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In May 2020, DPTV convened an advisory group with those from the AAPI community, whose guidance helped shape our Town Hall, “Asian Americans: The Detroit Story,” produced in partnership with APIAVote Michigan.
The panel discussions explored the accomplishments and challenges of the Asian American communities here in Metro Detroit at a time when anti-Asian rhetoric was increasing near the beginning of the pandemic.
Since then, the recent attacks on Asian Americans across the country have only increased. In March, the Atlanta spa shootings resulted in the deaths of 6 Asian women. A new report by StopAAPIHate.org states over 6,600 hate incidents occurred over the past year, an increase of 2,800 from the year before.
It became clear that the robust conversation we shared with audiences last May needed to be resurfaced. After the spa shootings this March, we reconvened our advisory group (which was comprised of members from 2020, plus some new additions from community organizations we’d met during coverage of the Stop Asian Hate rallies) to check in with them and ask what DPTV as their local PBS station could do to serve the AAPI community at this crucial time.
What we heard: Asian Americans are often depicted as an invisible minority. Tell stories that reflect the authentic lives of the AAPI community here; show the diversity; share the history; let us speak.
With that guidance in mind, One Detroit convened a town hall, “How We Got Here: The Asian American Experience in Metro Detroit”, which focused on the continued importance of the Vincent Chin case and how it galvanized Metro Detroit’s Asian American communities, asserting Asian American visibility, and how to move forward in a time when so many still feel unheard and afraid.
Moving forward, One Detroit and Detroit Public TV will continue to share conversations of those in the AAPI communities across southeast Michigan with the simple goal of giving pause and a reason to ponder and let these stories work on all of us. Conversations between family, friends, allies, and generations. Conversations sharing what life has been like living here in Metro Detroit and what they hope it will be like.
With that in mind, One Detroit has started the ‘Share Your AAPI Story’ project in partnership with WDET, inviting those in the AAPI community in Southeast Michigan to tell their stories all throughout the year.
Sharing these stories is part of our effort to bring a broader understanding of the diverse communities that make up where we live–so that all of us can get to know our neighbors, to know our towns, to know Detroit.
The range of topics these conversations cover will be as diverse as the AAPI experience itself. As a visitor to this site, you’ll have an opportunity to watch and listen closely as those in our local AAPI community share their joys and struggles when it comes to their varied experiences–including but not limited to: relating to their partners of a different background, dealing with racism, or reconnecting with their heritage. Some of the stories you come across may echo your own lived experiences, some may be in stark contrast to them, some may feel like a little bit of both. Whatever your response may be, what’s important is that you’re here.