In light of the anti-Asian hate across the United States, our anxiety, trauma, frustration, and feelings of isolation have risen. Trying to navigate these feelings that have been suppressed, ignored, and denied for so long has been difficult to say the least.

To help, we have started this collection of moments, places, and people to serve as a reminder of our resilience and strength. Our history is part of American history, from the building of the Transcontinental Railroad to the Internment of Japanese Americans, to Kamala Harris becoming the first Black and Indian American woman to become Vice President in the 2020 Presidential Election.

There is so much for us to celebrate, and we hope that this corner will serve as inspiration for you to look forward to what's next. Remember, we are not invisible, we belong here, this is our home, and no one can take that away from us.

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AAPI Heritage Month

The history of Asian Americans is largely under taught and unknown in the United States, and Asian immigrants even predate the country itself. Unfortunately, the deadly March 16th Atlanta spa shootings is only the latest mark of a long, untold history of anti-Asian hate and violence.

We can begin to advance towards a better future for all by educating ourselves about the Asian American experience and history, which are marked by pain, resilience, and hope.

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The Transcontinental Railroad

Largely sidelined by history, 15,000 to 20,000 Chinese workers were instrumental in the construction of the US Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s. In 1867, 90% of the railroad labor force were Chinese since white workers were reluctant to perform back-breaking manual labor. Abused, underpaid, and forced to do the most dangerous of tasks, these long-overlooked Chinese workers built American infrastructure.

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Angel Island, California

A state park and National Historic Landmark in San Francisco Bay, Angel Island was the West Coast 'Ellis Island.' Between 1910 and 1940, millions of immigrants from Asia first arrived in the United States at the Angel Island Immigration Station.

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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month to recognize and celebrate the tremendous contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Under President Jimmy Carter, the observance began in 1979 as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush expanded the observance to a month. The significance of the month of May is to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of completion of the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869.

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Landing of the First Filipinos

The first Asians landed in Morro Bay, California, 33 years before the pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. On October 18th, 1587, the Spanish sailor Pedro De Unamuno and his crew of Spaniard and Filipino deckhands sailed across the Pacific Ocean and arrived at Morro Bay, located along the central coast of California. The landing party claimed the area for Spain, but after an attack by indigenous Indians and the deaths of two crew members, further exploration was stopped.

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Coining of the term 'Asian American'

During the Third World Liberation Front student strikes of 1968, University of California Berkeley graduate students Emma Gee and Yuji Ichioka first coined the term 'Asian American' in the naming of their student organization, the Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA). Not only did 'Asian American' combat the racist and colonial connotations of the term 'Oriental,' it increased the visibility and political unification of all activists and citizens of Asian descent.

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The Internment of Japanese Americans

Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order to incarcerate Japanese Americans as a means of preventing espionage. From 1942 to 1945, around 120,000 Japanese Americans were relocated and incarcerated at 10 concentration camps in the United States. Internees lived in sub-standard conditions in military-style camps.

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While immigrants and Americans with ancestral ties to Asia have made profound contributions to the United States and the World across all fields, there are many who have received little to no recognition.

We have begun featuring AAPI individuals who have shaped our world in a myriad of ways, and we aim to highlight many more individuals whose stories should be told.

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Michio Kaku

Born to second-generation Japanese American parents, Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science(science communicator). Kaku is currently professor of theoretical physics in the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center. Kaku is best known as a co-founder of String Field Theory, and he continues Albert Einstein's search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory.

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Amanda Nguyen

Amanda Nguyen is a civil rights activist, social entreprenuer, and CEO and founder of Rise, a nonprofit organization aimed to protect the civil rights of sexual assault and rape survivors. In 2013, Nguyen was raped while studying at Harvard University, and she faced tremendous challenges to preserve her rape kit. Nguyen founded Rise in 2014, and she wrote the Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act, a bill which passed in 2016. The legislation overhauls the process of how rape kits are processed in the United States and creates a bill of rights for all sexual assault and rape survivors.

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David Henry Hwang

Born to Chinese immigrants, David Henry Hwang is a playwright, screenwriter, librettist, and theatre professor at Columbia University. A Tony Award, OBIE Award, and Grammy Award winner, Hwang's plays include FOB ('Fresh of the Boat'), Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, and The Dance of the Railroad. Hwang's best-known play is M. Butterfly, based on the long affair between a French Diplomat and a Chinese opera singer.

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Maya Lin

Maya Lin is a Chinese-American artist, architect, and designer. At the age of 21, Lin won the national design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Often drawing inspiration from the architecture of nature, Lin is best known for her historical memorials and environmentally-themed works.

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Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama was a Japanese American civil rights activist who was politically awakened by her family's internment during World War II. A friend of Malcolm X and dedicated to pan-ethnic social justice and human rights movements, Kochiyama's activism spanned from the 1960s to her death in 2014.

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Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Mabel Ping-Hua Lee was a Chinese advocate for womens' suffrage in the United States. Although the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 denied US citizenship to Chinese immigrants until 1943, 16-year-old Lee mobilized the Chinese community to support the women's suffrage movement leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Lee was also the first Chinese woman in the United States to earn a PhD in economics, and for over 40 years, Lee was head of the First Chinese Baptist Church in New York's Chinatown.

