January 13, 2023

Volume 3, Issue 1

Happy (Western) New Year and Happy Lunar New Year, Happy MLK Day, and Happy Korean American Day today!

We hope this new year brings you good health, peace, and prosperity. We are excited to start a new year, both Western and Lunar, and have a full year of programs and events ahead. Check out our Spotlight section below to learn more about our first upcoming launch of the new year. And see Curated News for a list of books about Korean American life to share with friends and family.

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How will you start this Year of the Rabbit?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

I started this new year walking across the University of Michigan campus on the first day of classes and guest lecturing at an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history and civil rights class. There is nothing like the first day of a new semester in the new year. The air is always crisp with so much energy, so much possibility.

I showed students how to make connections between events, laws, and legal cases that happened in history to the current news of today. AAPIs are not new here, and AAPI history is a history of resistance – from the Filipinos who escaped the Spanish galleons and settled in Louisiana in the 1700s, to the Chinese railroad workers who organized one of the first labor strikes in this country in the 1800s, to the Asian American student activists who fought for voting rights and ethnic studies in the 1960s, and to all the people who came together to fight for justice for Vincent Chin in the 1980s and against Islamophobia after September 11. The COVID-inspired anti-Asian American violence of these past three years is not new. Nor is the fight at the border for asylum and immigration reform, the fight for our history to be taught, or the fight for voting rights. Our communities have been standing up for justice ever since we first arrived.

As we approach the fourth Lunar New Year’s celebration since COVID started, families are beginning to gather again and communities are beginning to hold Lunar New Year’s events again. Especially since Lunar New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday! Rare. 

After the abrupt reversal of China’s zero-COVID policies, the greatest human migration on the planet is about to occur again for Chinese New Year as China opens up domestic and international travel and people rush to see their families again.

Yet with American politicians on both sides continuing to use China and COVID-19 as political talking points, I worry. 

Especially after Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s first speech after finally being confirmed, in which he spoke about “the rise of the Chinese Communist Party,” bringing jobs back from China, and investigating the origins of COVID-19. 

But this is the Year of the Rabbit, representing mercy, peace, and generosity. And 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope. 

In contrast, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries pledged in his speech, “We will always do the right thing by the American people. So let us not grow weary of doing good, for the American people will reap the benefit of the harvest if we do not give up.”

“Throughout American history, enemies of democracy have attempted to — and sometimes succeeded in — restricting the freedom to participate in our democratic processes and silencing the will of the people. In recent decades, state legislatures passed hundreds of restrictive voting laws while the Supreme Court has routinely undermined historically bipartisan laws, like the Voting Rights Act, designed to protect the right to vote,” said Rep. Judy Chu of California as she called on Congress to re-introduce and pass the Freedom to Vote Act and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. For all of us.

So I hang a fresh new “fu” (Chinese word for good fortune) on my front door – upside down for a little Chinese wordplay on “has arrived” – and I am ready to make things happen this new year.



The Year of the Rabbit starts on January 22, 2023. Wondering how the Chinese and Western zodiac systems compare? Watch our popular video and find out: “Chinese and Western Zodiacs: So Different. So Similar.


Curated News

Celebrating National Korean American Day – January 13! | Evanston Public Library  See a list of 20+ books for preschool through middle grades to learn about Korean and Korean American history and culture.

U.S. Marine Corps compelled to allow Sikh Americans to begin basic training with turbans, beards | PBS NewsHour  In a milestone for religious freedom, the Marine Corps must immediately allow two Sikh Americans to begin basic training without shaving their heads and beards, as their faith requires.

Amna Nawaz is stepping into history at PBS, and she hopes to make room for others like her | The 19th  The former ABC and NBC news correspondent talks about being the first Muslim Pakistani-American to occupy the anchor seat, and how her identity and parenthood shaped her career. More.

A tattoo artist from China finds a new home—and opportunity—on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue. | Sahan Journal  Jessie Zhang’s thriving private studio caters to mostly female clients with a taste for botanical and nature-themed ink. 

COVID rapidly spreads in China as government eases strict quarantine rules | PBS NewsHour  After China’s government began rolling back its zero-COVID restrictions, cases are spiraling, hospitals are overburdened, medical staff are outnumbered, and crematoriums are running out of space. 

What the return of Chinese tourists means for the global economy | CNN  As China reopens, millions of tourists are poised to return to the world stage, raising hopes of a rebound for the global hospitality industry. Companies, industries, and countries that rely on Chinese tourists expect a boost in 2023.

Trustees reprimand Purdue University Northwest chancellor for racist remarks, as faculty call for his resignation | CNN  “We are not demanding his removal to punish him, we require his removal because he is not qualified to represent us,” wrote Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate Chairman Thomas Roach. A wider problem in American higher education.

Biden signs law to help preserve Japanese American WWII incarceration camps | NBC News  “The stories of so many who unjustly lost their freedom, lost property, and were forcibly uprooted from their homes should be a constant reminder of our duty to uphold the rights of every American,” said Sen. Brian Schatz, HI.

Find These Rabbit Statues Across SF To Start Your Lunar New Year Celebration | San Francisco Standard  As the Year of the Rabbit approaches, five giant rabbit sculptures will be publicly displayed across San Francisco for Lunar New Year. Find all five and post a selfie for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s photo contest

Opinion Biden Meets Xi: Why The China ‘Cold War’ Cannot End | Forbes  A return to pre-trade war U.S. China relations seems unlikely to this commentator.

One of 2022’s best books for kids is about Wuhan and pandemic cooking | The Mercury News  An author who grew up in Wuhan describes the life-saving work of food volunteers during Covid.



  • CHINESE AND WESTERN ZODIACS: SO DIFFERENT. SO SIMILAR. – Many cultures throughout history have created their own unique-yet-similar celestial systems for predicting the future – while observing the exact same stars and planets. How are the Chinese and Western zodiac systems different? How are they similar? Why have zodiacs survived? What would it look like if we merge them? Our video titled “Chinese and Western Zodiacs: So Different. So Similar” explores all these questions and includes a lighthearted section on “Prediction vs. Reality” for some of your favorite relationships in the news. Watch it here.
  • UPCOMING VIDEO ON THE HISTORICAL WAVES OF ASIAN IMMIGRATION TO THE U.S. –  In the coming months, we will be launching videos on compelling topics related to the Asian American experience and modern China. First up is a video on the waves of Asian immigration to the United States. We’ll follow the tumultuous immigration experience of the Asian diaspora, embedded within an overarching narrative of the history of U.S. immigration. Future videos will cover more about the exclusion that Asian Americans have faced, the environment, life in China today, and more. In the meantime, check out our current videos and follow us on our YouTube channel so you’ll be the first to hear when new videos launch.

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


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