Chinatown Sartorialist - The Bold Italic - San FranciscoWritten by Valerie Luu · Photographs by Andria LoChinatown fashion combines urban utilitarianism with smart, unexpected combinations of prints and a use of color that just made me feel uplifted whenever I saw it. They’re fashionistas – worthy of any street-style blog.If you were to replace the 80-year-old senior with, say, myself, I would look so undoubtedly hip. Unfortunately, I don’t possess that same knack for fashion, but I wanted to meet these fashion-forward seniors and document their style.This photo essay is a month’s worth of excursions with photographer Andria Lo and translators Tricia Choi, Kat Wong, and Michelle Yeung. It was a month of cold and hot tea and dim sum meals, of many seniors being open with us, sharing their outfits and telling us their stories, from the feet up.Read More

Chinatown Sartorialist - The Bold Italic - San FranciscoWritten by Valerie Luu · Photographs by Andria LoChinatown fashion combines urban utilitarianism with smart, unexpected combinations of prints and a use of color that just made me feel uplifted whenever I saw it. They’re fashionistas – worthy of any street-style blog.If you were to replace the 80-year-old senior with, say, myself, I would look so undoubtedly hip. Unfortunately, I don’t possess that same knack for fashion, but I wanted to meet these fashion-forward seniors and document their style.This photo essay is a month’s worth of excursions with photographer Andria Lo and translators Tricia Choi, Kat Wong, and Michelle Yeung. It was a month of cold and hot tea and dim sum meals, of many seniors being open with us, sharing their outfits and telling us their stories, from the feet up.Read More

Chinatown Sartorialist - The Bold Italic - San Francisco
Written by Valerie Luu · Photographs by Andria Lo

Chinatown fashion combines urban utilitarianism with smart, unexpected combinations of prints and a use of color that just made me feel uplifted whenever I saw it. They’re fashionistas – worthy of any street-style blog.

If you were to replace the 80-year-old senior with, say, myself, I would look so undoubtedly hip. Unfortunately, I don’t possess that same knack for fashion, but I wanted to meet these fashion-forward seniors and document their style.

This photo essay is a month’s worth of excursions with photographer Andria Lo and translators Tricia Choi, Kat Wong, and Michelle Yeung. It was a month of cold and hot tea and dim sum meals, of many seniors being open with us, sharing their outfits and telling us their stories, from the feet up.

Read More


Chinatown Sartorialist - The Bold Italic - San FranciscoWritten by Valerie Luu · Photographs by Andria LoChinatown fashion combines urban utilitarianism with smart, unexpected combinations of prints and a use of color that just made me feel uplifted whenever I saw it. They’re fashionistas – worthy of any street-style blog.If you were to replace the 80-year-old senior with, say, myself, I would look so undoubtedly hip. Unfortunately, I don’t possess that same knack for fashion, but I wanted to meet these fashion-forward seniors and document their style.This photo essay is a month’s worth of excursions with photographer Andria Lo and translators Tricia Choi, Kat Wong, and Michelle Yeung. It was a month of cold and hot tea and dim sum meals, of many seniors being open with us, sharing their outfits and telling us their stories, from the feet up.Read More

Chinatown Sartorialist - The Bold Italic - San FranciscoWritten by Valerie Luu · Photographs by Andria LoChinatown fashion combines urban utilitarianism with smart, unexpected combinations of prints and a use of color that just made me feel uplifted whenever I saw it. They’re fashionistas – worthy of any street-style blog.If you were to replace the 80-year-old senior with, say, myself, I would look so undoubtedly hip. Unfortunately, I don’t possess that same knack for fashion, but I wanted to meet these fashion-forward seniors and document their style.This photo essay is a month’s worth of excursions with photographer Andria Lo and translators Tricia Choi, Kat Wong, and Michelle Yeung. It was a month of cold and hot tea and dim sum meals, of many seniors being open with us, sharing their outfits and telling us their stories, from the feet up.Read More

Chinatown Sartorialist - The Bold Italic - San Francisco
Written by Valerie Luu · Photographs by Andria Lo

Chinatown fashion combines urban utilitarianism with smart, unexpected combinations of prints and a use of color that just made me feel uplifted whenever I saw it. They’re fashionistas – worthy of any street-style blog.

If you were to replace the 80-year-old senior with, say, myself, I would look so undoubtedly hip. Unfortunately, I don’t possess that same knack for fashion, but I wanted to meet these fashion-forward seniors and document their style.

This photo essay is a month’s worth of excursions with photographer Andria Lo and translators Tricia Choi, Kat Wong, and Michelle Yeung. It was a month of cold and hot tea and dim sum meals, of many seniors being open with us, sharing their outfits and telling us their stories, from the feet up.

