It has been an emotionally exhausting day for a lot of us. I listened to 4 different podcast episodes from Vox, NPR code switch, Washington Post, and ACLU trying to grapple with what just happened. This ACLU podcast definitely was the best. It was recorded before the horrifying Atlanta shooting on Mar.16th, so there was no discussion about the instance. I especially liked this podcast episode because it humanizes Amanda Nguyen, giving her time to tell her own story and interest. It also highlights one crucial aspect, law making, beyond any community responses or government funding request.

Amanda Nguyen talked about growing up facing the perpetual foreigner stereotype, ‘where are you really from’. Then she discussed the intentional erase/neglect of Asian Americans in history books (including lynching and being targeted by KKK), consistently left out of polling, looked over by political parties. Often times in progressive spaces, she found herself to be the only Asian American.

Amanda then discussed a key tool for oppression is using the model minority label: you work hard and you do not complain. Oftentimes Asian Americans don’t tell their stories because they don’t believe anyone would care/listen. Visibility needs to come in spaces of empathy where other communities standing in solidarity.

In the next segment, Amanda talked about a huge part of activism: law-making and coalition building. She founded Rise Justics Labs, using what she learned from the process of getting the sexual assault survivors’ Bill of Rights’ passed unanimously to help others ‘pen their own civil rights into existence’. She realized the method was repeatable and scalable. Her team has also gamified law-making, giving people smaller goals to start with to avoid burnout for activists. Different civil rights groups learn a lot from each other.

Finally Amanda talked her love for space, the whole idea that if you saw the earth from the space, your pespective completely changes. She re-visit the perspective, what is her space in the universe and what is her going to do about it.

Listen link + Full Transcript:

Additional Resources:

Anti-Asian Violence Resource (very comprehensive)

The resources in the above link are all great, but I decided to highlight two specific ones that are relevant and useful for daily life.

Guide to Bystander Intervention

How to be an Ally for AAPI