10 Asian Americans Share Why They Celebrate Their Asian Heritage and Families
May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the great achievements and rich culture of the APIA community. Despite being faced with a pandemic and rampant hate crimes this past year, the APIA community, with help from supporters from Black Lives Matters and other advocates, has continued to defy the odds and make history.
Last year, Kamala Harris became the first Black and South Asian woman to be Vice President. At the 2021 Oscars, 73-year-old Yuh-Jung Youn was the first Korean to win for Minari, Chinese director Chloe Zhao was the first woman of color to win for Nomadland, and Steven Yeun was the first Asian-American to be nominated for Best Actor.
Last month, Korean-American recording artist Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, released her memoir Crying in H-Mart to have it debut as the No. 2 Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller. Ryan Kaji, a 9-year-old half Japanese/Vietnamese boy-wonder, is YouTube's highest earner for the third year in a row, pulling in an estimated $29.5 million. Japanese and Haitian tennis star Naomi Osaka became the first Asian player in history to hold the top ranking in singles. And on March 21 across several MTV networks, comedian Ken Jeong will host "See Us Unite for Change" to support initiatives like Stop AAPI Hate and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and to spread the message of love and unity for all.
Oscar winner Youn spread this message during her acceptance speech when she said, "I don't know how to divide like this: man, woman, black, and white, yellow, brown, or gay or straight. I don't want that kind of thing. We are just equal human beings. We have the same warm heart." You don't have to be a movie star or best-selling author to do your part to make a difference. Just as Chinese immigrants helped lay down the tracks for the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 to help the U.S. increase production, we must all work together to increase peace in this country. Many current first and second generation Asian sons and daughters are doing this right now, and they are passing these messages down to their own children, peers, and neighbors. I asked a few to share why they celebrate their Asian heritage and what was the best they received from a family member. Here's what they had to say.