was a consistent fixture of my childhood as well. In his 20s, he was our de facto babysitter. Some afternoons, Tim and I would climb into his white Honda Civic hatchback. Looking to give us a thrill, he’d jerk the steering wheel left and right sending us flying back and forth in the car as we drove out of the neighborhood on our way to the video store. In this house, I saw some of the scariest movies of my childhood.
It, Jason, Nightmare on Elm Street and Chucky. We were definitely too young to be exposed to these films but helicopter parenting didn’t exist in these days. Besides, Mom was busy playing mahjong. I would dread the long, dark hallway, the only way to get to the bathroom. I’d imagine Freddy Krueger’s metal claws looming behind the bathroom door, Chucky hiding in the shower or blood erupting from the sink. Pennywise, the clown from It, triggered me the most. For far longer than I care to admit, I couldn’t go to a public restroom without being plagued with fear that he would come out of the toilet. Despite the mild trauma the scary movies inflicted, I can’t help but think how lucky we were to be surrounded by so much love. It is a unique experience to have so much extended family and for them to remain close even after all these years. Just recently, Grand Aunt Nancy cooked an entire meal for my family, the most authentically Chinese way to show love. My generation identifies as American. We were born here and English is our primary language. Despite this, I was still consistently confronted with racism growing up. This, coupled with a lack of representation, made me want to be anything but Chinese. I’m ashamed to admit I wasn’t proud of our culture in my youth. In the past few years, the landscape has drastically changed for Asian Americans. The most famous example to cite would be Crazy Rich Asians releasing as a global phenomenon. This milestone meant so much to our community, reinforcing our place in mainstream culture. I didn’t have these contemporary examples to look to in my youth but I’m glad my children do. I know it will make a significant difference in the way they view their own self-images versus the way I viewed mine. These days, I couldn’t be more proud to be Chinese American.
I Scent of Home
ng Le -
As I walk around Chinatown, the sounds and tongues sound familiar. The smell of cooking food creates an appetite I didn’t realize I had. The buildings are painted lucky colors, every room a color of the sun. I think every hair salon I pass has orange walls. Each business is full to the sidewalk with mushrooms, herbs, stacks of pomelos or stacks of pottery and trinkets. The area isn’t as bustling as the memories I have shopping for crab with my dad as the sun dissolves the fog in the morning. I don’t have to step off the sidewalk once.
When I enter the salon hair house, I’m greeted in english. The usual lady who cuts my hair with care is busy washing a white lady’s hair. She looks up from the rinse sink at me in recognition. I recognize her penciled on eyebrows and makeup. She probably recognizes my now faded orange hair. I then realize I never bothered to ask her name the last couple times I had been there. I wait for my turn and hope that she will finish in time for me, but I know that it will be the other woman who will cut my hair. The walls of the salon are a shade of orange dreamsicle and the year of the pig calendars are hung in between each mirror. The other woman says, “okay,” and waves for me to come sit in her chair, my careful lady is still washing. She tries to speak to me in cantonese, asking what I can only guess is, what kind of haircut do you want? “Hm?” I say, to make sure she wasn’t speaking to someone else in the room. I looked at her and she said it slower, this time making eye contact with me. I respond in shame, “Oh, I don’t speak chinese.” I’m sorry auntie, to disappoint you.
I sit in the chair as she cuts my hair listening to the aunties gossip and laugh in the tongue that is familiar. It means nothing to me contextually except for their attitudes and expressions. The lady cutting my hair is serious and only occasionally breaks her hardened resting face to laugh along with them, I can only understand that the lady waiting behind me is saying something funny. I want to laugh too. I occasionally catch eyes with the aunty cutting my hair in the mirror and try to force a smile. The aunties waiting and giggling in the chairs behind me glance over to see if I’m laughing too, probably wondering if I’m just antisocial. When she’s finished I pay her and leave, and am left wondering how it’s possible to simultaneously feel a part of and isolated from what is supposed to be your community.
Being mixed is a constant flux and flow of intersections that weave and change your experience with your communities, every time is different. To long for belonging and to feel it is to feel your ancestors in your body, in your face, through food and language. Generations of knowledge belong to your growth.
#WeWillNotStayQuiet How Asian Americans are Using Social Media to Fight Back Against COVID19-related Racism
Interviews with #HateIsAVirus, #RacismIsAVirus, #IAmNotAVirus, and #WashTheHate
Hate is everywhere. Since the rise of Coronavirus, more and more Asian Americans have been forced to fight not only the virus but racist attacks as well. The headlines alone show the severity of the situation. “Spit on, yelled at, attacked: Chinese-Americans fear for their safety.” “Asian Americans describe ‘gut punch’ of racist attacks during pandemic.” “‘We just want to be safe’: Hate crimes, harassment of Asian Americans rise amid coronavirus pandemic.” The AAPI community is being reminded that, as John Cho said in the LA Times, “belonging is conditional.”
