November 19, 2021

Volume 1, Issue 21

Dear Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving! We’re excited to announce two upcoming webinars – on December 15 and January 20 – save the dates, and see our newest videos in Spotlight below! 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. 


On November 2, the voters in three major cities chose mayors of Asian descent for the first time –
read about these trailblazers and more Asian American profiles at New Asian American Voices on Instagram


How does diversity in representation
show us new ways to lead?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang


My 17-year-old boy, who we all call Little Brother, was one of a hundred or so Asian American high school students from across Metro Detroit milling around Angell Hall last weekend, putting on name tags and drinking boba. For years, University of Michigan students have organized a free, one day Asian American high school conference for students interested in learning about Asian/Pacific Islander American history, exploring their identities, developing leadership skills, and getting a peek into college life. Despite current pressures against critical race theory (which is not taught in K12 schools), these teenagers are so hungry to learn more that they are willing to give up an entire Saturday to do so. 

Understanding the legacies of those who came before them helps young people develop their leadership skills as they begin to imagine their own futures and what they can do in this world. 

As we get ready for Thanksgiving this year, there is a lot to be thankful for, representation wise. Three Asian American mayors elected this past election day! The first Asian American muppet on Sesame Street! A film with four different hot Asian hunk types and a sassy Asian grandma (something for everyone) in Jimmy O Yang’s Christmas rom com, “Love Hard” (which landed on the #1 spot on Netflix’s most popular movies list).

Aftab Pureval, the son of a Tibetan refugee mother and an Indian immigrant father, who was just elected mayor of Cincinnati, was once warned about his electability because of his name. 

“‘Brown guy named Aftab, that’s gonna be tough,’” Pureval recalled.

Cincinnati only has an Asian population of 2.2 percent, so Pureval was elected not only by Asian Americans (because there are not enough Asian American votes to win the election by themselves), but by working with others and developing a track record at the local level. In Boston, where Michelle Wu was elected mayor, Asians make up 9.7 percent of the population; and in Seattle, where Bruce Harrell was elected mayor, Asians make up 15.4 percent of the population. 

In Boston’s 200-year history, only white men have ever served as mayor. 

These new leaders are showing their communities and our young people other ways to lead.

“[Boston Mayor-elect Michelle Wu] has also shown us that you can do it differently... what we understand to be political leaders, they’re often white, they’re male, they’re loud,” Diana Hwang, founder of the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative (AAWPI), said. “She will even say ‘I was none of those things.’”


Curated News

Asian Americans were elected to lead 3 cities as mayor. Here’s what made that possible. | NBC News  The election results in Boston, Cincinnati and Seattle say a lot about the country's changing political landscape.

Asian American leaders want Cupertino vice mayor to apologize for comments on Chinese Exclusion Act | The Mercury News  The vice mayor says her comments in an email thread about critical race theory were taken out of context.

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan struck and killed by motorist | San Francisco Chronicle  “During her 30-year career in public service, Supervisor Chan had been a staunch advocate for children, families, the elderly, affordable housing, and health care for the uninsured.”

Mother of toddler killed by stray bullet pleads for help in finding shooter | NBC News  Jasper Wu, nearly 2, was asleep in his car seat with his mother at the wheel when he was shot last week in California.

WATCH: Biden meets virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping | PBS NewsHour  “I stand ready to work with you, Mr. President, to build consensus, take active steps and move China-U.S. relations forward in a positive direction,” said Xi, who called Biden his “old friend.”

China and India will have to explain themselves on coal, COP26 president says | CNBC News  After eleventh hour interventions from India and China, the pact now refers to the “phase down” of coal, rather than the “phase out” of coal, as originally proposed.

A Chinese Tennis Star Accuses a Former Top Leader of Sexual Assault  | New York Times  Peng Shuai’s accusation against Zhang Gaoli takes the country’s budding #MeToo movement to the top echelons of the Communist Party for the first time. Concerns now grow as she has not been heard from since.

Amna Nawaz Takes up Space and Tells Stories | Center for Asian American Media  "It just clicked that this was a form of public service. This was someplace I could tell stories and use my natural curiosity and my desire to travel and to be close to things."


Our newest video called “A Tale of Two Countries: China and U.S. Demographics
compares U.S. and China data to gain a better understanding of China today



  • Save the dates for two upcoming WEBINARS on these hot topics:
    • December 15 at 10 am PT (1 pm ET) 
      In what ways have blockbusters such as “Shang-Chi,” “Eternals,” or “Squid Game” – Netflix's #1 show of all time – expanded Asian and AAPI representation in American mainstream media? Join the 1990 Institute and Serica Initiative as we gather film industry and culture experts to demystify changing notions of gender, superheroes, and AAPI representation in entertainment. Details to come!
    • January 20 at 4 pm PT (7 pm ET) – New Date!
      Don’t miss this panel featuring Asian American women journalists who have brought the AAPI community to the forefront in conversations on race, ethnicity, and identity. Save the date as the 1990 Institute and U.S.-China Education Trust (USCET) present “Reframing Perceptions: Asian American Women Journalist Trailblazers” – with former CNN anchor and the Poynter Institute’s Joie Chen, CBS News’ Senior White House Correspondent Weijia Jiang, activist/former journalist Helen Zia, and 1990 Advisory Council member Mei Fong from Human Rights Watch. More info will be shared soon.
  • Have you seen our new "CHINA IN PERSPECTIVE" VIDEO SERIES yet? These videos provide interesting and insightful information about contemporary China to better understand this complex and intriguing country of 1.4 billion people. 
    • A Tale of Two Countries: China and U.S. Demographics” compares the two biggest economies in the world – did you know that the total land masses of the two countries are approximately equal but China has 4.4 times as many people? What strengths and disadvantages follow? This video puts in perspective a wealthy country like the U.S. and a developing country like China to show that what happens in each country can impact each other and the world. Watch it here.
    • China by the Numbers: If China Were a Country of 100 People” gives a general overview of the demographic breakdown of the Chinese population, from wealth distribution to education, from social media to video game usage, and more! See the video here.
  • The latest episode of our BUND TO BROOKLYN PODCAST welcomes Jin Ding (she/they) – former journalist, Chinese Storytellers co-founder, and program manager at the Associated Press. Jin joins us to share their experiences as a community builder and an advocate for diversity in journalism, as well as their journey understanding their cultural identity (as a Chinese immigrant to America) and gender through the lenses of both cultures. Listen to Episode 5: Gender, Community Building and Fighting for Diversity with Jin Ding and share your thoughts on the podcast with us!

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


1990 Institute
P.O. Box 383  | San Francisco, California 94104


Copyright 2021 The 1990 Institute. All rights reserved. 

Follow Us


Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser

Unsubscribe or Manage Your Preferences