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Representation Matters. With identity, it's hard to be what you can't see. It's hard to be what you don't know about.

Asians have long been marginalized, stereotyped, and made into caricatures in American media. Here, we will celebrate Asians who are pioneers, who show what is possible, and who show what it means to be Asian.

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David Chang

Known as the 'bad-boy' of the culinary industry, the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, and credited for increasing the popularity of modern Asian cuisine, David Chang is more than a chef. His unapologetic and bold personality has disrupted the industry and people's experience with food because of how he deconstructs recipes to bring something new.

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Lisa Ling

Born to Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants, Lisa Ling is a journalist, author, and television host. At a young age, Ling aspired to be a journalist and idolized Connie Chung. In 1999, Ling was a co-host of the ABC show The View and later became the host of National Geographic Explorer to cover international reporting. Ling is currently the host of the CNN documentary series This is Life with Lisa Ling, and she is slated to debut two new documentary projects with HBO Max.

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Yu Chang

Born in 1995, Yu Chang is a Taiwanese American professional baseball infielder for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball. At 18-years-old, Chang signed with the Indians in 2013 as an international free agent. Chang had his professional debut in 2014 with the AZL Indians and was ranked as Cleveland's sixth best prospect going into the 2018 season. In 2019, Chang was promoted to the major leagues.

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Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Shu-How Lin is a Taiwanese-American professional basketball player formerly playing for several NBA teams, including the New York Knicks. During the 2011-12 NBA season, Lin led a struggling New York Knicks franchise to an unexpected turnaround generating a cultural phenomenon known as "Linsanity". Lin was the first Taiwanese-American to play for the NBA and was the first Asian-American to win an NBA championship, having done so with the Toronto Raptors in 2019.

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Katherine Luzuriaga

Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga is a Filipino American and a world-renowned physician-scientist. Dr. Luzuriaga is lauded for her work in pediatrics, pediatric immunology, molecular medicine, and infectious diseases and rheumatology. In 2013, Dr. Luzuriaga and her all-female team of researchers were the first to functionally cure an infant of HIV. After treatment as a newborn, the child no longer needs any medication and shows no signs of the virus.

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Simu Liu

Simu Liu is a Chinese Canadian actor, writer, filmmaker, and stuntman. Liu is set to become the first Asian actor to lead a Marvel Studios film, as the star of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). Liu previously appeared in the tv series Kim's Convenience, Taken, and Orphan Black. The role of Shang-Chi holds special meaning for Liu, who shared that when he was a struggling actor playing superheroes at childrens' birthday parties, he could only play masked characters to hide his race.

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Chloé Zhao

Chloé Zhao is a Chinese American filmmaker, director, writer, and producer. Zhao is known for her critically acclaimed independent films, which include Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015), The Rider (2017), and Nomadland (2020), which won Best Picture at the 93rd Academy Awards, and for which Zhao won the Oscar for Best Director. Zhao is the first Asian woman, first woman of color, and second woman to win Best Director.

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Wataru Misaka

Wataru 'Wat' Misaka, a 5-foot-7 Japanese American, broke the color barrier for modern professional basketball. In 1947, Misaka was drafted by the New York Knicks, debuting as the first non-white player and first Asian player in the National Basketball Association (then known as the Basketball Association of America). In 1999, Misaka was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame.

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Sunisa Lee

Sunisa "Suni" Lee is a Hmong-American artistic gymnast. Sunisa Lee was a part of the U.S. women's national gymnastics team during the 2020 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo winning a gold medal in the individual all-around. Sunisa Lee was the first Hmong-American Olympian and is currently the 9th most decorated American female gymnast with a total of 6 world championships and Olympic medals.

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Stella Abrera

Stella Abrera is a Filipina American ballet dancer. Abrera began dancing at the age of 5, and at the age of 17, she joined the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) as an apprentice. As a soloist, Abrera suffered a sciatic nerve injury that nearly ended her career in 2008. Abrera successfully recovered, and she was promoted to principal dancer in 2015, making her the first Filipina American to achieve the rank in ABT's history. After 24 years with ABT, Abrera retired in 2020, and she is now the artistic director of the dance cultural park Kaatsbaan, located in Tivoli, New York.

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Chloe Kim

Born in 2000, Chloe Kim is a second generation Korean American who started snowboarding when she was 4 years old. At the 2018 Winter Olympics Kim became known for being the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal. However, even before the PyeongChang Olympics Kim was breaking records; in 2015 when she was 14 years old she was the youngest ever to win a gold medal at that year's X Games, and at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games she was the first American woman to win gold and earned the highest snowboarding score.

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Chien-Shiung Wu

Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu was a Chinese American nuclear physicist, often called the 'First Lady of Physics' for her groundbreaking impact on the field. Dr. Wu was the only Chinese person to work on the Manhattan Project. Dr. Wu was also notoriously overlooked for the Nobel Prize for Physics for her revolutionary experiment disproving the Law of Conservation of Parity, an experiment for which her male colleagues received the Nobel Prize.