Read More

zeramato:

Students who still have a lot ahead of them. Students like me, who still have dreams, goals, and students who still aim for achievements. But because of this tragedy, it all faded away. 
I bow and salute to the brave students who saved the lives of others and sacrificed themselves. They are heroes. They are people who deserves a lot better than awards. They deserve to be in Heaven, a place full of happiness and there will be no more sufferings. I also pray for the lives of the family and the people involved in this accident and specially the souls of these heroes.
I hope that the students who were saved by these mighty students will live their lives to the fullest, achieve their dreams and goals and love their family more. I also wish that they will live being inspired by the heroes who saved their lives. Please do so.
And for the captain, my middle finger salutes you. Live well. In guilt. Thank you.
#PrayForSouthKorea
zeramato:

Students who still have a lot ahead of them. Students like me, who still have dreams, goals, and students who still aim for achievements. But because of this tragedy, it all faded away. 
I bow and salute to the brave students who saved the lives of others and sacrificed themselves. They are heroes. They are people who deserves a lot better than awards. They deserve to be in Heaven, a place full of happiness and there will be no more sufferings. I also pray for the lives of the family and the people involved in this accident and specially the souls of these heroes.
I hope that the students who were saved by these mighty students will live their lives to the fullest, achieve their dreams and goals and love their family more. I also wish that they will live being inspired by the heroes who saved their lives. Please do so.
And for the captain, my middle finger salutes you. Live well. In guilt. Thank you.
#PrayForSouthKorea

zeramato:

Students who still have a lot ahead of them. Students like me, who still have dreams, goals, and students who still aim for achievements. But because of this tragedy, it all faded away. 

I bow and salute to the brave students who saved the lives of others and sacrificed themselves. They are heroes. They are people who deserves a lot better than awards. They deserve to be in Heaven, a place full of happiness and there will be no more sufferings. I also pray for the lives of the family and the people involved in this accident and specially the souls of these heroes.

I hope that the students who were saved by these mighty students will live their lives to the fullest, achieve their dreams and goals and love their family more. I also wish that they will live being inspired by the heroes who saved their lives. Please do so.

And for the captain, my middle finger salutes you. Live well. In guilt. Thank you.

#PrayForSouthKorea

"When I stopped speaking Vietnamese,
It took me years to be comfortable
With calling any elder “you.”
How a language could be so simple
Was beyond my comprehension;
There was no understanding
Of respect.

In Vietnamese, honorifics are law.
You are to address someone
In relationship with their age to yours—
An older man of the same generation:
Anh, older brother.
An older womxn of the same generation:
Chị, older sister.
Cậu or , Mother’s brother or sister,
For someone as old as Mother.
And for someone as old as Father,
Chú or , Father’s brother or sister.
And a person older than both parents
Is bác, a parent’s older sibling.
And even older, an elderly person,
Like Grandpa or Grandma,
Is ông or , grandpa or grandma.

To separate the non-kinship
From the familial is then impossible
For we, Vietnamese, are family.
To pay homage in any other way
Is unacceptable,
Because “you” is impersonal—“You”
Can be any stranger on the street."
— Cát-Phương Nguyễn “You” (via no-dickpix)

(Source: hamhand)

QuestionWhat would you say are the 3 greatest problems facing Asian Americans in the US currently that are specific to the Asian American community and what are some ways they could be addressed? By which I mean Asian Americans in general, rather than specific Asian American groups (Arab Americans obviously have unique problems from say Japanese Americans). Thanks alot Answer

This sounds like a homework assignment.

Many children grow up hearing fantastical tales and listening to nursery rhymes. A magical forest here and furry talking creatures there. I grew up listening to the nightmares of chaos and terror as tragedy consumed Cambodia.

Imagine this.

On April 17th, 1975, Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge. Like many Khmer Americans, my family came to the United States as refugees from Cambodia in 1982. My grandparents reflect back on the day the Khmer Rouge scoured the city and announced over their loud speakers that the Americans were going to begin dropping their bombs. Greeting the citizens with smiles, they expressed that safety was their priority and all those living within the city should evacuate to the countryside. They promised that the invasion would be over and they would be able to return to the city. Yet, it would be four years of terror before any lucky survivors would be able to return to the remains of their homes. My family had no choice but to abandon all of their belongings and at that precise moment, their entire lives.

Soon after they began to lose sight of the city, they were met with the smell of death. Piles of dead bodies, of former doctors, teachers, lawyers, business people, and other intellectuals lined the streets. The rotting flesh was cooked by the sun and empty eyes stared at the travelers. When I was younger, my mom used to wake up in the middle of the night after she replayed this scene over and over again in her nightmares. You can find her story [here].

