What To Watch: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage

Eight Stories To Continue Celebrating Beyond May

Norman Mineta
May 30, 2019
By Beatrice Alvarez

As diverse as the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is, we peer into a window of that diversity with these eight stories to end the month-long celebration of heritage. From stories of public service to entrepreneurial success, we celebrate so many facets of AAPI cultures in America. Today marks the end of this AAPI Heritage Month, but we encourage everyone to learn more about someone else’s heritage and discover more commonalities than differences. Let’s remember to celebrate our diverse cultures and heritage every month!

Norman Mineta And His Legacy

This month, PBS stations premiered the film: Norman Mineta And His Legacy. A story of dedication to public service and a study in resilience after America’s mistreatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII.

Make sure you read this Q&A about the film in which he drops gems like this one: “Generally, what I say to young people is that you’ve got two things that you own, no one else does, and you have to protect both of them. One is your name, and the other is integrity.” Let that sit with you as you watch the film.

Omoide Project: Memories

Local PBS station KSPS in Spokane, Washington collected a moving collection of personal stories from their Japanese American community. This oral history project includes stories of life in internment camps and serves as a reminder of how the war changed so many Americans’ lives.

Resistance At Tule Lake

Thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated at the Tule Lake Segregation Center in California during World War II. Prisoners of Tule Lake staged protests, led a resistance, and called out their inhumane treatment. This film from World Channel puts some shine on the brave people who fought against the incarceration of Japanese Americans and helps shatter the myth of the compliant and quiet “model minority.” (Take a look at the "Model Minority" episode of What I Hear When You Say and understand how damaging such generalizations are, even though some may seem positive.)

Ms. Asian America Pageant Winner Uses Platform To Ease Mental Health Stigma

KQED in San Francisco highlights how one beauty pageant surprised audiences and sparked conversations around mental health in the AAPI community. Sophia Ng competed in San Francisco’s Miss Asian Global & Miss Asian America pageant, the longest-running Asian beauty pageant in the nation, last August. She won that pageant- her first- after revealing to the audience that she was once in a deep depression and considered suicide. Learn more about Ng and her mission to challenge the cultural pressures to stay silent about mental health struggles.

Is Diversity for Asian Americans?

IndieLens StoryCast partnered with Center For Asian American Media to bring us “We Gon’ Be Alright,” a collection of videos based on Jeff Chang’s critically acclaimed essay collection of the same name. Watch all four episodes and see your world in a new light.

Sikh In The Spotlight

From Iowa Public Television: JJ Kapur is a master storyteller. Watch how Kapur, a high schooler in West Des Moines, Iowa, captivates audiences and represents his Sikh faith and his Iowan roots with joy.

Breaking Big: Eddie Huang

Eddie Huang talks about his successes as a restaurateur, tv host, and author and how his inspiration stemmed from the flavors of his family’s culture and Taiwanese roots. Above all, Huang’s unflinching honesty and love for his heritage makes this episode of Breaking Big a must-watch.

Gimme A Faith

Hao Zhang went from China to North Carolina to study filmmaking. He finds a unique community of Chinese students who have discovered and embraced evangelical Christianity. Reel South delivers a culture-clashing, soul-stirring film.
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