The history of anti-Asian sentiment in America reaches as far back as Asians have existed in America. Many immigrated to this country during the infamous California gold rush of 1849. Soon, tension over job competition, resulting from the large amount of Asian Americans working on the transcontinental railroad, bubbled over into the idea of “Yellow Peril” and the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The exclusion act, which wasn’t repealed until 1943, was the first race-based immigration ban. During the Spanish-America war, Americans took over the Philippines. During World War 2, innocent Japanese-Americans were sent to internment camps and still chose to fight in the war for the USA. Most recently, the Middle Eastern and South Asian community faced a wave of prejudice following the attacks of 9/11. Anti-Asian racism has always existed in America, and it’s frightening that this was all it took to bring it back out in the open. However, the Asian-American community is far from powerless. We have a voice, and we aren’t afraid to use it. A few social media campaigns, along with a multitude of supporters, are proving that the AAPI community and our voice is powerful.
#WashTheHate - Michelle K. Hanabsa #RacismIsAVirus - Diane Phelan #IAmNotAVirus - Mike Keo #WashTheHate - Kai Chuan
Left to Right: Partcipants in the #RacismIsAVirus movement; founder of #RacismIsAVirus: Diane Phelan; #RacismIsAVirus shirts (sold to raise money for the AAJC).
What is #HateIsAVirus #RacismIsAVirus #IAmNotAVirus #WashTheHate?
#HateIsAVirus: is a movement and response to xenophobia and discrimination fueled by COVID-19. #RacismIsaVirus: is a campaign created to empower Asian Americans and Allies to rise up and stand together against the violence & xenophobia directed at AAPI communities in the wake of the coronavirus, so that all citizens of our country can live in dignity and peace. By using our voices to actively partake in the conversation in America about our otherness, we show and tell America that we do belong, because we say so. #IAmNotAVirus: is a campaign to elevate the voices of the global Asian community to foster measurable, identifiable, and sustainable change on a macro and micro level. #WashTheHate: is a social media campaign that raises awareness about anti-Asian bigotry related to COVID-19.
Why did you start the campaign? Was there a specific incident that sparked the idea? #HateIsAVirus: The videos of xenopho-
bia and discrimination brought nothing but fear, anger, pain, sadness to our Asian American community. [As] someone who has personally experienced racism in my childhood, I felt enough is enough. I’m tired of being silent. We can’t be silent. and others need to see what we’re experiencing.
#RacismIsAVirus: I was motivated to start the campaign while in conversations with other people in my circle about the escalating violence and acts of racism against the Asian community during the coronavirus pandemic and 45’s use of the terms “Chinese Virus” and “Kung Flu.” I was galvanized by seeing pictures of other Asian folks in the news standing up in groups to protest, and I imagined how powerful it would be to flood social media with Asian American faces pushing back against the xenophobia. Our race and culture has long been associated with being the polite, quiet, model minority. And while stoicism bears much honor within our parents’ cultures, it is time for us to speak up. I have been so inspired by everyone who has spoken up and posted. Their words give me strength and hope that change is coming because we are all ready for change. It’s powerful to feel how anger can be channeled into action, something many of us are feeling the positive effects of for the first time.
#IAmNotAVirus: In early March, my sister in law was verbally assaulted in her state and a young child was profiled on the radio for the anti-Asian racism she was experiencing. The portraits began in my studio (www. theterriblechild.com) with friends and family volunteering. I wanted to put faces and voices to our community to make a statement that an attack on Asian Americans was an attack on your neighbors. #WashTheHate: My colleagues and I were alarmed at the rise of hate incidents against Asian Americans, who were being blamed for the outbreak. My friend, Celia Au, had shared a video on her social media, that showed an Asian man being harassed and being sprayed with air freshener on the New York City subway, that went viral. That inspired us to start thinking about what we could do as a marketing agency to address this issue. A week later, there were a series of violent assaults that happened here in New York. At that point, we knew we had to do something. How has social media specifically helped spread your message further?