From labor camps to pseudo-refugee camps, my family never had the security of knowing that they would wake up the next morning. Their very lives were dependent on being invisible. Children over the age of 10 were separated from their parents. My mother, the oldest sibling, was forced to leave my family behind and live in a separate labor camp. She worked 9-10 hours a day, 7 days a week under the hot sun, surviving on small portions of rice soup and salt. Countless citizens were so malnourished that they died of starvation, diseases, and exhaustion. Yet, no matter how sick they were, my family dragged themselves out of their makeshift huts because they feared being executed. The Khmer Rouge believed that if you were unable to contribute, then you were useless and it would be a waste of food to feed you.

On one fateful night, my family was met with the sounds of gunshots and the blares of an explosion. They found cover in the bomb shelter and continued to listen to the whirring of bullets throughout the night. When daylight broke and the shooting sounds subsided, they tried to move on to another town and abruptly the shooting sounds were close by again. They found refuge in barn house hid anywhere out of sight. My grandparents later heard that there was a Khmer Rouge soldier who wanted to enter the house, but his comrade said that he had seen my family with the rest of the Khmer Rouge already. If he had not made that mistake, a simple grenade would have decided the fate of my family. 

Fortunately, my family made their way to a refugee camp in Thailand. My grandpa filed for sponsorship to come to the United States, as we had no relatives living in the U.S. that could sponsor us. After he applied for sponsorship, my grandpa went to the refugee bureau every day where they posted name of families that were sponsored to leave the camp. With each passing day, my family began to lose hope, as their name did not appear on the board. Finally, in May of 1981, after a year and a half in the refugee camp, my family’s names were posted among the last ones in the list. They were transferred to the Philippines, flown to Columbus, Ohio, and eventually made their way by bus to Denver, Colorado.

Life has a funny way of coming full circle when you least expect it. Here I am, sitting in a Starbucks in Columbus writing this blog and reflecting upon how close I came to living here instead of Denver. As I began to get older and my family began to acculturate into America, I began to hear less and less about their previous life in Cambodia and the discrimination they experienced in the United States. I forgot these stories and I forgot the struggle that my family underwent. The above stories are so surreal that they almost seem like fiction.

It must be recognized that history is often written by its victors. Growing up, much of my narrative of the Khmer Rouge were small excerpts in my history book written by American historians. In many ways, America was painted as a safe haven for refugees, and while I am not denying that, it seemed as though my family traded in one form of cultural genocide for another. It was Washington’s intention in the early 1970s to strengthen the Khmer Republic and to help defeat the revolutionary Khmer Rouge movement. However, it is heavily argued that American intervention widened the war and served as a catalyst for driving Cambodia into conflict. Furthermore, evidence suggests that foreign intervention produced negative results in the end, as it gave rise to the revolutionary force and weakened the Khmer Republic, making the power transition and societal levels more volatile and dangerous.

President Nixon and his National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, began to discuss the North Vietnamese sanctuaries and supply routes in the then neutral country of Cambodia. Despite the fact that military strikes against locations in a neutral country would be flagrant violations of international laws and treaties, it was soon decided that the areas be bombed in order to clean out “the communist sanctuaries.” Codenamed Operation Menu, on March 18th, 1969 the US Strategic Air Command began the bombing of Eastern Cambodia under the Nixon Administration. The primary goal was to destroy supply lines and camps used by the North Vietnamese to wage attacks into South Vietnam. In 1969, these secret missions more than doubled and over a thousand missions were initiated. And in the same fourteenth month period, over 3,600 B-52 raids were conducted against targets in Kampuchea. However, these bombings were kept secret – not only from the public but also within the Air Force command. The first bombing raids were called Breakfast. Later raids that were deeper in Cambodia were referred to as Lunch. Eventually, the raids reached beyond Dinner and into Snacks and Dessert. At a great loss of Cambodian civilian lives, the operation proved unsuccessful in decreasing North Vietnam offensives. Indirectly, the bombings led to the downfall of the Cambodian government and the rise of the Khmer Rouge.

Yet… I was never taught any of this until I studied abroad in Southeast Asia. I remember being placed in an English as a Second Language track during elementary school (even though, let me be clear, I spoke perfect English) and having the word refugee thrown at me. I had no idea what that meant. I never understood how lucky I was to be sitting within the safe confines of a classroom, with the reassurance of three meals a day. I knew I was Cambodian, but did not realize how much weight and history that identity held…. nor did I realize how much of my identity was authored by American history. Why must we illustrate heroes at the expense of so many? It makes me think of how much of what I know is constructed, rather than authentic.

