AAPI Heritage Month: Team Member Forum

by Jordan Ramirez
Digital Managing Editor

As part of the Sacramento Kings efforts to highlight Asian American & Pacific Islander Month, the team hosted another Diversity & Inclusion Council Team Member Forum via Microsoft Teams on Tuesday to discuss their rich heritage, cultural values and today's struggles of the AAPI community.

The panel included Roger Chung, Chair of Ethnic Studies Department at Laney College, Michelle Woo, Co-Founder of For Freedoms, Erin Yoshi, Art-Based Community Strategist and Lauren Oto, Communications & Membership for Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce.

"As you all know, this last year and a half has devastated our small businesses," said Lauren Oto, discussing California AAPI communities in California.

"We are living in two pandemics: the COVID-19 pandemic and then we also have the social justice pandemic, which are two major things affecting our minority communities and AAPI communities."

"We have 48 countries in Asia," explained Erin Yoshi. "We are more than half the population of the world. 59% of the population of the world live in Asia. It really sets the tone of how diverse our communities are — range in class, range in culture, food, music. Everything from the richness that cultures have to offer, we have very vast diversities in communities."

"As a social and political body, we have witnessed an invisibilization of our narratives and our voice," said Michelle Woo. "That has also played a role in a lot of racism within the AAPI community. The racism, colorism and discrimination between different groups but also towards folks who historically we have worked in solidarity with."

"Whether it's in media or sports or other institutions in the United States, for the longest time Asian Americans felt they had to prove Americanness or whiteness in a frame that didn't necessarily represent their stories and their narratives," explained Roger Chung on lack of representation in the AAPI communities.

"For groups that felt marginalized, un-American or un-white as a result of the relationship between white-ness and Americanism, we've missed a lot of stories that should've emerged."

Watch the full panel below:

For additional resources, visit Kings.com or Sacramento Kings social channels.

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