December 1, 2023

Volume 3, Issue 24 

Dear Friends,

Teaching media literacy and critical thinking has never been more vital. A new law in California will require all K-12 students to learn media literacy skills, including identifying fake news, distinguishing ads from news reports, and recognizing misinformation. California joins at least 17 other state legislatures that have made steps to prioritize media literacy education in schools.

The 1990 Institute could not be more pleased to have organized such a timely November 15 Teachers Workshop, “Media Narratives: Evaluating U.S.-China Headlines.” Watch as recognized names in reporting discuss how the media can shape public perceptions, especially with regards to the complex U.S.-China relationship, as well as share their firsthand experiences, both in the U.S. and overseas. Bochen Han (South China Morning Post), Kaiser Kuo, (Sinica Podcast), and Amy Qin (New York Times), along with New York City educator Willie Ho, shared advice for aspiring journalists, students, and their teachers to support learning on media literacy, cross-cultural understanding, and responsible news consumption. Follow the 1990 Institute on Instagram for upcoming tidbits from the workshop.

December 17 marks the 80th anniversary of a law repealing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. (A yearly limit of 105 Chinese immigrants remained until 1965.) The Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943, also known as the Magnuson Act, was signed into law on December 17, 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 1990 Institute cosigned an open letter calling for the White House to issue a statement of apology on this important 80th anniversary milestone. The letter, drafted by United Chinese Americans, expresses that, “Such an apology would not only acknowledge the historic wrong committed against our communities but also serve as a powerful step towards healing and unity. It would send a clear message that the United States stands against discrimination, racism, hate, and all forms of injustice.” To commemorate the historic anniversary and celebrate the progress in equal rights for all Americans, including Asian Americans, CRCEA80, a coalition of seven civic organizations, is hosting a national conference on December 5 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Registration is open for in-person or free online admission. And learn more about the impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the long history of exclusionary laws in “Exclusion: The Asian American Experience,” and allies, such as Frederick Douglass, who spoke up for the rights of Asian Americans before and after the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

And if you love the 1990 Institute’s resources and content, please donate to help us continue, and share this newsletter with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe.


We had a great turnout for our November 15 Teachers Workshop,“Media Narratives: Evaluating U.S.-China Headlines,” an important conversation on how the media can shape public perceptions in the context of U.S.-China relations with tips on evaluating news reporting. The recording is on YouTube.


How can a good cup of chai make any book better?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

I finally learned how to make chai. 

My friend Maneesha taught me years ago, but my chai never turns out right. I make too many substitutions, I use the wrong kind of tea, the pot boils over and burns. I finally realize that the problem is that when I am in the kitchen, I am never only doing one thing. I am always doing three things at once — cooking while also washing dishes and taking out the compost and opening the mail and calling the children. Chaos. The key to good chai, like so much, is to stop everything and pay attention. 

Then while my family searches for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, I sit down with my good cup of chai and read a book. If you are looking for holiday gift ideas, here are some books by Asian American authors that came out this year.


The Golden Screen: The Movies That Made Asian America by Jeff Yang, foreword by Michelle Yeoh, afterword by Jon M. Chu.  A 'cheer out loud' for the films that made Asian America that celebrates and examines the history of Asian Americans on the big screen, exploring how iconic films have shaped Hollywood, representation, and American culture. Head over to New Asian American Voices to read more about Jeff Yang.

Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant: A Memoir by Curtis Chin. "Vivid, moving, funny, and heartfelt, Curtis Chin’s memoir showcases his talents as an activist and a storyteller. This is one man’s story of growing up gay, Chinese American, and working class in 1980s Detroit, finding a place in a large and loving immigrant family and in a changing city – and in doing so, carving out a place in the world for himself," wrote Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers. Most Anticipated Book this Fall in TIME, San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, and more.

A Man of Two Faces by Viet Thanh Nguyen. This highly original, blistering, and unconventional memoir was longlisted for the 2023 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Here’s more about Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer.

