I went to San Francisco for a very quick work trip, visiting the set of my Christmas movie. I was excited, but also really nervous. Throughout the pandemic, it seems like San Francisco and the Bay Area have become a massive danger zone, especially if you're Asian. Since I was only bringing a carry on, I realized I wasn't going to be able to bring my pepper spray, and I worried. Thankfully, I also have a self-defense alarm and I also thought about how my big heavy water bottle could also serve as a weapon if needed. This may seem overdramatic, but I was very concerned about being Asian and a woman, walking around this once charming city.
Well, I can tell you now that the city is still charming, and though it's still important to be cautious and attacks against Asians are still a regular occurrence, I found that especially in Chinatown, I felt safe. And Chinatown looked more beautiful than ever.
While I like to think of every day as a day to celebrate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, May is officially AAPI Heritage Month. That means, it's a month to learn about, celebrate, and support our beautiful and rich community. So, to kick-off this month, I'd like to share a few AAPI businesses you can support. 50 to be exact.
The first time I saw the hashtag #AsianJoy, a flood of images flashed across my mind and made me smile. I've never loved a hashtag, but I love this one.
The main visuals that come to mind for me when I think of #AsianJoy is family and food.
It makes me think of my Nai Nai picking us up from school and sleepovers at her house.
And summers when my Ama would visit, and we’d walk to the Japanese market where she’d buy me a cookie with pink icing and sprinkles.
It makes me think of my mom buying me way too much food, especially when I've just bought groceries or it's something she knows I like.
And the LOUD family gatherings with everyone's dogs, and of course, too much food.
It makes me think of my cousins and all the fun and adventures we've had around the world and in our own yards.
And of cartoons my brother and I used to watch, like Totoro and Sailor Moon, or trips to Sanrio. (Why are Asians so good at being cute?)
It also makes me feel the pride I have for my families' histories and everything they've been through to get to where we are now.
#AsianJoy is the pride I feel when I think of the resilience of the AAPI community. The resilience that we never learned about in school.
What does #AsianJoy mean to you? What do you think of when you see this phrase or hashtag?