#HateIsAVirus: Over 1000 cases have been reported that’s related to xenophobia or discrimination. Because of such high numbers, it’s important that we continue to spread this awareness. Using modern day technology like social media is a great tool to bring communities together, spread awareness of what’s going on and
share our thoughts. With our confirmed so we needed to find a way to make these 4M impressions through our network of issues accessible and relatable to everyone. community leaders and influencers, we have Through our celebrity supporters and the been able to reach far and wide across the power of social media, we were able to go world. And this is just the beginning. beyond the headlines and news reports. #RacismIsAVirus: The campaign was Have you seen any impacts since conceived to specifically be spread visually starting the movethrough social media. We’ve ment? Or have you seen change-making things heard any stories of happen on social media from people recognizing the Arab Spring to #Blacktheir racism and LivesMatter to the #Metoo changing because of movements. Our campaign your movement? stands on the shoulders of all the incredible folks #HateIsAVirus: Yes, we’ve to have paved the way for seen many! The amount of social change using the Art by Kelly Hanabusa support, love, and dedication power of social media. Since to spread awareness of its our first wave of posts, we mission has reached far behave been featured in The yond our expectations. We’ve NY Times, The Hollywood received countless messages Reporter, Asian Journal, that shared experiences and Playbill, American Theatre why this movement matters Magazine and even on the to them. Some of our highToday Show to name a few. lights have been outreach from students across the #IAmNotAVirus: Our world who are conducting grassroots messaging has school presentations, reallowed us to connect with ports, photography projects, not just Asian Americans you name it. Others have also but Asians around the sent us private messages globe. What they experience telling us their friends or around the globe is what personal experiences. we are feeling too. Racism knows no borders. We have #RacismIsAVirus: We begun an international have seen so many Asian initiative to provide a space Americans speak up and for the Asian diaspora who speak out against racism. Art by Bianca Ng are feeling isolated due to This is the bottom line aim of racism. We have also been the campaign, to get Asians able to add many partners from national and angry and speaking out. I believe people international organizations. treat you the way you teach them to treat you. What we aim to change with #RacismIs#WashTheHate: Bigotry, xenophobia and AVirus isn’t other people being racist, but hate crimes are not necessarily daily topics how Asian and Asian American people react of conversation for most Americans,
to these attacks. We have had a long history of prizing stoicism and silence culturally, and that isn’t going to stop racist people from getting violent with us right now. Getting angry and speaking up doesn’t sound like it’s doing much, but what we aim to do is create solidarity and a united voice, the way Black communities have done. Racists know not to walk up to a black person on the street and scream at them the way people have been screaming at Asians and Asian Americans during this time. It’s a-free-for-all, and there are people who think they can do what they want. What is happening though, is racism is finding another way to oppress black people in the form of police brutality and that is a whole other level that needs to be addressed outright and once and for all in this country. My heart goes out to the senseless deaths that have occurred by racial profiling and it makes me nuts. I protest when I can. In the meantime, right now, we aim to get people to stop hurting Asian Americans on the streets.
#IAmNotAVirus: Many of our non
Asian followers are aware of what we are facing and have decided to become allies to our community. We have been asked by institutions and my personal school system to address how we can create a more inclusive and healthy space for Asian Americans--which includes curriculum for students and training for faculty. We have heard from Asians all across the globe who have reached out to thank us for this platform. #WashTheHate: A hashtag campaign isn’t going to stop racism or prevent hate crimes. However, we hope our initiative is creating dialogue and conversation that may lead to changing hearts and minds, as well as actions. What’s encouraging about #WashTheHate so far is the support we’re receiving from outside the Asian American community.
How do you hope to be representing Asian Americans?
#HateIsAVirus: Bryan Pham, Founder of Asian Hustle Network, Tammy Cho, Founder of BetterBrave, andmyself, Founder of WEAREUPRISERS, got together to bring this movement to life. Representing Asian Americans is the DNA of our individual companies so it made perfect sense why this is is a campaign we wanted to stand behind. We hope that by creating a platform to share experiences and provide educational content for our community, will bring a better tomorrow.
Clockwise: Poster for # I A m N o t AV i r u s ; M i k e K e o : Fo u n d e r o f # I A m N o t AV i r u s ; P a r t i c i p a n t i n # I A m N o t AV i r u s .
#RacismIsAVirus: We hope to represent our Asian an Asian Americans as Strong, Unapologetic, and ready to stand up to these racist bullies. We want to let folks know we do belong, and you can’t try to make us feel we don’t. #IAmNotAVirus: Our blog aims to share stories from the Asian American diaspora which we don’t often hear about--mental health, the refugee experience, families with disabilities, and more. LoanAnh, our blog editor, just recently finished our first piece about a mother, Jennifer, who runs her own business and her adult son, Colin, who is living with Autism. I am very excited to share such a powerful story. We have a Khmer American farmer, a soon to be mother, and a Blasian artist living in China that will be profiled. Our podcast aims to connect our audience with Asian and Asian Americans that didn’t follow the conventional path. It will be less about the Asian American experience but rather how you were able to establish yourself in your field where there may be less representation. It’s powerful for us to allow our young viewers to see a pioneer that may mirror them. Our first few guests will include an ABC Nightline Producer, a rapper, a broadway actress, and television producer. We have programming lined up too for Asian, Asian Americans, and nonAsian members of our community including Mental Health, Gender and Sexual Violence within the APIA community, and navigating professional spaces. We are hoping to bring Asian American curriculum and representation to pre-k to gr 12 as well. #WashTheHate: We’re taking our issues and concerns outside of our community and bringing them into the public square, where they should be.
How can people get involved? #HateIsAVirus: Through a collaborative effort among founders of UPRISERS, BETTER BRAVE,
Asian Hustle Network and influencers, our goal is to raise over $1M through donations, social media campaign, tee sales, and educational content to support small Asian-owned businesses across the nation who are currently struggling to keep afloat. Please support by visiting https://linktr.ee/hateisavirus_ #RacismIsAVirus: We are doing a big push for AAPI Heritage month. Post to your social media with the hashtag #RacismIsAVIRus in May and show the world we don’t stand for xenophobia. All Americans deserve peace and dignity. You can also buy a T-shirt with all proceeds benefiting Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a non-profit doing incredible work for Asian Americans right now.
