June 30, 2023

Volume 3, Issue 13 

Dear Friends,

Bucking decades of precedent, the United States Supreme Court has struck down affirmative action, leaving universities unable to consider race as a factor in their admissions process. This ruling did not need to be a yes or no issue. The 1990 Institute strongly believes that Asian Americans and others who have felt unfairly treated as a result of affirmative action could have had their concerns addressed without striking down the entire premise of considering race as part of the admissions process. Please read our full statement.

In other news, we just completed our Teachers Workshop on the important and complex topic of U.S.-China Relations: Coexistence in a Changing World” and we’ll share the recording of the June 28 event as soon as it is available. In conjunction with our news talk show, “ChatAAPI,” we released the full interview of host Joe Wong and author Paula Yoo on events that mobilized the Asian American Movement to mark the anniversary of Vincent Chin’s death (June 23, 1982) and honor his legacy. We also created several entertaining and informative bite-size videos on topics related to Chinese history, and we have a sneak peek of our upcoming video on the cultural significance of the mahjong tile game.

Scroll down to the Spotlight section to find out all that’s new at the 1990 Institute. And please share this newsletter with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe.


Writer and activist Paula Yoo shares her research and insights into pivotal moments in the Asian American Movement and what propels it today. Watch this compelling discussion on YouTube titled “Events that Mobilized the Asian American Movement: A Conversation with Author Paula Yoo.”


How do we build connections and relationships across differences?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

I was in Chicago this past weekend for a performance about Angel Island with IS/LAND Asian American Performance Collaborative. Contrasting the poems of bitterness and longing carved into the walls of the Angel Island barracks with the harsh legalese of the Chinese Exclusion Act and endless interrogation questions, the dancers and I wanted to make connections with immigration issues happening today — at the southern border, refugees and asylum seekers are risking everything for the chance of a better life. 

During the talk back with the audience, a Black woman said that she had thought about the murder of George Floyd and how people of color are asked so many random questions that try to trip us up as we are repeatedly asked to justify our presence in this country, in this space. 

And it reminded me how we are always stronger together.

This past weekend was also the 41st anniversary of the 1982 death of 27-year-old Chinese American Vincent Chin, who was beaten to death with a baseball bat by two white autoworkers at a time of intense competition from Japanese automakers and heightened anti-Japanese sentiment. The killers were fined $3,000 and never spent a day in jail. The Asian American community — together with Black and Jewish communities — came together to fight for justice for Vincent Chin

We find ourselves in a similar moment, this time the sentiment of the day is anti-Chinese, made worse by U.S.-China tensions, with bans of land purchased by Chinese nationals, bans of African American studies while approving Asian American studies, and fights over affirmative action

Secretary Blinken's visit and his reception by the Chinese government marks the attempt to put a halt to deteriorating US-China Relations,” said Grace Yu, 1990 Institute Chair. “It is a start of a process to improve U.S.-China relations and there is a lot of work that needs to be done on both sides to move the bilateral relationship away from open hostility to strategic cooperation.”

At home, Asian Americans are standing up in solidarity with others.

“Vincent Chin’s brutal murder 41 years ago, and the blatant miscarriage of justice of his killers, mobilized Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across ethnicities, cultures, and classes to come together and start the first-ever national pan-Asian movement to demand equality,” said Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus chair Rep. Judy Chu. “As we honor Vincent’s life, we must renew our resolve to combat racism and bigotry in all forms. This is especially critical after three years of anti-Asian hate and at this current moment of heightened rhetoric around the U.S.-China relationship resulting in racial profiling, xenophobia, and extremist targeting.”

In Pixar’s new animated film, “Elemental,” Korean American Peter Sohn — known for being the model for Russell in “Up” — tells a familiar Asian American story, with the struggles and sacrifices of the older generation, the weight of obligation and honor for the younger generation, and how love bridges racial and generational divides as different groups of immigrants come together to forge a new society. 

Together, we create something new. 



Did you watch dragon boat races or eat zongzi (sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves) for the Dragon Boat Festival on June 23? Find out how this holiday is celebrated in Asian communities around the world and learn more about Chinese history and Asian American culture in our series of bite-size videos. See Spotlight below for details.


Curated News

Justice Department says new Florida law restricting Chinese land ownership is unconstitutional | Politico  The legal action by the department is just the latest skirmish between the Biden administration and Ron DeSantis in recent years.

Supreme Court guts affirmative action, effectively ending race-conscious admissions | NPR  The U.S. Supreme Court has found that Harvard and the University of North Carolina's admissions policy violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, reversing decades of precedent allowing universities to consider race as one of many factors in deciding which qualified applicants to admit.

