February 9, 2024

Volume 4, Issue 2

Dear Friends,

Happy Lunar New Year! The Year of the Dragon starts on February 10. We wish you a year filled with the good fortune, abundance, and growth that the Wood Dragon Year brings. 

Mark your calendars! We are looking forward to an enlightening conversation at our upcoming Teachers Workshop. Please join us on March 6 at 4 pm PT / 7 pm ET for “Asian American Identity: At the Intersection of Perpetual Foreigner and Pop Culture Trendsetter.” We will examine the history of Asians in America, the complexities of Asian American identity, and the visibility and rise of Asian Americans in pop culture through movies, music, and more. We are pleased to welcome an incredible panel of experts to discuss historical and current data and dissect Asian American identity today. Registration is open! 

Scroll down to Spotlight to learn more about our workshop and panelists and all that's new at the 1990 Institute, including our Annual Report for 2023. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Lau v. Nichols, the Supreme Court’s historic decision which set the legal groundwork for multilingual education and language access services offered in public schools. The January 1974 case centered on the San Francisco Unified School District, which had approximately 2,800 non-English-speaking students, including 1,800 of Chinese descent who were not receiving needed supplemental instruction to learn English. The decision affirmed the right of English language learners to have access to meaningful education.

We will bring you a newsletter once a month in 2024. Please share our newsletters with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe. We rely on individual contributions to sustain and grow our nonprofit programming. If you are able to make a charitable contribution, we would be so grateful to continue our work toward supporting teachers and students with our resources that support a foundational understanding of Asian American studies and the complexities of U.S.-China relations.


Who are Asian Americans? Register now for our first Teachers Workshop of 2024 on the evolution of Asian American Identity. Check out the details in Spotlight below.


What will you stand up for in this Year of the Dragon?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang


I just found out that my daughter will be coming home for Lunar New Year’s weekend! We were originally just planning to wrap dumplings to keep things simple, but now with three children home for the holiday, I am taking Friday off work to cook the whole meal. And to clean the house. And to go to the bank to get crisp new bills for red envelopes. (Help!)

Yet this Lunar New Year feels heavy, at the one-year anniversary of the shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. I worry about my aunties and great aunties, all so far away. 

But this is the Year of the Dragon, no time for fear.

Unlike western dragons that breathe fire and fight knights in shining armor, Chinese dragons are water creatures that bring the spring rains so that rice planting can begin. The Lunar New Year is a time of rebirth and new beginnings. Hope and good luck. 

“As we grieved and healed this past year, I was encouraged by the remarkable stories of hope and unity; so many of my neighbors, and strangers from across the country, courageously offered support, raised money for the families affected, and helped us process the trauma,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif), who represents Monterey Park, wrote in a statement. “Immediately after the shooting, local advocates and organizations mobilized and continue to support the victims today with translation services, government resources, fundraising, and mental health care, as well as long term assistance.”

Asian American leaders and advocates keep fighting for our communities on so many fronts.

Then we saw Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark) vigorously grill TikTok CEO Shou Chew, a Singaporean citizen, over whether he was a citizen of China or affiliated with the Chinese Community Party. “No, Senator. Again, I’m Singaporean!” Chew said.

Before I can get discouraged, I remember Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on January 30. During World War II, Korematsu challenged Executive Order 9066 which resulted in the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Korematsu became a vocal advocate for the civil rights of Arab American and Muslim American communities.

“[Korematsu] filed numerous amicus briefs with the Supreme Court warning the government not to repeat its shameful mistakes of the past,” Chu wrote in a statement. “As we commemorate this day on what would have been Mr. Korematsu’s 105th birthday, we must remain vigilant to keep prejudice out of our national policies and continue speaking up for civil rights and equality for all.” Read more about Fred Koresmatsu on New Asian American Voices.

So I hope you get a big red envelope this Lunar New Year, and I hope the dragon empowers you to stand up for others this new year. 



Welcome to the Year of the Dragon, which runs from February 10, 2024 to January 28, 2025. And learn about the Chinese and Western zodiacs and in our video, “Chinese and Western Zodiacs: So Different. So Similar,” and in our short reels.


Curated News


Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Lau v. Nichols | U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs Blog  “The courage and triumph of the Chinese-speaking students in [Lau v. Nichols] has directly led to greater educational opportunities for millions of students speaking a wide range of languages all across the United States.” Read the entire U.S. Supreme Court decision

How Jenny Yang Scored Her First Action Role – Fighting Michelle Yeoh | The Hollywood Reporter  The comedian tells all about her path to Netflix’s "The Brothers Sun."

New York City's older Chinese American population faces increasing housing challenges, poverty | The World  In the Chinese American community in New York City, almost half of older adults are living in poverty, and paying rent is tough, particularly with the gentrification of Chinatown in lower Manhattan.

Supreme Court declines to immediately block West Point from considering race in admissions process | NBC News  The court denied an injunction request but said it wasn't taking a position on the "merits."

Court blocks Florida law barring Chinese citizens from owning property | NBC News  Some Republican-led states like Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama are considering similar restrictions on Chinese citizens.

Democrats urge House, Senate leadership to halt revival of Trump-era China Initiative | NBC News  “It would be both a misallocation of resources and a backsliding for civil rights to restart the China Initiative,” a letter from Democratic lawmakers to congressional leadership said. Read the 1990 Institute’s statement.

