It’s Day 3 of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month already and I haven’t dropped the ball yet!
I’m definitely, severely procrastinating on finishing my thesis, but this is still related because it’s about #AAPIs…right? So, this is fine.
Anyway…for today’s edition of #APAHM tributes, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight two really cool people that I actually know and that younger Christina would have loved to know too.
I think a lot of young Asian Americans have similar stories about feeling out of place in our youth. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood and had always felt like I needed to compartmentalize my life into different categories because of my Chinese heritage. I didn’t have many well-known cultural icons who I could point to and say, “see, so and so is doing this thing, so it’s not weird that I do it too!” when interacting with my non-Asian friends.
So, today I want to acknowledge the tremendously hilarious work of Kristina Wong. Some of you may already know her or have heard me yap on and on about how cool she is on my podcast earlier last year. Kristina is a performance artist and comedian who I am so thrilled to be name twins with! Her latest exploration into the realm of social justice and comedy is her web series, Radical Cram School–basically a “Sesame Street for the resistance” wherein she teaches young Asian American femmes and nonbinary kiddos about social issues. It’s so amazing. I binged all six episodes in one night last year. And Kristina and her colleagues are working on producing season 2! If you’re interested in supporting their work, you can donate to Kristina’s birthday fundraiser here.
Next up is my new friend, Jasmine Cho, the founder of Yummyholic. Jasmine just got a research grant to pursue research that connects the art of baking to mental health. She’ll be running trauma-informed bake therapy sessions with clients and staff members of Center for Victims in Pittsburgh. She’s just super rad. But, the reason I’m highlighting her today is because she singlehandedly wrote and illustrated a children’s book that features Asian American heroes. She legit inspires me all the time and she doesn’t even know it! The book isn’t yet available for public purchase, but it will be VERY SOON on Amazon. You can preview it here, and you should, because it’s so good. SO. GOOD.
My ideas of the world would have expanded earlier on if Jasmine’s book was in my life before. I remember as a kid constantly checking out an illustrated book of the story of Fa Mulan literally every month because it was the only children’s book I could find in my elementary school library that had anyone who looked like me in the story. (AND AS A SIDE NOTE, I JUST FOUND OUT THAT THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN & ILLUSTRATED BY TWO PEOPLE I INTERVIEWED FOR MY THESIS. What is the universe even doing?? Anyway, check that book out too).
Today, even in the midst of prejudice, I’m hopeful for young AAPI kids because of the strides that Asian American womxn have made to create the cultural productions we ourselves needed as children.
Kristina and Jasmine, y’all rock and I am proud to highlight you both today!