Reniel del Rosario â&#x20AC;&#x153;I work with ceramic objects, multiplicity, and transforming objects through recontextualization, fusion, and humor. My work has varied from pop-up installations of faux stores selling ceramic versions of consumer goods in public spaces to large quantities of archaic objects reimagined through a fantastical and diasporic lens.â&#x20AC;?
My mother would wear long white gloves that went past her elbows when she drove. She wore big hats and big sunglasses like a bad disguise. Sunblock was her daily moisturizer. The car visor was always down. In other words, she wanted to keep her fair skin fair. She warned me that too much sun gives you premature wrinkles on your face and spots on your hands. I knew what she thought of all my friends’ parents’ hands. Growing up I remember celebrating my mother’s 45 th birthday every year until I forgot how old she really was. My father, on the other hand, lived for summers on Santa Monica beach, for winters by a Palm Springs pool. I don’t think he owned sunblock and he certainly never owned a hat or sunglasses. By September of every year, he’d get so dark he was purple. I grew up celebrating the sun and at the same time fearing its power. I loved the feeling of hot, summer days laying out in the sand. I hated feeling guilty that I loved it. When I was five years old, we took a family trip to Hawaii and my mother swears, with perhaps a hint of disdain (I could never pin down that tone), that the fair skin I was born with got so dark after that vacation it never went back. My sister however, who missed that vacation because she was still just an idea in my mother’s belly, always had fair skin. She looks more Japanese than I ever did or ever will. Maybe that’s why they’re closer. Ever since I could remember, my mother was certain to remind me to check that d readed box,the always confusing and unsatisfying: other. “You are not Asian-American,” my mother would explain, as if Asian-American was not as desirable a category. “You are nisei.” I needed to honor her immigrant experience. “You are not White,” she would add, “Never check White.” As if that was altogether too ordinary, and heaven forbid you’re ordinary. “You are Other.” She would say, “Always check Other.” I wasn’t Asian enough, Japanese enough, or White enough. When I visited my grandparents in Yamaguchi, Japan they paraded me around town like this exotic animal. In their eyes and definitely in the eyes of everyone in the neighborhood, I was not Japanese. But when I was in school with my bento box full of rice and seaweed, the other kids made fun of me. I begged my parents to buy Lunchables. When I entered college I noticed groups of Asian-American students bonding over meals and extracurriculars. When I entered the theater world, I became aware of Asian-American theater companies. But I always felt like I couldn’t break in because I wasn’t Asian enough.
Defining myself by what I was not, and labeling myself with a term so non-descriptive, has haunted me ever since I had to start answering that dreaded question: what are you? New friends ask it, complete strangers ask it, casting directors asked it. Maybe that’s why I’m so indecisive, why I never see a project through, why I used to cling to the identity of actor so I could confidently call myself something. But of course, choosing to pursue acting only deepened my identity anxiety. As far as Hollywood was concerned, I was Latina. I tried to go for the Japanese American roles, parts that I truly identified with in my soul and yet those were the ones I was least likely to get. Not that I got the Latina parts either. To make matters even more confusing, my Japanese mother now lives in Mexico. The sun is often shining, and she no longer wears gloves. People are allowed to change. I’m happy she’s found a corner of the world where she feels free. But what am I? I’m still trying to figure that out.
The Small Things Matter Too
An Interview with Zo Fan: Director of We Look The Same We Look the Same is a new short film about people and “the little things they say.” The film tackles microagressions, language, and how immigrants are treated through an encounter between Amelie (Kalista Tazlin), a Chinese-French bookshop worker, and Jing Jing (Lucie teng Duvert), a tourist from China. We got to talk with Zo Fan, writer and director, about the film, her inspirations, and their working partnering with creatives while marketing this film.
In a world where people are finally educated enough to realize that cat-calling is not remotely funny, and even further away from flattering, how could there still be people doing this? To top it off, I remembered how there were guys who were my friends, people I respected, telling me how “these were guys just trying to be funny”. Then as I got to know more people, I realized there was a group that would What inspired have had to bear you to create this with this and so film? Was there a much more for their moment that led whole entire lives: to you writing the descendants the script, or of immigrants. For was it multiple example, a Chinese factors? Poster by Shauna Goh girl born and bred in France, which means she is essentially Moving to Paris from Singapore in 2016, whenever I was out on the streets, there French-Chinese, equal parts French and would be random guys calling out to me while equal parts Chinese. However, just bepassing by, “Ni hao!” “Konnichiwa!” That quite cause of her facial features, she would frankly unnerved me completely. Initially, it always be treated as an immigrant in would be so unsettling that it could turn one her own country. We Look the Same was joyful, sunny afternoon into a churning, dark then created, a film that is made for all one, because of this intense rage, repulsion the people in the world who supposedand the freezing inability to shout back for the ly ‘do not look’ like the citizens of the fear of being physically aggressed. That made countries they identify with. me as mad as myself as I was mad at them.
What was one of the biggest challenges you faced, either while writing or filming?
mature enough, you start seeing non-LGBTQ identifying filmmakers making films about the LGBTQ community. We are all humankind in the end, and this is also what the film wants to speak about.
