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Emil Guillermo: ‘Strong Like Bamboo’ Stories of AAPI Resilience at Oakland Asian Cultural Center

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Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607

By Emil Guillermo

During the pandemic, I was in a group of Asian American storytellers based in the Bay Area on a weekly Zoom call when six Korean American women were killed in what has come to be known as the Atlanta Spa killings in March of 2021.

From that point on, the storytellers of Asian American Storytellers in Action (ASIA) realized we all had stories of discrimination and hate worth sharing.

The group’s discussion through the pandemic has resulted in “Strong Like Bamboo: Stories of Resilience for Healing in the Era of Anti-AAPI Violence,” a community event Sunday May 28 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center from 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

“I asked myself ‘how do we heal?’ How do we respond to the crises we’re going through,” said Nancy Wang, a psychotherapist as well as an ASIA member and a founder of Eth-Noh-TEC, a storytelling theater based in San Francisco.

“I thought it would be great to gather to hear other people’s stories about discrimination they have experienced but came through it somehow as an inspiration for others to also find solace and support and strength in dealing with what’s going on.

“We all need to know we’re not alone,” she added. “That we have each other and we have allies.”

The name from the project came from Nancy’s husband and partner Robert Kukuchi-Yngoho, who came up with “Strong Like Bamboo.”

“There’s an ancient anecdote that a single bamboo piece can be bent and eventually broken,” said Kukuchi-Yngoho. “But when you put together many bamboos, they are strong like iron. As Asian Americans that’s who we are as a community.”

The free, three-hour event will feature storytelling from six professional storytellers (including yours truly) and others from the national AAPI community like Alton Takiyama Chung from Portland, Ore., MJ Kang from Los Angeles, and Linda Yemoto from the Bay Area.

Afterward, Russell Jeong, professor of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State, will lead a group discussion of the stories. Jeong is also the co-founder of #StopAAPIHate which recorded more than 14,000 instances of self-reported hate transgressions during the pandemic.

Some say it was the remarks of former President Donald Trump scapegoating Asians for the spread of the virus that led to the violent reaction toward AAPI.

The audience will then break into groups where people can share their stories.

The afternoon will also include two short movies on the Asian American experience. The event closes with a reflective song by Kukuchi-Yngoho, and a number by a well-known group of rappers made up of senior women known as the Follies.

I look forward to sharing my stories and hope to see you all at the free event.

JOIN IN PERSON:
Date: Sunday May 28th, 2022
Time: 2:00-5:00 pm PDT
Where: Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607
Register to attend this Free live, in-person event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/strong-like-bamboo-tickets-509561551317
*Recording of the live event will be made available for those unable to attend.

– or –

JOIN ON ZOOM:
This event will be livestreamed on Zoom and recorded, same date and time!
To register for the live virtual event on Zoom, please visit:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpceyrpjIoHtGozoJo7reCVDGg2PRXkGKi#/registration
*Our Zoom links have not worked in past emails, so let us know if our long link doesn’t work.

If you have any questions, please reach out to contact@ethnohtec.org.

The program is funded in part by the California Arts Council.

The post Emil Guillermo: ‘Strong Like Bamboo’ Stories of AAPI Resilience at Oakland Asian Cultural Center first appeared on Post News Group. This article originally appeared in Post News Group.

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