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American History, Art, and Culture in 101 Objects edited by Theodore S. Gonzalves, forwards by Erika Lee and Lonnie G. Bunch III. A rich and compelling introduction to the history of Asian Pacific American communities as told through 101 objects, from a fortune cookie baking mold to the debut Ms. Marvel comic featuring Kamala Khan. Interview with Emil Guillermo.

Teaching the Invisible Race: Embodying a Pro-Asian American Lens in Schools by Tony DelaRosa, foreword by Liz Kleinrock. How teachers can embody a pro-Asian American lens in the classroom while combating anti-Asian hate in schools, with stories, case studies, research, and frameworks needed to teach Asian American history and stories. Interviews with Harvard EdCast and the University of Wisconsin School of Education


The Museum of Failures by Thrity Umrigar. Surprising, devastating, and ultimately a story of redemption and healing still possible between a mother and son, a much-needed reminder that forgiveness comes from empathy for others. A Book Riot Best Book of 2023.

Lies and Other Love Languages by Sonali Dev. An emotional story of three women navigating ugly truths and safe lies with only love to guide them on a journey of motherhood, friendship, and life. Kirkus Reviews writes, “Deception and tenderness mingle in this touching story.”

Evergreen: A Japantown Mystery by Naomi Hirahara. A Japanese American nurse’s aide navigates the dangers of post-WWII and post-Manzanar life as she attempts to find justice for a broken family.  A follow-up to the Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning Clark and Division. “A thought-provoking noir with a searing period flavor,” writes Kirkus Reviews. An Amazon Best Mystery/Thriller of the Month and CrimeReads Best Historical Fiction of 2023 (So Far). Learn about Naomi Hirahara and her previous books.

Murder and Mamon: A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery by Mia P. Manansala. When murder mars the grand opening for Lila Macapagal’s aunties’ new laundromat, she will have to air out all the dirty laundry in Shady Palms to catch a killer before the killer strikes again. “Sorry, other food cozies. You can’t hold a candle to this mouthwatering franchise,” writes Kirkus Reviews.

Poetry, cookbooks, and children’s books next time.



Love books and want to learn how to foster nuanced dialogue that encourages inclusive community building in the classroom and beyond? Watch the recording of “Teaching Asian American Narratives Through Literature.”


Curated News

Hmong New Year traditions in the U.S. recall ancestral spirits while teaching new generations | PBS NewsHour  During the new year, celebrated in November and December by Hmong Americans, shamans send off their spirit guides to regenerate their energy for another season of healing.

Post-affirmative action, Asian American families are more stressed than ever about college admissions | LA Times  Race-conscious admissions were widely seen to have disadvantaged Asian Americans, but many feel that race will still be a hidden factor and that standards are even more opaque than before.

Court rules that only U.S. government can sue to enforce Voting Rights Act | The Guardian  A shock ruling from an Republican-appointed appeals court prevents outside groups or citizens seeking to enforce voting rights law.

1 in 3 U.S. Asians and Pacific Islanders faced racial abuse this year, AP-NORC/AAPI Data poll shows | Associated Press  Despite ongoing advocacy and legislation to combat anti-Asian racism that arose after the pandemic, about a third of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders say they have experienced an act of abuse based on their race or ethnicity in the last year.

COP28: where does China stand on coal and renewable energy ahead of the UN climate conference’s tough negotiations? | South China Morning Post  China will face pressure to step up its own renewable energy targets and help less developed nations make progress on theirs, but it is unlikely to commit to more when it comes to phasing out coal, analysts say. COP28 Has Big Agenda but Won’t Have Biden, Xi. 

Respiratory infection clusters in China not caused by novel virus, says health ministry | The Guardian  Data supplied to the World Health Organization says flu and other known pathogens are culprits.