Here’s a secret story - if you watch the film and you realize that our lead character has a certain physical affliction, it was not What is the message you hope to in the script until the actual shooting day. send with your film? So it was three hours after call time, and our lead actress was MIA. I was frantically That if we all care about the people around calling my other backup actresses (one was overseas, one was not picking up) us a little more, the world would be a much and maintaining this deep calm face better place. Because if you cared in front of my crew so they could about the other person you’re talking continue to set up and not realize to, then you would make sure you anything amiss. My 1st Assistant know what things can be better Director finally received news that phrased, what words might make she apparently fell down the stairs, them feel uncomfortable. and so [she] was in the hospital till then. Thank God, she ended Why do you think that up being able to come to set, just *ahem* extra equipped. So I message is important rewrote the script, on the right now? spot, to incorporate the new elements and had an It has always been importemergency meeting with ant, and I think it will continSadesh Nambiar, my cineue to be important because matographer. We restrucno one out there would think tured every single shot in themselves racist, no one the film that involved her would think themselves a bending down (because she was supposed to be bad person, because we have Writer/Director Zo Fan arranging books all the internal justifications for the time) and voila! things that we do. It’s only when we are able to step out of ourselves Why did you choose to partner with Asian and become more mindful of how we are creatives while promoting your film? treating people around us, can this world get better. I think we have all seen very different Fascinatingly, while I am answering this sides of the world in the past few months question, I realize that while we consciously with the global health crisis, and if it’s the opened the submissions to all creatives, all side of the world where communities choose the artists that we have come across so far, to put aside differences and come together whose past works contained related topics, to support each other that we like, then we have Asian roots. I hope that one day we all have a responsibility to be as inclusive as would live in a world where non-Asians can possible no matter now or in the future. speak and create about Asian issues as well, The whole is greater than the sum of its just like how once the film industry got parts.
What role did language (French and Mandarin and English*) play in telling your story?
It highlights the different backgrounds that we are all raised in. Language is so powerful because it opens doors. It allows communication, which brings understanding. What fascinates me is how much we can tell from someone’s language, be it from their accents, choice of words, or even the number of languages they know. There is nothing better than language to give us hints of a person’s past, but also nothing more dangerous than language because it can also be as misleading. It divides as much as it unites. So, moral of the story, never assume!
In the beginning of the film, Amelie’s boss keeps making micro-aggressions, but Amelie doesn’t seem to care. Why do you think that is?
It is also very personal, because what affects you could be different from what affects me. There is a point that I debate with myself, whether the ones being micro-aggressed should take up the responsibility to stand up for themselves too, because that’s the only way the micro-aggressors know this is just plain un-funny. Consider the fact that many of the micro-aggressors really are nice people, and have no intentions to hurt anyone, they just don’t know that they are hurting us. And they will never know if we don’t say anything about it.
What has been your favorite part of making the film so far?
The making of the film was merely the start of everything else because it is created to be a conversation starter. It is only meaningful if this sparks many more discussions, reflections, debates, the want to know, the want to care.
Because even she herself And it delights me to no was trying to convince end that I have so many herself her boss didn’t creatives generously mean any harm. The pitching in a part of their underlying trickiness of hearts to keep this going micro-aggression stems on, whichhhhh is probaoften from an imbalance bly a good segway to do a Shots from the film of power. The context shout out for our creative of situations matters so open call: much, that’s why sometimes it is so hard to call out micro-aggression. At freshman Calling all artists (no matter closetorientation, someone super friendly whom ed or sensei-level) as long as you express you just met could say “omg your name is yourself in one of the many languages of art, so tricky!!” all while giving their best shot to please continue the conversation with us at learn your name, repeating it over and over www.instagram.com/welookthesamefilm, until they get it right, and this could be ok. where we are looking for creators to present But picture your new teacher declaring “your their point of view on this topic with their name is so difficult” in front of the whole unique voice. class, this could affect someone very much.
A comic by Hanna Lee, as part of the filmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s partnership with creatives
Flight Casey Chen
â&#x20AC;&#x153;This collage is an reflection of my experience as a queer & trans Asian American. Through it, I explored the meanings of dissociation and desirability, both for my community and for myself.â&#x20AC;? 53
Way Down Hadestown
A talk with Cherie B. Tay: Assistant Stage Manager of Hadestown on Broadway How did you first get into stage management?
What do you do on a daily basis?
I mean, I knew that this was something you could do professionally in high school. So probably toward the end of high school.
It depends whether it’s a two show day or whether we have rehearsal. Things that are constant are things like doing stuffers if need be. You know, when you go to a show and then you open your playbill, and the slip falls? Those are called stuffers. Yeah. If an understudy is on, we have to do those. If they’re not, if they’re in a principal role, we have to do the house board. Then depending on the show, I either call the show, or I run the deck, or I do an office day where I’m updating the calendar or doing the band sheets.
So surprisingly not. My mom was actually the one who found all the stage management colleges. She was like, here’s a list like Webster, Emerson, UArts, Penn State. We moved from Singapore, and you know that there’s not a lot of arts there. So coming here, she was like, This is clearly a passion. You’re not going to stem, so here’s to this.
