This blog was guest written by the Asian American Journalism Association, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.
From a Presidential tweet to a citizen’s video post of a dramatic event, news stories are happening all the time — and they’re being told faster than ever. As journalists, our job is to make sense of it all: we capture the stories that matter and weed out any distracting misinformation. It’s a serious responsibility, especially when it comes to covering communities and issues that are overlooked by mainstream media. As Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists, we have the unique opportunity to advocate for stories that aren’t often told. That’s why the inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives in newsrooms is so important.
Since its inception, media diversity has been a core mission of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), a nonprofit educational and professional organization. In 1981, a small group of Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists felt a need to support one another and to encourage more AAPIs to pursue journalism at a time when there were few represented in the media. Today, AAJA spans more than 1,500 members across the United States and Asia, and remains committed to advancing diversity in newsrooms in order to ensure fair and accurate coverage of communities of color.
Last year, the AAJA San Francisco Bay Area chapter wanted to do more to share the diverse voices and stories of the local AAPI community. With the support of Comcast, we launched HELLA ASIAN, a live storytelling fundraiser that gathered 7 different speakers of different backgrounds and mediums to share their creative work with a new audience. It was a sold-out event, and cultivated a unique sense of community with more than 200 people in attendance. Check out photos from last year’s event here.
With the continued and increased support of Comcast and Xfinity, HELLA ASIAN is back! This time we’re exploring the question: “What the hell is Asian anyway?” AAJA is meant to represent hundreds of diverse groups, yet there are often struggles around the definitions of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) identity, as well as equal representation and erasure. Our line-up of diverse storytellers explore the complicated ways that people connect within the AAPI community — an exploration of both its opportunities and limitations.
This year’s storytellers:
- Jeff Chang, We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation
- Cristina Kim, Truth Be Told, KQED
- Andria Lo and Valerie Luu, Chinatown Pretty
- Thomas Mangloña and K.L. Parker, Oceania Connects
- Urmila Ramakrishnan and Leena Trivedi-Grenier, Mixed
- Najib Aminy, Some Noise / Reveal
- Terisa Siagatonu, Poet
When: Saturday, August 24, 2019
Where: Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA (see map)
Tickets are on sale here. All proceeds from the event will support AAJA-SF’s annual scholarships, which subsidize expenses for Bay Area students pursuing journalism, as well as grants, workshops, and other community programming that support working Bay Area journalists. We welcome you to join us for an entertaining night to celebrate diverse perspectives and the power of storytelling!
AAJA- SF Bay Area Chapter Board of Directors:
Julia Chan, President
Jaeah Lee, Vice President
Manjula Varghese, Vice President
Lauren Kawana, Treasurer
Brian Nguyen, Secretary
Paayal Zaveri, At-Large Board Member
Tim Wong, At-Large Board Member
Cecilia Lei, Student Representative