More pandas will be coming to the U.S., China's president signals | NPR  "We are ready to continue our cooperation with the United States on panda conservation, and do our best to meet the wishes of the Californians so as to deepen the friendly ties between our two peoples," Xi said after meeting Biden.

China says it’s built the world’s fastest internet network | CNN  The network – which can travel at about 1.2 terabits (or 1,200 gigabits) each second – is fast enough to transfer data from 150 movies in one second, according to Chinese tech manufacturer Huawei.

Chinese company gives leftover hotpot oil second life as jet fuel | Channel News Asia  With 150,000 tons of used hotpot oil thrown out by restaurants in Chengdu each year, Sichuan Jinshang Environmental Protection has found a niche processing the greasy waste and exporting it to be turned into jet fuel.

My Job Is Teaching the Next Generation of Voyagers | Hawaii Business Magazine  Bonnie Kahape‘a-Tanner helped found the Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy, which uses a double-hulled sailing canoe in its Hawaiian culture programs.

Ke Huy Quan reveals how 'The Goonies' inspired his 'Loki' character | Variety  "So many fans have come up to me, and the most asked question was 'Will there be a ‘Goonies 2’? And what is Data doing as an adult?' This character of Ouroboros is kind of my answer to that," Quan told Variety.


China Institute is holding a Pedagogical Workshop for K-12 Educators on January 20, 2024 for Chinese language teachers who are passionate about teaching Chinese culture in their classrooms.



  • LEARN ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDIA LITERACY IN THE RECORDING OF “MEDIA NARRATIVES: EVALUATING U.S.-CHINA HEADLINES” – Our November 15 Teachers Workshop, “Media Narratives: Evaluating U.S.-China Headlines,” was a very informative session on how accurate information and responsible news reporting play a crucial role in shaping public perceptions. Anti-China narratives that portray China as an exaggerated threat to the welfare and way of life for U.S. residents have not only exacerbated U.S.-China tensions but yielded a sharp rise of anti-Asian American racism and violence. This workshop supported K-12 educators and their students with insights on how to evaluate reports and headlines, including identifying sources and exploring moral standards and principles that journalists follow in their reporting. For more on this thought-provoking and timely topic, visit our Reference Library, which provides information on responsible news literacy, guides for junior reporters, and more curated resources.
  • LEARN BEST PRACTICES FOR EMBRACING DIVERSE VIEWPOINTS IN BOOK DISCUSSIONS IN "TEACHING ASIAN AMERICAN NARRATIVES THROUGH LITERATURE” –  When you immerse yourself in a good book, even if the story is about someone who may seem dissimilar to you, your world is opened to different perspectives and you can recognize our shared humanity. Our Teachers Workshop on September 27 titled "Teaching Asian American Narratives Through Literature” included secondary school educators and an assistant professor in elementary education and educational justice who shared valuable insights on how to use literary works to spark meaningful discussions on Asian identity, history, and issues, with consideration to the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender, and more. Watch our short reels on Instagram with tips on dealing with objections to recommended books, why exposure to diversity of experience is crucial for today’s students, the origins of the term Asian American, and what to look for in choosing diverse books. Then head over to our Reference Library to see the recording and find more resources.
  • REGISTER FOR CHINA INSTITUTE’S PEDAGOGICAL WORKSHOP FOR K-12 EDUCATORS – How can Chinese language teachers bring a deeper understanding of Chinese cultural content to their classrooms? Jointly designed by China Institute in New York City and East China Normal University in Shanghai, the “Teacher Certificate Program: Understand Chinese Culture and Practice” is an innovative program for teachers of Chinese as a second language to expand and advance a deeper understanding of the foundations of Chinese culture, making connections of traditions and contemporary applications. In this participant-led workshop on January 24 with master teacher trainer Dr. Wei-ling Wu, workshop participants will select one cultural topic to focus on and design a sample activity plan integrating the cultural content into their classroom teaching. Apply to join this Pedagogical Workshop for K-12 Educators.

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


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


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