There’s been many, many moments.I think the coolest feeling is when you’re doing something for the first time and you’re like “Oh my god, like, this is cool.” You know, when I did my first Broadway show I was like “holy crap, I’m on Broadway.” Yeah, and then it was like do your job, you know? Go immediately back to “okay, what’s the next
I started in high school. Someone asked me to pull curtains for a play, and I did. Then that led to just stage managing the rest of the shows in high school, like the fall play and the musical.
When did you decide that you wanted to stage manage professionally?
Did your parents ever object? Because I know I have some friends whose parents aren’t the most comfortable with careers in the arts, so what was your experience?
So what do you think your favorite moment as a Stage Manager or Assistant Stage Manager, throughout your career, has been so far?
cue?” Or when I was working for the New York City Ballet, I was like “wow,” and then I was like, okay...great, so coming up next, I have to make sure this is safe.
Is there a part of the rehearsal or performance process that you enjoy, especially?
I love calling the show. I really, really love calling the show. It’s so cool to like, see all the elements come together and collaborate with the people who I’m giving the cues to. It takes so many people to make the show look good, right? It’s not just the people on stage it’s like “are the turntables turning on when they’re supposed to?” It takes a good operator to press that button when he needs to. You know, same thing with the lighting, and the spotlights, and the sound, and wardrobe. It takes so many people to make a show happen, and it’s cool to call all the elements.
Now Hadestown has a pretty diverse cast. Do you think that’s at all impacted your experience there compared to like other shows? I think I think it’s really, really great because it brings so many different perspectives into a show. At the same time, it’s not like everyday we’re like, “yeah, we’re diverse!” These great people are really, really, really awesome at what they do. They’re so good at what they do, and at the same time, they’re also a person of color.
What type of leader would you consider yourself as Stage Manager?
I don’t deal with every situation in one particular way. I feel like within collaborating, different people respond to different types of communication. So some people you have to be super direct with, some people you can take a more casual approach. You see them as a person. You see what they need and approach it the way you would approach another human being.
If there’s one piece of advice that you could give to someone looking to get into stage management professionally, what would it be? Keep learning and keep getting better at what you do. Watch YouTube videos, go out and shadow, you can read books on it, join Facebook groups, and don’t worry about being perfect. There’s no such thing as perfect. You keep doing the best you can and trust that. Hopefully, everyone else is also trying to make the show the best that it can be.
“You keep doing the best you can and trust that. Hopefully, everyone else is also trying to make the show the best that it can be” 56
Tiff Rex Rei “Mei, You are asking too much for attention. This isn’t who you are. Why do you dance like that for other people to watch? What are they doing? The way you dress. I feel so much shame. You make people uncomfortable. I cannot sleep!”
“This piece represents a performance artist’s internal struggle with finding her own embodied expression while breaking down the walls of cultural oppression and shame within her family lineage. Representation starts with going deep within and to feel how proud we are to be alive and to express oneself unabashedly, unapologetically, to know without a doubt, that our voices and narratives matter and to continuously and courageously show up just as we are.”
These words from a Wechat text blare at me. My mother’s voice. Her fear, her worry, her shame. Tears streaming down my face. I broke down into a sob in the middle of the parking lot in Miami as my 3 friends held space in quiet silence. I was fully in it. Triggered, Photo taken from bellowing, and dry heaving, the SensAsian full spectrum of emotions poured out of me. The anger, betrayal, shame, grief from generations of cultural conditioning and silencing, the oppression of asian women as subservient and quiet, the repression and shame behind our sexuality….and the decision I would have to make…to play small to “respect my family” or to follow my truth and keep the show going. I was in her lens “out of control” which to me meant “living my life”.
Of course. I should have known. Word of my wild escapades would eventually make it back to my mother in Taiwan. I imagine her stalking my Facebook feed and seeing my stories, the transformation, the makeup, the costumes, the birth place of my performer diva archetype (Rex Rei), the shameless genderqueer erotic performance artist. This was no doubt definitely different from the image she had pictured for me when I was her age. I wonder beneath the picture of her daughter with her face full of makeup, green, blue, black that screamed out “Look at me. I am here to make a statement” what had really triggered her.
I wonder if the pictures she had saw could reflect the confidence I started to build from within, rather than the insecurity that she had felt. And that underneath the makeup, I finally found respect and felt my own internal divinity and power source, uninhibited by anyone else’s perceptions. And instead of living the “should be” life defined inaccurately by cultural stereotypes held in our society, I felt permission to finally represent who I was in the moment. And that takes courage. And that this breakthrough just happened to pop for me during one performance where I was dancing fully naked covered with body paint in an erotic dance as a serpentine like dragoness, in front of a huge party of white spiritual artists and yogis who probably didn’t have one single Asian influence within their circles. How empowering it felt. And how blessed I was to feel safe to share myself so vulnerably within that space. That month in Miami was the start of what I saw was my career as a performance artist, a notable benchmark of my journey stripping down the masks of appropriateness and the identity I had long held onto as “the good, cute, eager to please, accommodating Asian girl”. I felt my calling to demonstrate the embodied expression of liberation, the innocent and shameless texture of the Eros as it flowed through my gender queer being. Roaring. Unapologetic. Sensual. Edgy. Turned On. Fully alive. I dance for myself, my healing, and to share my essence and my story. I dance to defy any stereotype that may have been ingrained within our culture’s limited perspectives of what it means to be asian And without them directly knowing, I dance for my family’s liberation.
