AAPI Heritage Month: Week 4 Prompts (and Week 3 Reflections)

Monday, May 22, 2023

Week 3 of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month was enlightening. The week’s loose theme was around representation, celebrity, and art. In exploring these ideas I found a rhythm with my daily writing practice, doing it for myself first above others. Taking on the torch of imperfect representation.

This past week, I learned, were the birthdays of Asian Americans who made significant impacts on history: Vincent Chin and Yuri Kochiyama. At first in learning of these dates this week, I was embarrassed for not knowing or factoring that into this project. Then I remembered, this is why we must be humble and loose. Any expectation of me being some AAPI history expert before I write on our topics is unrealistic and mostly in my own head.

May 18 would have been Vincent Chin’s birthday. Chin was killed in a racist attack by two white men in Michigan 1982. His murder catalyzed wide protests and mainstream attention on anti-Asian racism.

May 19 was the shared birthday of Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X. Two brilliant social justice actors and close friends. They reckoned with the challenges and necessity of cross-racial resistance movements.

This week I came across the May 19 Project, which explores Vincent, Yuri, Malcolm, and so much more. I am excited to dive into that resource as well as this next week as I explore AAPI and API politics in more depth.

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