April 7, 2023

Volume 3, Issue 7

Dear Friends,

Happy, Arab American Heritage Month, National Poetry Month, and Care Workers Recognition Month. It’s also time for Ramadan, Easter, Passover, and the Sikh New Year!

For those who participate in the Chinese tradition of Qingming, we hope you had a peaceful day on April 5. Qingming is also known as Tomb Sweeping Day and as the weather warms, it’s an opportunity to clean family gravesites and share offerings to ancestors.  

April 5 was also Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Equal Pay Day, marking the day AANHPI women “caught up” to the pay that white men received last year. Of the 25 AANHPI ethnic groups surveyed, only two had average pay that were above that of white men. The rest ranged from 48 cents to 85 cents, with an average of 80 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.

Are you a college or graduate student or a recent grad? Enter the 2023 Essay Contest now through April 14. Earth Day is coming up later this month. Watch our short video on Shanghai residents who are getting exercise by running around the city cleaning up its plastic trash. Scroll down to our Spotlight section below for details.

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We had a great turnout for our Teachers Workshop, “Asian American Trailblazers in Civil Rights,” in San Francisco on March 22 and wanted to share some photos with you! Stay tuned for the recording, coming soon!

Top right: Russell Jeung (Asian American Studies Professor, San Francisco State University, Stop AAPI Hate co-founder) and Laureen Chew (Asian American Studies Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University). Bottom right: Susana Liu-Hedberg (Executive Director, 1990 Institute), Sandra Pan (Board Secretary, 1990 Institute), Laureen Chew, Russell Jeung, and John Trasviña (former board member, 1990 Institute, and civil rights attorney). Left side, top to bottom: David Lei (community advocate and historian), Liana Szeto (Principal, Alice Fong Yu Alternative School). and Jaslene Lai and Ethan Su (AAPI Youth Rising).


Reflecting on our families’ immigration journeys on Qingming (Tomb Sweeping Day)

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

My mother and I got into an argument last week about Qingming. She said it was in March. I said it was in April, April 4 or 5. She said it was according to the lunar calendar. I said Qingming is definitely based on the solar calendar. It felt strange to be in disagreement with my mother because our elders are the ones who are supposed to know these things, but perhaps that is what happens with time — we learn more about our heritage countries and cultures, and our elders learn more about our place in America. Nevertheless, Qingming offers a moment to honor our ancestors and to reflect upon the many paths that brought us here and made us who we are. 

Sometimes I worry that the uniqueness of all our family journeys is not seen. At recent Congressional hearings, Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, was questioned by Congressional leaders about the companies’ ties to China and the threat of China using the app to spy on Americans. It did not matter that he repeatedly reminded them that he was Singaporean or that TikTok planned to store all U.S. data on U.S. soil or that some of the statements the Congressmembers were saying were incorrect. All they saw was a Chinese face and a Chinese threat. 

Sometimes we are not seen at all, except through the lens of stereotype. That same week, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, America’s top trade negotiator, was told by Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, “I personally think you’re too nice a person to be in the job that you’re in,” and that he felt sorry for her. Tai said that she has “never been faulted for being too nice,” and “I don’t need your pity. I stand up for the American people, and when I speak, people listen because I represent the interests of the United States.”

Asian Americans are both of and apart from our heritage countries and cultures (and sometimes we are all simply associated with China, regardless of our actual national origin or immigration history). Our many religious heritages also connect us in different ways. In addition to Qingming, Passover, Easter, Sikh New Year, Ramadan, and Eid al-Fitr are all happening this month. 

This month of Ramadan, Muslim families are gathering together in America and around the world to fast, pray, and reflect. “This month serves as a reminder to center ourselves in our place on the earth and as an opportunity to cleanse the body, spirit, and soul. I hope that families and communities can celebrate together and gather for iftar as they renew their faith, and I wish all those observing a blessed holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak!” said U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) in a statement.



Have you heard of plogging, an activity that combines running with trash pickup? Get ready for Earth Day later this month by watching “Plogging: Trash Runners in Shanghai.”


Curated News

Comedian Margaret Cho reflects on her career and the role of standup in activism | PBS NewsHour  Margaret Cho is a trailblazer in standup comedy and a bold and unapologetic voice on social and political matters, making people laugh and drawing attention to the issues of the day for the past 40 years. 

106-year-old Indigenous Filipino tattoo artist becomes Vogue cover model | NBC News  Whang-Od plans to continue the tradition of hand-tapping tattoos for "as long as her eyes can see." 

Protests erupt across the U.S. amid internet shutdown in India and manhunt for activist | NBC News  Sikh American activists have demonstrated in cities like Chicago, Sacramento, and New York as Indian officials search for Sikh figurehead Amritpal Singh.

More Chinese migrants are coming to the U.S. on foot, officials say | NBC News  Chinese migrants, worried about economic and government oppression, are making dangerous journeys to the U.S..

Chinese spy balloon gathered intelligence from sensitive U.S. military sites, despite U.S. efforts to block it | NBC News  The intelligence China collected was mostly from electronic signals, which can be picked up from weapons systems or include communications from base personnel.

Taiwan's president visits the U.S. amid fraught China relations | NPR  Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California. Last year, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan caused a major escalation in tensions between the U.S. and China.

WATCH: TikTok CEO grilled by skeptical lawmakers on safety, content | PBS NewsHour  U.S. lawmakers grilled the CEO of TikTok over data security and harmful content, responding skeptically to his assurances that the hugely popular video-sharing app prioritizes user safety and should not be banned.

Asian American students feel overlooked, report finds |WBUR  A new study finds that Asian American students in Boston Public High Schools are more likely to report feeling an absence of belonging and a lack of interest from teachers as compared to Black, Latino, or white students.

One of nation’s first Asian American bookstores is closing after 41 years | Berkeleyside  Berkeley’s Eastwind Books opened by UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies lecturer Harvey Dong and his wife Beatrice — which focused on justice and solidarity, published when others wouldn’t, and stocked everything from rare recordings to academic texts to martial arts paperbacks — will close on April 30. 

Pall of Suspicion | Science  The National Institutes of Health’s “China initiative” has upended hundreds of lives and destroyed scores of academic careers.

Edith Kanakaʻole commemorative U.S. quarter hits circulation | Big Island Now  Quarters with the image of the late kumu hula Edith Kanakaʻole have been released. Kanakaʻole is described as a key influence in the Hawaiian renaissance of the 1970s as she worked to preserve the Hawaiian culture and language.


The deadline for the essay contest is coming up in one week – April 14! Don’t miss your chance to share your essay on China and enter for a chance to win up to $2,000. Rules and details are here.



  • VIDEO – “PLOGGING: TRASH RUNNERS IN SHANGHAI” –  Earth Day  is on April 22! We followed Shanghai residents who are on a mission to clean up trash from their streets while also getting in some exercise and socializing. Learn about the worldwide movement called plogging (picking up litter + jogging). Trash, especially plastic waste, is a common problem in cities around the world. In China, the rapid rise in economic growth, increased wealth, purchasing power, and consumption has had an impact on its environment. See “Plogging: Trash Runners in Shanghai” on our YouTube channel and visit our Reference Library for more resources.
  • ESSAY CONTEST – DEADLINE APRIL 14 – Calling all undergraduates, graduate students, and recent university grads interested in China or U.S.-China relations! Time is running out to enter the China Focus Essay Contest, which offers two topics and awards prizes of up to $2,000 for each topic. China Focus is an online publication of UCSD’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. We are jointly hosting this contest with the Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China, the Carter Center, and the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego. Find the essay topics and full details here. You have through Friday, April 14 to enter!

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


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