Happy Lunar New Year’s Day from all of us here at the 1990 Institute. We wish you and yours good health and good fortune in this Year of the Tiger. And happy anniversary to our 1990 Institute Newsletter, which we launched last Lunar New Year’s Day. We have a full year of programs and events ahead and started off with an enlightening and honest discussion last week with a panel of trailblazing Asian American women journalists. If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording here. Thanks for your continued support of the 1990 Institute and newsletter. Please share this newsletter with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe.
How can we stand up and speak out together for our communities this Lunar New Year’s season?
By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
My friend Tamiko invited me to give a talk about Chinese Lunar New Year’s traditions for a group of Chinese American aunties and grandmas in San Francisco. I was a little intimidated. I give a lot of talks about Chinese New Year’s traditions, but usually to kids. I worried about what these Chinese American aunties and grandmas would think if they already knew everything that I presented? Or if they did things differently in their family? China is a very big place and Chinese Americans have a very long history, so I started by acknowledging the many regional and generational variations.
Afterwards, we had a great conversation about variations on themes along the lines of “My mother said you absolutely have to do it this way, and my mother-in-law said that you absolutely have to do it the opposite way.” (So that auntie does it both ways, just to be safe).
Nevertheless, Lunar New Year’s season is a time of fresh starts and new beginnings.
Perfect timing for the U.S. Justice Department to finally drop all the charges against MIT Professor Gang Chen after more than two years of investigation. “While I am relieved that my ordeal is over,” Chen said. “I am mindful that this terribly misguided China Initiative continues to bring unwarranted fear to the academic community, and other scientists still face charges.”
One of the things I love about Chinese Lunar New Year’s traditions is that no one sits around passively waiting and hoping for good fortune, but takes steps – from red envelopes to lion dances -- to make sure that it arrives.
Last week, 1990 Institute hosted a great webinar discussion on Reframing Perceptions: Asian American Women Journalist Trailblazers with journalists Joie Chen, Weija Jiang, Helen Zia, and Mei Fong.
Helen Zia talked about how today there are more than 23 million Asian Americans and anti-Asian American hate crimes are happening across communities, so change will only come if we all stand together and find ways to speak up in solidarity. “We know we're in for a rough ride,” Zia said. The geopolitics do not look good for U.S.-China [relations] and other Asian Americans. We know how history has played that out before. And to avoid repeating history, the only thing we really have control over is us and our communities, and being able to educate others, but also to stand up. And we have to.
WATCH Ajumma EXP dance in their first flashmob in two years, in celebration of Korean American Day.
From MLK to Silicon Valley, how the world fell for ‘father of mindfulness’ | The Guardian Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who died at 95, gave his movement a global reach and influence.
All charges against China Initiative defendant Gang Chen have been dismissed | MIT Technology Review MIT professor Gang Chen was one of the most prominent scientists charged under the China Initiative, a Justice Department effort meant to counter economic espionage and national security threats.
Japanese Americans Join the Struggle for Black Reparations | The Root “One, it is the right thing to do; two, it is long overdue; and three, because we know it is possible,” said Kathy Masaoka.
FDNY Lieutenant Shares Subway Safety Tips after Deadly Times Square Shove | NBC New York After Michelle Go was pushed to her death in front of a subway train, the first Asian American woman firefighter to join New York’s fire department, Sarinya Srisakul, shares her expertise on subway safety.
Biden has first formal talks with Japanese PM Kishida to discuss North Korea and China concerns | PBS NewsHour President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held their first formal talks as they face concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program and China’s growing military assertiveness.
Beijing residents disappointed Olympics will be closed event | PBS NewsHour Beijing residents will not be able to attend Beijing Winter Olympics events because of coronavirus restrictions and lockdown.
New Jersey becomes second state to require Asian American history to be taught in schools | CNN "All children deserve to know they belong. All children deserve to feel safe. This law will help ensure Asian Americans are represented in our great American story."
How misidentifying an Asian man led to a false murder conviction and a movement | NBC News “Free Chol Soo Lee," premieres at Sundance Film Festival and tells the story of a Korean immigrant who was exonerated after years in prison. His wrongful murder conviction led to a movement for justice.
This Sunday, January 30, is a national day of remembrance and action for victims of anti-AAPI hate. Find more information at: asianjusticerally.org
- WEBINAR RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE – We kicked off the New Year with an exciting webinar on January 20 called “Reframing Perceptions: Asian American Women Journalist Trailblazers.” In case you missed it, you can watch a recording of the webinar and also explore additional reference materials on the topic here. We were joined by four trailblazing and inspirational journalists. Mei Fong, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and a member of our 1990 Institute Advisory Council, moderated a discussion with Helen Zia, an award-winning author, former journalist, and a key figure in the Asian American civil rights movement; Joie Chen; former journalist at CNN and CBS News and now a Senior Advisor and Faculty member at Poynter Institute for Media Studies; and Weijia Jiang, Senior White House Correspondent at CBS News. They had an enlightening conversation about their work in journalism, covering major stories including a rise in anti-Asian hate, how journalists can help all of us understand what it means to be Asian in America, and how their reporting affects the way Americans perceive Asian Americans. This event was co-hosted with the U.S.-China Education Trust.
- PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS – Join a nationwide movement to stand up for Asian justice on January 30, 2022. In honor of AAPI victims and marking one year from the day Vicha Ratanapakdee died from his injuries after being violently attacked walking in his San Francisco neighborhood, the Asian Justice Rally will be held on Sunday, January 30. The Asian Justice Rally will empower and inspire, while also bringing together community leaders to mourn the AAPI victims we have lost. Simultaneous rallies have been organized across six of the largest cities that have been most impacted by Asian hate: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET. Two of the organizations that the 1990 Institute is proud to have as partners are local organizers of these events: Stand With Asians and The Yellow Whistle.
- NEW VIDEO – We’re launching a new video next week in honor of Lunar New Year, the Year of the Tiger! Have you ever wondered why it’s the year of the tiger and what that means? Ancient civilizations saw the same constellations and developed different zodiacs – why? We have a fun video in store on the similarities and differences between Chinese and Western zodiacs. In the meantime, check out our YouTube channel for other videos on China, Chinese culture, and Asian Americans.
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