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May 1, 2021
By Beatrice Alvarez
Every day in May we are celebrating AAPI Heritage Month with stories that explore aspects of our shared American history. Every day, we will amplify AAPI voices and offer a story to stream from across PBS stations, long-running series, and filmmakers. The best part is that if we do something every day for a month, perhaps it can become a habit, a way to be, that we continue long after the 31 days are over.
At the turn of the new millennium, the U.S becomes more diverse, yet more divided.
Pulizer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen reveals personal stories and poignant analysis of American society and cultures in the series Asian Americans. Hear him describe the beginnings of the Asian American movement in this episode. He is just one of many notable voices featured in this series.
Queen Lili‘uokalani was the first sovereign queen, and the last monarch of Hawai'i.
Explore the music of Anik Khan, the Bangladesh-born, Queens, NY-raised hip-hop artist.
The story of the author of the “The Joy Luck Club.”
Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers
Learn about Larry Itliong, a Filipino farm worker who dedicated his life to advocating for agricultural workers. He helped build the coalition with Mexican and Mexican-American farm workers to form the United Farm Workers. Station KVIE documents the history of Filipino Americans in California who fought for justice and took on the entrenched agricultural industry.
Sometimes the quest for racial justice isn’t black and white.
Documentary filmmaker Ursula Liang looks at how two communities see racial injustices play out in the aftermath of a tragedy. This timely film from Independent Lens is available to stream until May 12.
This xenophobic sentiment has resulted in a cycle of violence dating back to the 1800s.
Digital Studios teamed up with Dolly Li and Adrian De Leon to bring you a series about Asian American history. Stay tuned for the first episode premiering on May 6!
During a time of war, a young generation fights for equality and claim a new identity.
In so many of the social and political movements of American history, AAPI activists have taken their rightful place in conversations of justice and equality. In the halls of Congress, Hawaiian Congresswoman Patsy Mink not only joined the conversations, but moved them forward.
Dancer Amit Patel is reinventing Bollywood dance for queer expression
Grace Lee Boggs, 99, is a Chinese American philosopher, writer, and activist.
Explore the use of this term “Model Minority” to describe Asian American communities.
Stereotypes and media portrayals can be damaging when they only portray one aspect of a person's humanity. Learn why the narrative of the Asian Americans as a "model minority" must be challenged, even though it seems complimentary on its surface, in this episode of What I Hear When You Say.
Along the same lines, comedian and filmmaker Hari Kondabolu discusses problematic media representation in the form of demeaning AAPI characters on television in this interview with PBS Newshour. In it he explains: "You can’t help but be shaped by media. And you can’t help but be shaped, especially as a young person, by how others see you." Kondabolu also appears in the series: Asian Americans, which is streaming on the PBS Video App this month.
While preparing to stage a musical, Chinatown kids discover their own cultural identities.
A fatal shooting in Texas ignites a maelstrom of hostilities against Vietnamese refugees.
Documentary filmmaker Tim Tsai explores the nuance and forgotten history of the American South, including this story of a small Texas town's struggle to accept Vietnamese refugees.
Maia Cruz Palileo is a multi-disciplinary artist who explores themes of migration.
The story of Ted Fujita's groundbreaking work to understand the deadliest storms.
Food that tells a story of identity and belonging is what Chef Meherwan Irani is proud to
This film from Ciara Lacey about reconnecting with cultural roots far from home is returning to PBS for the month of May. Stream it on the PBS Video App.
Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio is a Kanaka Maoli wahine poet, activist, and academic.
Relish host Yia Vang tells stories of his family through the food he makes.
The challenge to protect remote Rapa Nui culture and environment from modernization.
The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act remained in force for more than 60 years.
In 1892 Chinese American activist Jee Gam wrote an impassioned critique of the Geary Act, legislation that proposed Chinese Americans carry a registration card, proving their right to be in the United States. Gam made powerful case against discrimination while the racist Chinese Exclusion Act was the law of the land. His and many more experiences are included in the The Chinese Exclusion Act from American Experience.
Native Hawaiian mother-daughter activist stand to protect their sacred mountain Mauna Kea.
Meet the Donut King, the Cambodian refugee who built a multi-million-dollar empire baking
Ted Ngoy arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from Cambodia. He went on to build a successful business that only provided quality goods (donuts) but also benefitted his community by creating employment opportunities.
A Chinese American family’s search for their roots leads them to the Mississippi Delta.
Margaret Chung became the first American-born Chinese woman doctor in 1916.
Explore the lives of three Nisei sisters from the Sacramento Delta, including internment.
AMERICAN ALOHA: HULA BEYOND HAWAI’I tells the stories of three
kumu hula (master instructors) who direct hula schools based in California.
The film explores the challenges they face trying to perpetuate hula faithfully, from the very traditional to the contemporary, as it evolves on distant shores, and serves as a reminder of the power of tradition for communities creating a home away from home.
Anna May Wong spent her acting career resisting racism and typecasting in Hollywood.
Learn more about cultural appropriation (or is it appreciation?) before you finalize this year's Halloween costume.
Watch a collection of films and specials that highlight and add context to the many aspects of race and racism in our country.
The votes are in, PBS programs rock! We're the real winners though — we can stream award-winning and nominated films below.
Multiple programs and websites were nominated for Webby Awards.
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