September 24, 2021

Volume 1, Issue 17

Dear Friends,

Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, zhong qiu jie, a Chinese harvest festival all about family, food, love, lanterns, and most of all mooncakes that was this past Tuesday, September 21. Hope you had a chance to enjoy the beauty of the full moon, the largest full moon of the year. And congratulations to our friends at Stop AAPI Hate — Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Russell Jeung, and Cynthia Choi — for being named to Time's 100 most influential people of 2021. This is a busy week for us at the 1990 Institute with our podcast launching today and our webinar tomorrow on AAPI representation in media and entertainment. Scroll down to the Spotlight section to learn more about our new events and programs! Thanks for your continued support of the 1990 Institute and newsletter. Thanks also for forwarding this newsletter to your friends and family, and for encouraging your friends to subscribe so they can get this content straight to their inboxes too.


It’s not too late to register for tomorrow’s free webinar:
Unity Through Communication: What’s Next for AAPIs in Media and Entertainment


How can mooncakes bring us together?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang


Oh no! I forgot to buy mooncakes! 

I rushed out to my local Chinese grocery store last Saturday, flustered that I had forgotten this critical task until the last weekend before the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (this year on Tuesday, September 21, 2021). Usually, so close to the holiday, the shelves are bare and all that is left are a few lonely boxes, weird brands and lesser flavors.

I went straight to the mooncake section and found a lot of bare shelf space. But not completely sold out yet. And tucked into a corner, I spotted my favorite Sheng Kee Bakery mooncakes. Three boxes left. 

I was so relieved that I accidentally bought all three boxes.

My parents never celebrated the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival when I was growing up. But my kids and I had a lot of fun walking to the park with our little paper lanterns every year to look at the moon and eat mooncakes, as well as celebrating it with the Chinese, Taiwanese, Singaporean, Hong Kong, Vietnamese, and Korean American communities in our town. Once we even went to check out Oktoberfest since it’s the same harvest moon, but too much beer.

There are many stories surrounding the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, with the moon goddess Chang-e and the heavenly archer Hou-yi, Wu Gang the woodcutter forever chopping the Cassia tree, Vietnamese Chu Cuoi and his magical medicinal tree, and the jade rabbit pounding his elixir of immortality. 

But my favorite story is how during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), Chinese statesman Liu Po-Wen baked messages of revolt into mooncakes, which were then distributed to villagers and rebel forces, right under the noses of the Mongol soldiers. The Chinese people rose up together on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival and successfully overthrew their much-hated Mongol rulers.

There is so much that we can do when we know each other and work together.

Recently, Central York School District in York, Pennsylvania, banned or “froze” a long list of 300 books on race or social justice themes, including Grace Lin’s beautiful children’s picture book, “Big Mooncake for Little Star,” about a Chinese American girl who bakes a big mooncake with her mom and is supposed to wait but can’t resist a nibble. Other books center people of color such as Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, Malala, James Baldwin, and the women in Hidden Figures. 

Students of different races are standing together to protest the ban, new people are running for school board, and people across the nation are donating the books to Little Free Libraries. For books. For community. For togetherness. For light. For a story about a Chinese American girl and her mooncake.

And after a year of this policy and weeks of protests, the ban or “freeze” on these books was lifted this week.


We’re co-presenting SFCAUSE’s virtual event tomorrow with Erika Moritsugu and community advocates!


Curated News

Post-9/11 surveillance has left a generation of Muslim Americans in a shadow of distrust and fear | PBS NewsHour  “A lot of our members were completely traumatized and disappeared, they were not even returning our phone calls because they were so scared, and I think it destroyed their morale, it destroyed everything they ever believed in.” 

On 9/11, Chinatown residents watched the towers fall. Some are still recovering. | NBC News  In the aftermath, language and cultural barriers hid the community’s emotional trauma.

Pain never ebbs for family of Betty Ong, flight attendant who made first 9/11 alert | NBC News  “People will call it an anniversary, a memorial, a tribute…To us, it’s just a continuation of 20 years of anguish.” 