I remember taking my mother’s words and transmuting her fear and shame into fuel for my own growth. And with love and respect, sharing my own perspectives around who I am and what I vow to represent- freedom without shame. With conscious communication and loving acceptance, I continued to love on her while standing solid in my own life path. And with time, after she realized that I was my own independent and sovereign womxn and she couldn’t control me anymore, she loosened her judgements and we were able to heal any differences in opinion between right and wrong.
My short celebratory high as a queer erotic performance dancer was over once I left the the vibrant art scene in Miami and returned back home to Oakland. Within time, I felt less drawn to white centered spaces and began to deepen in my own identity as an Asian American artist. And it wasn’t until months later, I felt the pull to recreate that type of thrilling freedomonce again center stage…this time with an emphasis on celebrating Asian pride and culture. In January 2020, I created SensAsian. A collective of Asian American artists, healers, performers, and DJs who are committed to showcasing their art and magic and their unique expression to the public. A movement to raise Asian visibility in the healing, performance art, and night life spaces. A platform for celebration, creation, collaboration, and conscious community. I returned on the stage to perform as my erotic dragoness Rex Rei once again, this time more integrated in my being and with another message to deliver to my captivated audience.
“This is me. I love my body and the way it moves. And I am proud to be Asian.” Representation starts with one’s own liberation as well as conscious spaces to share oneself that is accessible to the public. SensAsian is an empowering start to change the conversation on what it means to be Asian and to be proud of our evolution as artists with something to say and to share. We exist. We belong. And we are here for it. Before we can even claim a world where Asians can be fully represented in media and the arts, we need to do the inner work that starts with being proud to express and embody who we truly are and what we are here to bring. To be able to voice the internal struggles and pains. To look at our own unprocessed traumas and internalized racism. To be able to overcome the mental struggles of “what would my parents think?” if they knew the real me. To know that we can make it out on the stage and on the screen. To know that we don’t have to follow the conventional path of business, medical school or software engineering and can pursue the arts and all of the realms of full blown creativity and all the alchemical gold it can bring. While the issues surrounding lack of Asian American representation in media is inhibited by white supremacy and their systemic control and overall power in the industry, it’s also important to know that we need to do the internal work to come out fully expressed and break down the walls of cultural oppression that exists within ourselves as well. We need to get outside of the foggy field of apathy and indifference and recognize the internalized racist stories other folks project onto us, that our voices don’t matter, that we don’t belong, that we don’t have a place in this westernized world to shape the way the world in actuality represents. We need to believe it in ourselves more than anything that we matter. Representation to me comes with a long internal battle of healing and removing conditioning To understand projection and to hold myself and my values without contorting myself for conditional love.
Representation to me comes with honesty, self-love, compassion, and trust. To love myself enough without taking on the burdens of “saving face” and playing small just to make other people comfortable. Representation to me means honoring my privilege and my family. To value the sacrifices my parents made to immigrate and provide a life for me in America where I could experiment with expression in all of its forms. Representation means going deep within and to feel how proud we are to be alive and to express oneself unabashedly, unapologetically, to know without a doubt, that our voices and narratives matter and to continuously and courageously show up just as we are. It is from that place of knowing yourself so intimately and holding your value that anyone, regardless of race, will be able to take you and your art with the regard and respect it deserves.
Sensasian (www.sensasian.cc)is a collective and event series highlighting Asian American artists, healers, performers to elevate embodied expression within our communities
We exist. We belong. And
we are here for it.
Film Spotlight: Director:
Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera, Thea Cantos, and More!
Abbie Rose is a popular social-media influencer known for her lifestyle, fashion and makeup videos. After signing a contract with Nutrocon, a cosmetic company known for their socially unconscious practices, Abbie finds her Hollywood home overtaken by a group of activists who hack her social media empire to carry out a risky plan with a huge payout.
The Influencer “Yo u te l l m il “One bad l i o n s of kid s to post and g o b uy c he a p that could cl oth e s m ad e From Meghan be the i n swe at sho p s “I’m a half Chinese filmmaker in a n d yo u p rofit end of all LA, and wrote, directed and produced f ro m a l l of it ! ” of this!” this feature which we shot in late 2019. The film features a diverse cast of women from all different ethnicities including Asian women in lead roles- Sri Lankan actress Shantell Abeydeera, and Filipina actress Thea Cantos, both in roles that break the mold and expectations of female Asian characters. The film was shot by my crew which is 90%
women, all female crew“He headsis from my my not It’s crazy Director of Photography to Editor.” boyfriend!” the influence you “Yeah, we have, when don’t subnobody scribe to sociknows who ety’s labels!” you are.”
