March 24, 2023

Volume 3, Issue 6

Dear Friends,

Happy Ramadan and National Reading Month! We are also celebrating Wong Kim Ark Day this Saturday for the 125th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteeing birthright citizenship for all. Despite being among the early immigrants to America and an essential part of the building of America’s foundation, Asians have been excluded, discriminated against, and prevented from becoming American citizens. Learn more in our new video, “Exclusion: The Asian American Experience.” And check out our Spotlight section below to enter the 2023 Essay Contest and see what we're reading for National Reading Month.

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Our new video walks you through experiences of exclusion that immigrants from Asia have faced, from their earliest days in America to today. Learn more in “Exclusion: The Shared Asian American Experience.”


What does Wong Kim Ark’s birthright citizenship case
teach us?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Growing up, my immigrant parents often told me that someday I could be president of the United States because, unlike them, I was a “natural-born citizen.” In high school, my friends and I had our VPs and cabinets already picked out and we impatiently counted down the impossibly many years until we would finally turn 35. 

As far as we knew, our youth was the only barrier.

The law seems so straightforward on paper. The Fourteenth Amendment declares that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” And yet Asian Americans had to fight for that right.

Wong Kim Ark was a child of immigrants, born in San Francisco in 1873. When he was 17, he went to China and was allowed to return because he was a “native-born” U.S. citizen. However, when he went to China again at 21 to visit family, he was denied re-entry into the U.S. Supported by the community, his case to be recognized as a U.S. citizen went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment, in 1898, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that everyone born on U.S. soil, regardless of race and ethnicity, is a U.S. citizen.

The United States is one of the few countries that allows citizenship jus soli, or by soil, also known as birthright citizenship. 

We belong here. 

Sometimes I have to remind myself. 

This past week was the second anniversary of the tragic spa shootings in Atlanta, where eight individuals were killed, six of whom were Asian American women. Asian Americans responded with grief and fear, but also with community and resolve.

“This anniversary is painful for myself and the Asian American community, as it serves as a reminder of hate we have and continue to face,” said Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), First Vice Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). “Senseless acts of gun violence have taken away many of our loved ones, including those killed just months ago in the horrible shootings at Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. We must honor the memories of all those we have lost by working hard to create safe communities for all Americans and continuing to stand up to hate and violence wherever they occur.”

In Texas, legislators have tempered a controversial bill to prohibit citizens of China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia from buying property to now allow dual citizens and permanent residents to purchase property in the state. However, another bill now aims to prohibit Texas universities from accepting students who are citizens of China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia, or are undocumented. 

“Because we raised our voices, the [Texas Legislature] has amended #SB147, easing restrictions for dual citizens and green card holders. But it's still a fundamentally racist bill as it unfairly targets H1B visa holders, students, and refugees from exercising their full property rights,” wrote RiseAAPI, a progressive Texas-based organization.


Are you a college or graduate student or a recent grad? Enter the 2023 Essay Contest now through April 14
for a chance to win a $2,000 prize.


Curated News

The career of Chien-Shiung Wu, the ‘First Lady of Physics’ | PBS NewsHour  For Women’s History Month, here's a look at the career of Chien-Shiung Wu, a physicist who made indelible changes to her field.

Ke Huy Quan says Oscars speech was a chance to 'publicly' thank his refugee parents | NBC News  “I grew up in a family where we just don’t share our emotions with each other,” Quan told Variety. “I wanted to do that publicly. I wanted the world to know how much my parents meant to me.”

Biden commemorates the anniversary of Atlanta deadly spa shootings | NBC News  “I want you to know that I see you. My administration sees you. And we are determined to end the scourge of gun violence, anti-Asian hate, and all forms of racism and extremism in this Nation,” Biden said in a statement.

Genetic evidence gives support to theory COVID originated in Wuhan market | PBS NewsHour  Scientists say the natural transmission theory has been strengthened by new genetic evidence from the market in Wuhan, China, where there was a big COVID outbreak in December 2019.  But the origins of the virus remain uncertain.

Russia-China ties enter ‘new era’ as Xi meets Putin in Moscow | Al Jazeera  Xi signs an agreement with Russian president Vladimir Putin cementing their ‘no limits’ partnership, days after the latter was issued an international arrest warrant.

What China’s baby woes mean for its economic ambitions | BBC  China’s birth rate has been slowing for years, but in 2022 its population fell for the first time in 60 years — bad news for the world's second-largest economy, where the workforce is already shrinking and an aging population is beginning to put pressure on the state's welfare services.

Major Chinatown business and community group announces its opposition to planned Sixers arena | Philadelphia Inquirer  Surveys found more than 90% of business owners, residents, and visitors oppose the project.

From St. Paul’s East Side to the stage, Kao Kalia Yang’s ‘The Song Poet’ is first Hmong story adapted to opera | Sahan Journal  The story follows Bee Yang, whose traditional Hmong song poetry helped keep his family’s stories and hopes alive as he navigated war in Southeast Asia and life as a refugee and factory worker in Minnesota.

Randall Park on his directorial debut and Asian American representation in Hollywood | PBS NewsHour  Amna Nawaz spoke with “Fresh Off the Boat” star Randall Park about his directorial debut “Shortcomings," his long career, and the power of authentic storytelling.

Want to learn about remarkable Asian American women like Dawn Mabalon for Women’s History Month and
National Reading Month? Visit New Asian American Voices.



  • NEW VIDEO LAUNCHING TODAY: “EXCLUSION: THE SHARED ASIAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE” – Our new educational video takes you through exclusion experiences that Asians endured throughout history. Many immigrants from Asia came to the U.S. to find a better life for their families, but America did not receive them with open arms. They have been discriminated against, subjected to violence, and prevented from becoming American citizens. Laws were passed that kept them from voting, owning land, marrying the person they loved, and seeing their relatives again. Though coming from different countries and cultures, the pioneering Asians who arrived here each faced similar conditions of exclusion, which forged the beginnings of a common, shared Asian experience in America. Watch “Exclusion: The Shared Asian American Experience” today on our YouTube channel.
  • 2023 ESSAY CONTEST: DEADLINE APRIL 14 – Our annual essay contest is here! Undergraduate and graduate students and recent university grads are eligible to enter the China Focus Essay Contest, which offers two topics and awards prizes of up to $2,000 for each topic. This contest is jointly hosted by the 1990 Institute, the Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China, the Carter Center, and the 21st Century China Center and is organized by China Focus, an online publication at UC San Diego. Find full details, essay topics, and how to enter here
  • WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH AND NATIONAL READING MONTH – We are featuring notable Asian American women authors this month. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon was a historian who focused on the preservation of Filipino American history through oral histories and archives and wrote “Little Manila Is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California." Min Jin Lee wrote about the Korean and Korean American experience in her novels "Free Food for Millionaires" and "Pachinko." Learn more on New Asian American Voices.

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


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