Recently, I have had the privilege of traveling all over the nation to speak with fellow Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (A/PIA) college students about the importance of community organizing and A/PIA activism. I realize more and more how my family’s history has shaped my passion for activism, equity, and authentic representation of communities. Since becoming involved in the social justice realm, I have had many internal conflicts about the American Dream. Despite coming to the United States with every possible disadvantage, my family made it. My mother was the first in our family to graduate from college. My family is littered with Student Body Presidents, Valedictorians, Salutatorians, full ride scholars, Daniels Fund Scholars, and Gates Millennium Scholars. Coincidentally, many of us found ourselves in fields of education and made West High School, the Denver Center for International Studies, and the University of Denver our home, including myself. But, they are only a single story. Cambodian Americans still have some of the highest high school drop out rates, are victims of the school to prison pipeline, and face numerous deportation cases.

In providing me with these opportunities and the need to assimilate to survive, I grew up not truly understanding who I was or where I came from. It was not until recently that I began to realize more and more the need and impact of storytelling. My family realized this long before I did and published their own personal memoir (of which many excerpts have been included in this blog). Storytelling allows us to preserve our roots. It allows us to share our experiences in ways that are real and authentic. Stories give us the ability challenge what we learn in our history books and gives us the power to advocate for visibility and representation. Stories give us the right to WRITE our OWN histories. They can move systems and transform institutions. Storytelling is resistance. Stories start (r)evolutions.

For the past year, I have carried an Audre Lorde quote that states, “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you,” with me wherever I go. It serves as a powerful reminder that choosing to be visible and to speak powerfully will help to ensure that fewer communities will have to experience the types of silencing that my family had to endure. Although I was born 16 years after the fall of Phnom Penh on April 17th, 1975, I choose to remember it every single day. Why? Because it is evidence that I come from a legacy of warriors, of survivors. Resiliency is on our blood. My name is Vanessa. I am a daughter of refugees. I am a feminist. I am an activist. And most importantly, I am Khmer.

**Thank you to Gao Chia-Ren for his unwavering support, encouragement, AND editorial and creative title skills.
***To support Project Ava and our vision of sharing stories that inspire meaningful change, visit our store.

seoulsisterreturning:

Spread the word! UIC will be home to a new LGBTQ Asian American archive that will help preserve the stories & work of our communities, so please donate items if you can. 

To donate materials, call (312) 413-7696 or email Laura Fugikawa & Liz Thomson.

"

In honor of this day of remembrance: April 17, 1975

Is the change I seek revolutionary? Is every revolution going to require bloodshed? When “The Revolution” comes will I be able to take my mother and father with me? And what about my children? The Revolution did come to us. On April 17, 1975 the revolution marched into Phnom Penh. It emptied out the city. Nearly every single family in Cambodia suffered losses during the time of the Khmer Rouge. An estimated 2 million Cambodians died. There is no exact body count.

I was too young to be recruited as a child soldier. In 1975, The People’s Revolutionary Party instead enlisted me in the fields where I would pick up cow dung. The unrelenting sun scorched my hair a shiny amber.1978 my mother almost died giving birth to my brother. There were no doctors or nurses in their commune. Professionals, intellectuals, former government officials, and religious figures were targeted for torture and execution. Kindness spared my father who would have otherwise been executed for being a teacher and a Muslim. The oppressive Khmer Rouge regime lasted 3 years, 8 months and 20 days. In 1979 when the borders reopened, my family was forced to leave Cambodia for the nearest Thai refugee camp. Survival is an instinct the body remembers well. On June 30, 1979, my family left the Thai camps for America. I do not need to have memories of violence to know that the experience of genocide has never left my body.

My parents never left me behind even when the Revolution left us with nothing. The change I seek has to include my family even if their politics differ from mine. The change I seek must be rooted in love. I believe that you can’t serve your people if you don’t love your people. Acts of violence can never be acts of love.”

"
— Artist and activist, Anida Yoeu Ali. Anida is also the producer of the award-winning documentary, Cambodian Son. It screens today at 3:30pm at East Bay Media Center in Berkeley, CA.

With Asian Pacific American Heritage Month approaching, we are proud to announce the launch of a new platform that will develop and feature data-inspired feature writing and provocative short pieces relating to AAPI communities and AAPI experiences. The goal is to harness both the power of compelling data and the storytelling talent of the vibrant AAPI journalist, blogger and academic communities, to inspire more news coverage and public understanding of key aspects and features of our rapidly growing and changing AAPI populations.

To this end, we are openly soliciting pitches for contributions on the following themes for APA Heritage Month in 2014. While the contributions we’re seeking should be anchored in data and explore trends, patterns, nuances or exceptions to conventional wisdom that these data reveal, the style in which the pieces are written can range from analytic to creative, and from sober to humorous, and can range from short pieces (300-500 words) to longer-form, feature-length articles (1000 words+). Whatever the style or format, storytelling counts: Above all, we want to these contributions to be compelling, inviting — and provocative.