Altar Series (Ongoing)
“At a certain point in my mid twenties I felt called to move from suburban New Jersey (a place mostly devoid of visible / felt cultural and ethnic diversity) to California, specifically Oakland. For what reason, I could not logically explain to you, but after four years of living here there is no doubt in my mind that it was the best, the only decision. I feel a sense of belonging here that I’ve never felt before; I’ve developed a fuller understanding of the word “home” than I previously knew possible. These altars are one of the many things that hold me here, tie me to the roots I’ve grown farther and farther from throughout my upbringing as a first generation Chinese-American in the United States.”
The Rumble Dominique Lai
It’s hot, unbearably so on August 12th at Hong Kong International Airport. The air is wet and solid. The whir of the air conditioning makes this building a safe haven from the heat. He walks in past the crowd and sighs in relief. He’s right on schedule; he was worried the metro delays meant that he was going to miss it. The cleanliness of the trains couldn’t compensate for the crowds and teenagers holding the subway doors open. He hears those giant metal birds take agency of the sky as he stares down at the ground. He walks through the airport unable to shake the beads of sweat traveling down his neck. He not only had a place to be but people to see: a Sweet Smile, a Booming Laugh, and a Sharp Look. They were not patient people, waiting for just the moment to call and assert their control over him in concern. He had seen the Sweet Smile a little while ago, she had just left him to go take care of the Booming Laugh while the Sharp Look went off for one last adventure before college, but he misses her and home. She is safe and sound, he sweats. Maybe a meal, an airport meal? The distraction of choosing something to eat was welcome and he focused his eyes on the distant board by squinting. He looks but only comprehends half of what he sees. The bodies slamming at the gates, the shouts and disagreements. The whirring grows louder as the heat outside rages on but he seems to rest in his oasis. Finally settling for something he can’t taste but scurries to finish, he walks step after step to his gate. The air is humid and frantic. The energy of others hums around him and begins to whip him into a frenzy as well. He looks around himself for an answer to this newfound, unsettling feeling. Perhaps it’s the heat, he resolves. Deciding to ignore this prior to the flight he thinks about the Sweet Smile and how kind she is, how she cares for the Booming Laugh, how she supports the Sharp Look; how lost he is without her. These thoughts alleviate some of the tension, as family has a tendency to do. Even those around him seemed to feel the shift and absorb it. But soon the unrest returns to them all and they wait. wait. Wait. WAit. WAIt. WAIT.
Finally, they are interrupted by the even tone of the announcement. “Chun bo gae yi ga ting jou. Mm ho yi si, Ching dung yut zhen.” All flights delayed. Everything stung by inefficiency and fear. The simmering unrest comes to a boil and the discomfort is palpable. This is the end, he thinks, I’ll never make it home. He takes a harsh breath and picks up his phone calling the Sharp Look one last time, “Wai? Leur? Wai? Hai baba, Oh yi ga hai gae tchurng dung gun goh fae gae. Yi ga tchurn bo ye doh ting zho hai do. Oh oi le, leur” “Fai di fan le, baba. Oh ho dam sum le. Siu sum, baba! Have a safe flight. Text me when you get on the plane okay, baba?” “Ji do la-“ “Ban gae heur gun maygok, ga chou, yi ga hoi chi surng gae,” the announcement rang. “Oh, leur oh you surng gae la! Bye bye” He hangs up and begins cleaning up get on his flight, working fast and frantically. He looks up for a brief moment and notices the others are doing the same, and during the phone call he made, the airport seemed far more empty than before. He’s just handing his ticket to the attendant when a visceral scream, a roar fills the room. It starts from behind them all and seems to grow stronger all the while. The attendant turned white and began scanning faster and barking orders, “Ching surng gae. Fai di.” Faster, faster, faster until they couldn’t go anymore. The sound and thundering of feet seemed to flood and follow them as they clambered onto the plane. For a brief moment of adrenaline and fear he laughs that it was the fastest he’d ever seen a plane boarded. He watches a man move a pregnant woman out of his way to get to his seat and suddenly sees a flash of a bloated belly and swollen feet on the ground of the subway station and loses his humor. The teenager sitting next to him puts in her earphone and he sees a mask and an umbrella hurdling at an old woman at a barricade and shakes his head. The man in the black shirt finishes putting his suitcase away and he sees the whipsawed the torn skin on the back of the brave man holding the shuttle doors open; a crowd willing to offer him as a sacrifice to ensure their own safety. A suitcase cracks open in the aisle and the flash of cracked bricks along the road ring into his head. The rumbling follows them and the plane shakes as the attendants pull the door closed and begin the departure. They hold their breath. Turn your phones on airplane mode, emergency exits, seatbelts, life vests. They all seem to be composed and relaxed after being strung and tightened by the Rumble. The tension breaks the moment the wheels leave the tarmac and they lift off the ground. Seeing the attendants calm injects the rest with a similar sensation of relief and they breathe for the first time all day. He sweats but this time it’s because of how uncompromising the heat is, turns on the fan and falls asleep waiting to see his Sweet Smile, Booming Laugh, and Sharp Look.
Special Thanks To: Michelle Cao Kathleen Burkinshaw Zo Fan Cherie B. Tay The Contributors And Everyone Reading! --This Zine was Edited by Suraj Singareddy
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