In partnership with Comcast, the Asian American Journalists Association held its third annual Hella Asian fundraiser, returning for the first time since its pandemic hiatus on Thursday, June 30th. The sold-out show was a major success, connecting the Bay Area Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and its allies for an unforgettable night.
Hella Asian was part of the KQED Live series and a night of live storytelling performed by local AAPI journalists and creators in the Bay Area, spotlighting cultural accomplishments and setbacks through a creative lens. Under the theme “The Comeback,” this year’s event explored issues such as generational trauma, the caste system, and what it means to be an Asian American in this day and age.
Featured speakers, Ericka Cruz-Guevarra, JP Dobrin, Barnali Ghosh, Michelle Mush Lee, Richard Lui, Sonia Paul, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, and Wendy Tokuda, spoke from the heart when sharing about their experiences as people of color in the media industry. They posed challenges and questions to inspire reflection and resilience. Each performance was raw and resonated profoundly with the audience, leaving each attendee in awe.
This year, AAPI food and beverage vendors were present for the first time in Hella Asian’s history. This opportunity gave local Bay Area businesses a chance to shine alongside the performances. It was also another example of how the Asian American experience can enhance an industry through their cultural embracement and expression. Vendors, Joodooboo, Ox and Tiger, El Chino Grande, Hobo Wines, Dokkabier, and VERVET were a hit amongst the crowd. Attendees were able to connect and interact in the most natural way possible: over a shared meal.
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.
Comcast has been the proud presenting sponsor of Hella Asian since its inception and is thrilled with how this year’s event unfolded.
During the program, AAJA-SF’s board president, Cecilia Lei, announced the return of Rising With The Tides, a storytelling project brought to you by Comcast and AAJA-SF designed to support AAPI storytellers and amplify the stories of the local AAPI community. Each selected storytelling project will receive a grant to support the process and its creator(s). More details about the program and its application process will be revealed soon. Read more about the first round of Rising With The Tides here.