“Hope Lies in the History of Our Fight”: 17 Social Media Stars Amplifying APIA Experiences


Popular for her captivating voice-overs set to cooking footage, Joanne Molinaro, aka @thekoreanvegan, has gained over 2.3 million TikTok followers. Her intimate stories about personal moments, family history, and mental health are helpful reminders to reflect and take a second to look at life from a new angle.

What gives Joanne hope for the future in 2021: “I think what makes me hopeful is what I am observing as a change in behavior by API. I’ve been at my law firm for almost 17 years and the prevailing modus operandi of the Asian American community in the legal industry is, ‘Duck your head, keep your head down, don’t rock the boat, don’t complain, do your job.’ That’s the way we paved our way to success. But what ultimately ends up happening is, because of that, we become disengaged.

“And what I start to see now, particularly in the legal industry but I think across the board with this younger generation, is an unwillingness to abide or adopt that methodology anymore. They are speaking out; they are identifying instances of micro- or macroaggressions; they are not willing to be silenced and complicit anymore; they want people to understand their stories and they are becoming bolder and bolder. And I think that that’s so important, because what it does is two things. Number one, it brings awareness to their struggle, [to] people who are otherwise completely oblivious to it, quite frankly. And then, on top of that, it [makes it so] we are now allowed to view each other horizontally.

“We can now talk about these issues, we can support each other through our pain. We can say, ‘Hey, I know exactly what you’re feeling.’ But if we didn’t communicate what we were feeling to each other before, there was no way for us to say, ‘I support you, I stand with you, I understand you, you’re not alone.’ And that’s what I’m seeing right now with what’s happening, is this groundswell of solidarity within the API community. That is what gives me a lot of hope. That we are building a consortium within all of the different segments of the API community that will outlast what we’re seeing, this insidious wave of crime against our community.”

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