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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Celebrating the Achievements and History of Asian Americans

Our country is a melting pot of culture and that's what makes it the amazing place that it is to live in and visit. While not all history is great history, it is still important and can really help you learn why we do things we do, because tradition comes from somewhere, and oftentimes it comes from immigrants or those that came to this country through slavery. Just like Europeans took this land from the Natives, they also took their cultures, language, foods, and music as their own.

This month is all about Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, so here are some things you can do to learn more of it

Now, maybe that sounds depressing, but it is also wonderful to learn where each thing came from and to celebrate those that created the things we enjoy. Also, think about how bland our food would be without spices that came from other places or how boring our music would be without any outside influence. This month is all about Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, so here are some things you can do to learn more of it:

Visit a museum in person or virtually
A lot of museums are showcasing AAPI artists. Sometimes, art can really speak to you about an artist and their life. Here are a few exhibitions that you can view in the coming months. If you can't travel right now, there are some museums that offer virtual tours:

Look for local festivals
So many large cities have festivals throughout the year, many of which are a celebration of different ethnicities. Check listings in your city to see if you have a lantern lighting or a dance troupe or a market before the end of the month. Of course, I recommend engaging with the community all year long, because you will only be better for it and learn some cool things.

Support AAPI businesses
I'm really lucky that where I live, right outside of Portland, a ton of Asian-owned businesses have popped up. I frequent several Asian- and woman-owned coffeeshops, eat at many Asian-owned restaurants, and have access to some wonderful Asian-owned shops. Check out LA's Thai Night Market. Another way you can do this is by shopping for travel goods from some great companies:
  • Calpak - Luggage and other bags
  • Lo & Sons - Carry-on totes
  • Copper Cow Coffee - Pour-over coffees for those on the go
  • Cadence - Travel containers for your toiletry bag
  • Tatcha - Skincare inspired by Japanese beauty methods
  • Tower 28 - Makeup and beauty items that are made for everyone, but specifically for those with eczema
  • Serenity Organizers - Tray or seat organizers to make your flights less annoying

Listen to Asian-American podcasts
I listen to a lot of different podcasts, from educational, to political, to real game play. Sometimes I will stumble upon some gems through other podcasts that I wouldn't otherwise have listened to. If you're looking for some new ones to broaden your horizons, check these out:
  • They Call Us BruceHosts Jeff Yang and Phil Yu present They Call Us Bruce, an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America.
  • Asian America: The Ken Fong PodcastKen Fong gets to the heart of Asian American culture, history, and spirituality. Through interviews with culture-makers and -shapers in the Asian American community -- some you know, others you've never heard of before -- prepare to laugh, cry, and be amazed.
  • The Asian American AthleteThe Asian American Athlete is a podcast that celebrates Asian American athletes and Asian Americans in the sports world.
  • Worst Asian PodcastA comedy podcast hosted by a couple Asian American millennial best friends. We have fun chatting about what it means to be Asian including what's trending in relevant Asian news, society, culture, lifestyle, comedy, movies, entertainment, and everything else in between.
  • But Where Are You Really From?Hosts and life-long best friends Angela Lin and Jesse Lin explore their identities as Asian-Americans through the lens of their first-generation upbringings and how those influences have shaped how they see the world and their place in it.
  • Asian EnoughIn this podcast from the L.A. Times, hosts Jen Yamato and Frank Shyong chat with celebrities about the joys and complexities of being Asian American, and invite their guests to share personal stories and unpack identity on their own terms.
Now, finish out your May strong and a little smarter about the world around us. Maybe you can also start planning a trip somewhere you've learned about. I'm hoping to get to Japan in the next 5 years. What Asian countries are you planning to travel to?

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