Blinken finds a groove with China: but will positive vibes endure? | Responsible Statecraft  On Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s two-day visit to China, Washington and Beijing managed to have rational, forward-looking conversations about their relationship. 

Opinion: Affirmative action isn’t hurting Asian Americans. Here’s why that myth survives | Los Angeles Times  Janelle Wong and Viet Thanh Nguyen write that AAPI Data’s research does not reveal any Asian American penalty in college admissions, and not a single Asian American student has testified that they faced discrimination in the high profile Harvard case.

How the World Sees Your Father | This American Life  LA writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh discovers that a local rock band has recorded a song about her own father, wildly misinterpreting who he is. They think he's a free spirit; she believes he's a worried, miserly grump. She, the band, and her father discuss.

Why Chinese students are taking graduation photos looking ‘more dead than alive’ | CNN  A record 11.6 million college students are expected to enter China’s job market this summer, but urban youth unemployment is at record levels, and an influx of new job seekers will only increase the competition.

Some see the U.S.-China rivalry as an 'existential struggle.' Rep. Andy Kim disagrees | NPR  Ahead of Blinken's China visit, Rep. Andy Kim, who sits on the House China panel, disagrees with its chair's characterization of the rivalry and he calls for more regular engagement.

China owns 380,000 acres of land in the U.S. Here's where | All Things Considered  Chinese-owned land is a tiny fraction of all foreign-owned land in the U.S., but purchases have raised fears that the Chinese government could have control through Chinese corporations, over U.S. assets, or information.

Biden defends calling China’s Xi a ‘dictator’ | PBS NewsHour  President Biden said that his comments did not undermine the U.S. relationship with China and that he expects to meet with Xi in the future.

‘We’re 1.8 billion people in the world’: the website that found a refreshing way to tell a community’s story | The Guardian  Snigdha Sur’s website the Juggernaut focuses on all things South Asian – but it’s not about representation as much as it is about noticing stories.

Opinion: The Transformers: How Chan Is Missing Led to Better Luck Tomorrow Led to Everything Everywhere All at Once | Film Quarterly  Filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña discusses how these three films each indicated that something gloriously new and essentially Asian American was on the creative horizon.


The iconic tile game of mahjong has retained its popularity and captivated the interest of over 600 million people around the world. Our upcoming video exploring mahjong’s history and impact is coming soon – but you can see a sneak peek.



  • EVENTS THAT MOBILIZED THE ASIAN AMERICAN MOVEMENT: A CONVERSATION WITH AUTHOR PAULA YOOPaula Yoo, author and activist, is interviewed by Joe Wong, comedian and "ChatAAPI" talk show host, in this altogether informative, compassionate, lighthearted, and compelling dialogue. Paula shares with us details from her book, “From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement,” and little-known facts regarding the tragic 1982 Vincent Chin murder and its legacy, the 1992 Los Angeles uprising, and the 2021 Atlanta spa shootings. She also talks about the events that energized the Asian American movement and what continues to propel it today. You can check out a teaser clip, and then head to YouTube to see the full interview, “Events that Mobilized the Asian American Movement: A Conversation with Author Paula Yoo.”
  • LEARN ABOUT CHINESE CULTURE AND HISTORY IN OUR BITE-SIZE VIDEOS – The 1990 Institute created several bite-size educational videos (about one-minute long each) that explore interesting facts in Chinese history and celebrate Chinese and Asian American culture. First, find out the history of the Dragon Boat Festival and how it’s celebrated today in Asian communities around the world. Next, learn how Zheng Yi Sao, a woman considered one of the world’s most successful pirates, dominated the South China Sea in the early 19th century as the commander of the Red Flag Fleet. Then, join us in exploring the astounding ways ancient Chinese monks and mathematicians used to keep track of their hours, days, and years using fire, water, and metal.
  • EXPLORE HOW MAHJONG BRINGS CULTURES AND COMMUNITIES TOGETHER – Whether you grew up playing the Chinese tile game called mahjong or are new to it, you’ll want to watch our upcoming video on how mahjong connects Asian diaspora and families across generations and has grown in popularity to unite many diverse groups in America. Enjoy a sneak peak in advance of the launch next month.
  • NEW ASIAN AMERICAN VOICES HIGHLIGHTS UNSUNG STORIES AND VOICESNew Asian American Voices featured artist and activist Bernice Bing with new photos from an exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the first in a series championing the work of under-recognized modern artists. Bernice Bing was one of several people featured as part of a Pride Month celebration this month. Other recent stories featured Asian American pioneer Polly Bemis who lived in Idaho in the late 18th and early 19th century and AAPI Youth Rising, a student-led organization speaking out on inclusive education, youth mental health, and safety. Follow.New Asian American Voices for more enlightening stories and profiles.

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


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



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