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I’m Qina (pronounced Yee-na) Liu and I’m taking over this edition of the URL Media newsletter. Our work as journalists is to be the watchdogs of society. To tell the stories largely ignored. Help us tell and amplify these stories by sharing this newsletter with friends or by signing up for URL Media’s free email newsletter for more regular updates.
Photo: Nitin Mukul
I grew up feeling invisible, another Asian American kid in America caught in the in-betweens of being Asian and American and not feeling like I had a place inside the venn diagram. Too American to be able to fully understand my parents’ culture and country and too Asian to be fully accepted by my white peers. I was an other, who kept parts of herself hidden in order to fit in.
I’m not alone.
Jesús Ian Kumamoto, a journalist with Asian parents who grew up in Mexico and later moved to the U.S., told palabra.’s Alejandra Arevalo: “When I moved to Texas, people put me on the label of Asian American, and I didn’t really know what that meant because, in my mind, I was Mexican. It was like another layer of understanding this whole other identity and learning how to fit into it. And eventually, I stopped trying to explain my background to people because it gets really exhausting.”
Author Anjali Enjeti, who identifies as half Indian, echoed these sentiments, telling Scalawag: “For so long, I was trying to erase myself. I was always made conscious and aware that I was different from many people around me.”
That’s part of the Asian American experience and the Asian Latino experience. As Cathy Park Hong writes in her book, “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning”: “In the popular imagination, Asian Americans inhabit a vague purgatorial status: not white enough nor black enough; distrusted by African Americans, ignored by whites, unless we’re being used by whites to keep the black man down.”
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
URL Media was founded to uplift, respect and love those who felt invisible. To unite rather than divide. To tell the stories of marginalized Black and Brown communities and to remind them that we see you and you will not be ignored.
Photo: Jordan Hibbert
To tell stories like Jiang Qi Yao’s, an 82-year-old widow being priced out of his New York City apartment by his landlord, the nonprofit affordable housing developer Asian Americans for Equality. “AAFE is murdering people without knives,” he told Documented NY’s Sarah Ngu in Manderin through a translator. “They’re robbers preying on seniors, pushing me out and making it hard for me to survive.”
Stories like Romy Vilsaint’s, a 12-year-old New York City fifth-grader who died after complaining of severe headaches sustained from being punched in the head by another student in school. The Hatian Times’ Sam Bojarski is telling Romy’s story after his family say PS 361 is trying to “erase everything like nothing ever happened.” “It would have been different if it would have happened to another race,” said Jeanne Vilsaint, Romy’s godmother. “They just assume that ‘he’s Haitian, poor little Haitian, maybe we can do this, that and the other and it’s going to go away.’”
Stories like Rosario Passmore’s, Lupe Weaks’, Fabiola Merlin’s and Vicky Morales’, Latina Texas-based COVID-19 nurses or caregivers who cared for sick patients while relatives were battling the virus at home. “Several times, after I got home, all I could do was cry,” Merlin told palabra. “I didn't know how to get that pain out. It was devastating to see one person die right after another. I had to seek therapy.”
Photo: Oklahoma State Univ. Tulsa Special Digital Collection
Stories of the Black Americans who died during the Tulsa Race Massacre 100 years ago. WURD Radio talked to journalist Russell LaCour, 64, who lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after the massacre, about why this story and its history was largely ignored for so long. “What happened in Tulsa has never been repaid. It hasn’t been addressed. It certainly has been hidden for years,” he said.
Stories like Wendi Cooper’s, a 42-year-old Black transgender activist in New Orleans who is trying to repeal a law that unfairly targets queer sex workers to this day. Scalawag’s Matt Nadel writes about the history of Louisiana’s Crime Against Nature by Solicitation statute, a bill “not even the bill's author—admits to remembering,” which Cooper calls "the matriarch of our destruction."
Stories like Japanese and Haitian athlete Naomi Osaka’s, who withdrew from the French Open this week after she refused to conduct interviews with the media. “If there was ever a public cry for help, this is it,” wrote Peter Tyler in an article featured on ScrollStack’s Scroll.In. “She’s talked about suffering bouts of depression since she won the US Open in 2018, how she wears headphones to try to cope with her social anxiety to stay in her own little bubble.”
Photo: Samantha Sophia
Stories of the undocumented who “find themselves in the bizarre position of having distinct political needs, but no official political voice.” Epicenter-NYC’s Felipe De La Hoz writes about this immigrant community and New York City legislation that would help. Meanwhile, TBN24 continues to bring election coverage to a Bangledeshi audience. You can watch the latest interview with New York City mayoral candidate Shaun Donovan on TBN24’s Facebook page.
By telling stories like these, we want Black and Brown folk to know that you aren’t invisible. You don’t have to prove your existence. You exist. We see you. We love you. And your stories will be told.
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One last request
In a quest to continually uplift our communities, we are starting a new project. And we want to hear from you. Tell us what's been bringing you joy lately. Or what was the best thing that happened to you this past week? We want to share your good news on our social media accounts and newsletter to uplift our communities. More details.
The urls on URL
If you missed us on The Laura Flanders Show, you can watch URL Media co-founders S. Mitra Kalita and Sara Lomax-Reese, Sahan Journal founder Mukhtar M. Ibrahim and URL Media partner and The Haitian Times founder Garry Pierre-Pierre reflecting on Memorial Day and talking about the twin wars of COVID-19 and police brutality. They also answered questions on BIPOC and the foundation of URL Media. The episode will also air on local PBS stations. Check here to see if it’s available near you.
We just hosted a great, timely virtual event called “RUN THE WORLD: What women should demand in a post-pandemic world.” Check it out here.