Heavy snow, rain threaten travel chaos during China’s Lunar New Year | CNN  Forecasters warn the extreme winter weather could cause mass disruption as the Lunar New Year holiday traditionally sees the nation pause as migrant workers pile onto trains, planes and buses to go home to see their families.

Biotech is the new focus in U.S.-China tech rivalry | Axios  The need to quash outbreaks, quickly create medicines, stress-proof crops and fend off other 21st century threats is providing a lucrative arena for biotech companies. But its infrastructure is increasingly at the center of geopolitics.

U.S. and China commit to tackling fentanyl trafficking in a sign of cooperation amid differences | PBS NewsHour  American and Chinese officials committed to working together to stem the flow of fentanyl into the United States, a hopeful sign of cooperation as they try to better manage their contentious ties.

‘We have made history’: Brooklyn’s first Chinese-American council member Susan Zhuang celebrates inauguration | Brooklyn Paper  City Council Member Susan Zhuang, Brooklyn’s first Chinese American representative, focuses on quality of life issues for New York City’s first Asian-majority district.

Review: An Epic Set in Xenophobic Limbo: Huang Ruo’s Angel Island | Vulture  Equal parts requiem, oratorio, and manifesto, “Angel Island” – a multimedia experience performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for 3 days in January – tells the collective story of Chinese immigrants held at a notorious detention center in San Francisco Bay. More in the New York Times: Channeling the Pain of Chinese Immigrants, in Music and Verse.

Essay: For Asian Americans, January Brings Memories of Tragedy and Hope for Change by Helen Zia | Ethnic Media Services  Memorials for those killed in attacks targeting the Asian American community are a reminder both of the pain and of how activists are turning tragedy into a chance for real change.


On New Asian American Voices, we are pleased to highlight photojournalist and actiist Corky Lee. After he passed away in early 2021, his brother gave us permission to use his photographs in our video “Exclusion: The Asian American Experience,” available on YouTube.



  • REGISTER FOR OUR NEW TEACHERS WORKSHOP ON MARCH 6  – Explore Asian American identity amid today’s dynamic cultural landscape in “Asian American Identity: At the Intersection of Perpetual Foreigner and Pop Culture Trendsetter." Join us on March 6 as we examine historical data from the Pew Research Center, explore the nuances of Asian American identity, dissect the influences of labels, and look at the visibility and rise of Asian Americans in pop culture through movies, music, and more. We will also discuss how bias and appropriation affects the community. Although geared toward middle and high school educators, this webinar is open to all who are interested and seeks to contribute to shaping a more inclusive and diverse cultural narrative. Our speakers include Neil Ruiz and Ziyao Tian from Pew Research Center, writer and journalist Jeff Yang (“The Golden Screen: The Movies that Made Asian America” and “RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now”), and education consultant Margaret Yee, formerly with the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

    Teachers who register will receive a post-workshop lesson guide filled with rich resources to prepare for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month in May. Those in the Northern California Bay Area who register and attend the workshop will be eligible for a drawing for two tickets to the Berkeley Rep’s upcoming performance of The Far Country, a critically-acclaimed play touching on immigration, identity, and memory. Secure your spot today for an opportunity to drive positive change.
  • REMEMBERING CORKY LEE – “Every time I take my camera out of my bag, it’s like drawing a sword to combat indifference, injustice, and discrimination, trying to get rid of stereotypes,” said photojournalist and activist Corky Lee. His interest in photography began in high school when he saw a 1869 photograph depicting the completed Transcontinental Railroad; however, although Chinese men had been instrumental in its construction, none were included. Corky eventually made his way to Promontory Point, Utah, where the original railroad photograph had been taken. In a bid for what he called “photographic justice,” he reshot the picture with Chinese Americans, including descendants of railroad workers. To learn more about Corky Lee – who passed away two years ago on January 27, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – see his bio on New Asian American Voices and check out his photographs in our video “Exclusion: The Asian American Experience” on YouTube.
  • 1990 INSTITUTE 2023 ANNUAL REPORT – Thank you to our generous supporters, board members, partners, and sponsors, without whom our work would not be possible. 2023 was an exciting year and the 1990 Institute accomplished so much, growing our reach and impact while finding our place as one of the leading voices in middle and high school education on Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) and ethnic studies. We were featured on PBS NewsHour discussing affirmative action in college admissions and on UN News in a conversation about anti-Asian American discrimination. Please enjoy these highlights and read our full annual report on our website for more details.

    We organized, produced, and published four Teachers Workshops and a Teachers affinity group meeting, four original long-form videos and 88 short-form videos, two webinars, 25 newsletters, 95 profiles of primarily unsung Asian American trailblazers, one essay contest, and four new educational toolkits. Our Teachers Workshops and Teachers Forum brought together: 19 speakers, 780+ registrants from 37 states and 11 countries, and the recordings garnered 1,400 additional views. The program grew since 2022, amassing an increase of 35% in audience and 1315% in impressions. Our Video Program aims to change the narrative on biased perceptions of AAPIs and to foster a better U.S.-China relationship and had an average increase of 4130% across all social media platforms and 5 million impressions from March to December 2023. And our highly successful New Asian American Voices program amassed an increase of 35% in audience and 1315% in impressions. Be on the lookout for exciting news about all our programs throughout 2024!

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


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



Copyright 2023 The 1990 Institute. All rights reserved. 

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