April 8, 2022

Volume 2, Issue 7

Dear Friends,

Happy National Poetry Month and Ramadan Mubarak! 

We have two new videos; both include interviews you won’t want to miss. The first video is with our 1990 Institute board member Tian He as he shares the surreal moment that led him to co-found Stand with Asians. The second video includes candid interviews with millennials in China discussing what's important to them and their thoughts about America. The deadline for our essay contest with UC San Diego has been extended to April 16. Check out all the news in our Spotlight section below.  

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.


Hear from millennials in Shanghai as they share their perspectives on life and their American counterparts in our new video, “Chinese Millennials: Reflections on Life and America.”


How do stories and poems bring us together during National Poetry Month?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang


I had the great fortune to take part in a staged reading of a hilarious new sitcom pilot, “Strings,” written by writers Lisa Chiu and Claire Robinson May, at Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia last month. I was in Philadelphia for a writers conference and book signing, and my good friend, writer Grace Hwang Lynch, told me to go with her, so I went.

The next thing I know, I am cast as an auntie at a Chinese hair salon, and I am soon shaking my head and tsk tsking with Amah at the younger generation’s ignorance and hubris. I know this character well. I change her name from “Older Chinese stylist” to “Haircut Auntie.” Unbeknownst to the authors, I have written many poems about my “Adventures with the Haircut Aunties.” 

A few days later, I attend a panel of Taiwanese American writers, who talk about the intergenerational trauma of being a thrice colonized people. The details are specific and lingering. Japanese nicknames. Punishments for not speaking Mandarin. Fear. I ache at the way that language can become such knives and inflict such wounds. Yet everyone in the room laughs out loud together at the same moments, the same jokes. We share the same relatives, the same stories. The room fills with our sadness and expands in our joy as we create community over stories and Taiwanese bentos. 

April is National Poetry Month and I think about the many Asian Americans who entered the U.S. through the Angel Island Immigration Station just outside of San Francisco. Many were separated from their loved ones and held for months while being questioned repeatedly. The pain of this long incarceration is carved into the walls in the form of beautiful poems. 

Detained in this wooden house for several tens of days,
It is all because of the Mexican exclusion law which implicates me.
It’s a pity heroes have no way of exercising their prowess.
I can only await the word so that I can snap Zu’s whip.

The 2022 China Focus Essay Contest – organized by China Focus and jointly hosted by the 1990 Institute, the 21st Century China Center, and the Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China – once again offers an opportunity for college students attending U.S. or Chinese universities to write about challenges facing both U.S. and China. 

And once again, writing bridges the gaps between us.


You have another chance to enter the essay contest and win $1,000! See details here.


Curated News

Indian American ‘Summer of Soul’ Producer Joseph Patel Calls Chris Rock ‘a F—ing Dick’ for Calling Him ‘White Guy’ During Oscars | Variety  “The reason that makes me SO SO VERY ANGRY is because I was so proud to be one of a handful of South Asians to have ever won an Oscar in the history of the award.”

ESSAY: Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) | Film Freak Central  “When I tell my parents' story to myself, I never tell it as a love story. It's an immigrant story…I didn't understand their story was a love story.”

Kumu hula Edith Kanakaʻole to appear on US quarter next year | Hawaii Public Radio  Renowned kumu hula, composer, and chanter Edith Kanaka’ole was a key figure in the Hawaiian Renaissance movement of the 1970s.

Sweet San Francisco memories: Benkyodo mochi shop closes after 115 years | KTVU  "We're talking about the 115-year history here of Japantown marking all the events whether it's prewar, the establishment of Japantown in 1906, all the way up to the war."

China orders millions in Shanghai to shelter in place as COVID cases surge | PBS NewsHour  Shanghai is under lockdown as of last Friday, as COVID cases continue to surge in China’s financial capital. 

China rejects sanctions as Ukraine war tops summit agenda | PBS NewsHour  China renewed criticism of Western sanctions against Russia, as top European Union officials sought assurances that Beijing would not help Moscow circumvent economic measures imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. investigators head to China to aid in plane crash probe | PBS NewsHour  U.S. accident investigators arrived in China on Saturday to help authorities look for clues into what caused last month’s crash of a Boeing jetliner with 132 people aboard.

Asian Americans call out Rep. Tim Ryan for airing ad that's 'rife with Sinophobia' |NBC Asian America  “Creating a villainous country and claiming that that’s the reason why Ohio has lost manufacturing jobs — not only is that bad policy, it’s racist.”

Data reveal power of Asian American organizing and how hate crimes broadly affect Asian American, Black, and other communities of color | AAPI Data  The groundwork for solidarity among non-white groups to work together to decrease hate crimes is evidenced by survey results.


See our profile and video with Tian He, co-founder of Stand With Asians. Visit New Asian American Voices.



  • NEW VIDEO CHINESE MILLENNIALS: REFLECTIONS ON LIFE AND AMERICADo you wonder if the way your counterparts in China think is different from what’s shown in the news? We sent a film team onto the streets of Shanghai to conduct a sampling of candid interviews to find out what people think about their lives and about America. You may be surprised at some of the answers. Most think Americans are free, open, and inclusive – do you agree? They love Apple products – who knew? Watch our new video, “Chinese Millennials: Reflections on Life and America,” to hear what they had to say. What do you think of their observations? For more in-depth information and a discussion guide, please visit our Reference Library, which provides educational materials on this topic, including lesson plans and additional resources for teachers.
  • NEW VIDEO TIAN HE AND STAND WITH ASIANS Tian He is a 1990 Institute board member and the co-founder of Stand With Asians, a volunteer group that is making a long-term impact on the AAPI community through awareness campaigns, fundraising, and the ongoing support of community leaders and grassroots groups. We interviewed Tian about the surreal moment when he learned that a college friend had been attacked in Manhattan's Chinatown in February 2021, which led him to write a blog post about his frustration, fear, and sadness. Within a month, he and a group of friends formed Stand With Asians and organized a day-long campaign on March 26, 2021 to raise awareness of the impact of anti-Asian hate. See a video of our interview with Tian and our profile on New Asian American Voices on Instagram, where we highlight unsung Asian American stories.
  • ESSAY CONTEST DEADLINE EXTENDED TO APRIL 16 Undergraduate and graduate students and recent university grads have another chance to win $1,000 through the China Focus Essay Contest. The deadline has been extended to April 16. The essay contest offers two topics and awards two prizes of $1,000 for each topic. This contest is jointly sponsored by the 1990 Institute, the 21st Century China Center at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy, and the Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China. It's organized by China Focus, an online publication at UC San Diego. Find full details on how to enter here.
  • JOB OPENINGS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND MARKETING MANAGERWe are seeking a passionate, strategic, and entrepreneurial Executive Director to build our impact through fundraising, marketing, and key collaborative partnerships. This person will lead and concentrate on the execution and implementation of both the vision and strategy for the organization. Those interested in the ED position should submit a resume and a cover letter to Azzani Search Consultants. Please email Tarek Azzani at tazzani@azzanisearch.com. Eunice Azzani is available for questions at (415) 987-3300. See details here. We also have an open Marketing Manager position. The right candidate should have demonstrated success leading social media marketing efforts for nonprofit organizations and hands-on experience with relevant marketing tools. Find more information and apply here.

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


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



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