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Kamala Harris

Kamala Devi Harris is the daughter of a Tamil Indian mother and a Jamaican father. Harris has served as a deputy district attorney, Attorney General in the State of California, and US senator. Kamala Harris is now the 49th Vice President of the United States, and she is the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President.

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Hee Seo

Hee Seo is a Korean American ballet dancer who is a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Although Seo started Russian ballet training at the age of 12 (an age considered to be a late start for a ballet dancer), she became one of the youngest ballerinas and first Korean ballerina to be promoted to principal dancer in the ABT's 75-year history. In 2015, Seo established the Hee Seo Foundation in Korea to help underprivileged prospective ballet dancers.

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Roy Choi

Born in Seoul, Korea, and raised in Los Angeles, California, Roy Choi is one of the architects of the modern food truck movement. In his civic-minded TV show 'Broken Bread,' Choi addresses and merges traditional and modern street food culture with social media and community. With Jon Favreau, Choi is a co-host of 'The Chef Show' on Netflix. Choi is the co-owner, co-founder, and chef of Kogi BBQ, Chego!, Best Friend at Park MGM Las Vegas, and LocoL.

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Bowen Yang

Bowen Yang is the first Asian American and Chinese American cast member of Saturday Night Live (SNL). Yang began as a writer for SNL on the 2017-2018 season, and he was promoted to cast member in the 45th season that debuted in 2019. He is openly gay, making him only the third out gay male cast member in the show's history.

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Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong was the first Chinese American film star and actress, with a prolific career in silent films, television, and stage. Wong was born in 1905 in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles, and in 1922,she acted in the film The Toll of the Sea, one of the first movies made in Technicolor. Although she was typecast into stereotypical 'Dragon Lady' or demure 'Butterfly' roles, Anna May Wong helped to humanize Chinese Americans to mainstream American audiences during an intense period of discrimination and racism towards Asians.

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Art history has long been too white, too male, and too Western-centric. As more artists of color and artists from underrepresented backgrounds gain recognition, we are eager to feature innovative, groundbreaking Asian artists, and spotlight platforms that amplify the expression and voices of all Asian artists.

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Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist and activist. Openly critical of the Chinese government, he is renowned for making strong aesthetic statements addressing today’s geopolitical world. Ai uses architecture, installations, social media, and documentaries as expressions of new ways for his audiences to examine society and its values.

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Drue Kataoka

Drue Kataoka is a Japanese American contemporary artist, technologist, and activist. Kataoka works in a wide variety of media, from the material genres of steel sculpture, painting, installations, to interactive digital and technological platforms such as virtual reality and brain wave EEG. Her artwork Up! was featured in the first zero gravity art exhibit at the International Space Station, and she is a recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research & Education Institute Award for her extensive community service.

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East Side Stories

Dedicated to sharing authentic expressions of the Asian American & Pacific Islander experience through film, media, and education.

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The Peahce Project

The Peahce Project is a digital media platform to share underrepresented stories, art, and writing of Asian voices.

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Yaoyoi Kusama

Self-described as an 'obsessional artist,' Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist who is known for her distinct and extensive use of polka dots and her mirror infinity installations. Infused with autobiographical and psychological content, her conceptual art spans across paintings, installations, performance art, sculptures, poetry, and fashion.

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Cai Guo-Qiang

Known for his stunning pyrotechnic and firework performances, Cai Guo-Qiang was born in Quanzhou City, China, and studied gunpowder techniques in Japan. Currently based in New York City, Guo-Qiang was the director of visual and special effects in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and was the subject of the critically acclaimed 2016 Netflix documentary, Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang.

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Cultural Centers

With a growing global interest on Eastern art and culture, here are American institutions that preserve and celebrate Asian art, cultures, and perspectives.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these institutions are reopening and offer immersive virtual and onsite experiences for guests.

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Asia Society and Museum

Founded in 1956, the Asia Society is a leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context.

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Wing Luke Museum

As a National Park Service Affiliated Area and the first Smithsonian affiliate in the Pacific Northwest, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience offers an authentic and unique perspective on the American story.

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Japan Society

Japan Society is the leading U.S. organization committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language and education.

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Seattle Asian Art Museum

After a major three-year renovation and a year-long shutdown due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Seattle Asian Art Museum is reopening in the spring of 2021. Located in the grand 1933 Art Deco building in Volunteer Park, the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) exhibits historic and contemporary artworks.

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Asian Art Museum

Located in the heart of San Francisco, the museum is home to one of the world’s finest collections of Asian art, boasting more than 18,000 awe-inspiring artworks ranging from ancient jades and ceramics to contemporary video installations. Dynamic special exhibitions, cultural celebrations and public programs for all ages provide rich art experiences that unlock the past and spark questions about the future.

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Rubin Museum of Art

Established in 2004, The Rubin Museum of Art is a dynamic environment that stimulates learning, promotes understanding, and inspires personal connections to the ideas, cultures, and art of Himalayan regions.

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