Opinion: Hate killed my brother 4 days after 9/11. What has changed (and hasn't) 20 years later | AZ Central  We've taken steps forward and backward to address hate in the years after my brother, Balbir Singh Sodhi, was murdered. But my ask remains the same. 

Former Joint Chiefs chair: Nothing unusual about Milley’s contacts with China | Politico  “Having communications with counterparts around the world is routine.”

Expert Interview: Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry on China’s Future in the Region Following U.S. Military Withdrawal | UC San Diego 21st Century China Center  "If I were a top leader in China, I would not necessarily conclude at all that what's happened in Afghanistan means that the United States is in a downward spiral."

China’s Tiangong astronauts return with vision of ‘new heights’ in space travel | South China Morning Post  Mission commander tells his crew ‘real gold fears no fire’ moments before their successful re-entry after 90 days in space. 

Emma Raducanu's shock U.S. Open win was more than a sporting fairy tale | NBC News  “There is more to Emma and every one of us than our ethnic heritage,” said one immigrant to the U.K.


Our NEW podcast launches today! Listen here now!



  • It’s here! Our own Bund to Brooklyn podcast launches TODAY. Bund to Brooklyn touches upon the intersection between two cultures – Asian American and Chinese – with an open dialogue as the core of our content. The first 3 episodes are available now and here’s a sneak peek:
    • Episode 1: Meet our Hosts: Lucia Liu, founder of Rock the Boat podcast in Brooklyn, and Siyuan Meng, writer for RADII in Shanghai, share a little bit about themselves and we learn more about the 1990 Institute. 
    • Episode 2: Sports in China: Lucia and Siyuan talk to Steve Zeng, founder of Thumb Media, which produces digital sports content for the Chinese audience. They discuss the Summer Olympics, the Chinese athlete’s career arc, and how sports fandom works in modern China.
    • Episode 3: Asian Americans on the Big Screen: Janet Yang (Hollywood producer, including The Joy Luck Club, and co-founder of Gold House) helps Lucia and Siyuan understand how Asian Americans get roles in Hollywood and where we still have room for improvement. We also discuss the Marvel blockbuster Shang-Chi.

Listen and subscribe to us on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and all other major podcasting platforms. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter at @bundtobrooklyn. Have any questions or requests? Want to guest or know of a good guest? Contact us at @bundtobrooklyn or

  • We’ve gathered a fantastic group of industry experts for a webinar that’s sure to be engaging and informative. Please join us TOMORROW, September 25, at 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT) for “Unity Through Communication: What's Next for AAPIs in Media and Entertainment” at the 2021 National Civic Leadership Forum (NCLF). Against the backdrop of anti-Asian violence and political rhetoric, we have seen deeply significant gains in the past year, from an increased focus in the political scene to entertainment and blockbuster content led by Asian Americans. In this session, our panelists will share how we can leverage media and entertainment to unify our narrative. Register for free.

       The 2-day NCLF conference starts today at 5-8 pm ET (2-5 pm PT) and continues tomorrow from 11:30 am-6 pm ET
       (8:30 am-3 pm PT). Registration for the entire “Power of Unity” virtual conference is free. Don’t miss it!

  • With SFCAUSE and more partners, we're proud to co-present virtual events with Erika Moritsugu, President Biden's Deputy Assistant and Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Senior Liaison. Sign up for “Erika Moritsugu, Deputy Assistant To President Biden: Challenges And Opportunities Facing Asian Americans” today, September 24, at 10 pm ET (7 pm PT) and learn how the White House is forming critical partnerships to fight anti-Asian hate crimes, moving forward the Build Back Better Agenda to rebuild the economy, and ensuring the advancement of AA and NHPI communities. And catch “Anti-Asian Hate and the Economic Downtown Facing Our Chinatowns” with Erika Mortisugu and many more community leaders. This important discussion is tomorrow, September 25 at 12 pm ET (3 pm PT). Register here

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


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