Heritage Heroes

The month of May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and I couldn’t be more excited to launch this project I’ve been working on!

Many AAPI youth today have lost touch with their roots and heritage, but there are still many of us who follow in the footsteps of those who came before us. Heritage Heroes is dedicated and made to honor those who have helped paved the way for Asian American Pacific Islanders!

Although he is not photographed here, Vincent Chin’s murder in 1978 was one of the driving forces that fueled the social justice movement among our community. If you have not watched it, I recommend watching the documentary, Who Killed Vincent Chin?

Being Asian American, Asian, or Pacific Islander today has never been more important and relevant. Despite our differences, we as a community can no longer be silent. If you do not see someone below you resonate or identify with, be the first in your community to move mountains.

Resistance is, and will always be in our blood.

Richard Aoki — BJ Yebisu

Richard Masato Aoki (1938–2008) was an American educator and college counselor. However, Aoki is best known as a civil rights activist and early member of the Black Panther Party.

Constance Wu — Tiffany Wang

Constance Wu is known for her portrayal of Jessica Huang on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, but the 34-year-old actress never hesitates to speak up for what she believes is right on social media, and recently, she’s been posting about her involvement with The Big Hundred, a nonpartisan social media campaign aimed at promoting civic engagement.

Larry Itliong — Reginald Lata

Larry Dulay Itliong (1913–1977) was a Filipino American labor organizer. He organized West Coast agricultural workers starting in the 1930s, and rose to national prominence in 1965.

Margaret Cho — Sung Ji Kim

Margaret Cho is a comedian and actress and is known to be an outspoken social rights activist.

George Takei — Casey Cheng

George Hosato Takei is a Japanese American actor, director, author, and activist.

Leila Khaled — Nadeen Eliyan

Leila Khaled is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Known as the first woman to hijack an airplane in 1969, she is one of the century’s leading, political activists.

Yuri Kochiyama — Nicole Hayashida

Yuri Kochiyama (1921–2014) was an American activist. Influenced by her Japanese American family’s internment and her association with Malcom X, she advocated for Black separatism, the Maoist revolution, reparations for the Japanese American internees, the anti-war movement, and the rights of people imprisoned by the U.S. government.

Thank you to everyone who helped be a part of this project. Continue to be a leader, an activist, an ally, an accomplice. Continue to inspire those around you and always be the change you want to see.

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