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Project Voice

Project Voice is a podcast series is spearheaded by the voices of womxn and nonbinary folx of the Asian diaspora. As the host of Project Voice, I hope that this series will act as a digital space where members of our community can go to for guidance and resources. - Jessica Nguyen Founder and Host of Project Voice
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Project Voice
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Mar 1, 2019

This is it. We made it. Season 4 finale.

As many of you know, Project Voice has been running for a little over 2 years since November 2016. When I first started the podcast, I only expected myself to produce 15 episodes at the most. It was started by me and a bunch of my friends who I invited to share their experiences on the show. Most of us didn’t come from an academic background in ethnic studies or Asian American studies. We were just speaking from our own experience[s].

I was learning as I was going through the conversations taking place on Project Voice, and over time, eventually became very active and involved with the activist community. I learned to be more convicted with my beliefs while at the same time, open-minded and respectful towards those who hold different views from mine. I’ve learned and listened from a variety of perspectives.

As many of you know, I have not been in the U.S. for a few years now and just moved my base to Australia where I’ll be living for at least another year. During this time period, I plan to reach out and connect with the Asian Australian community and potentially other Asian diasporic communities all over the world outside the U.S. As an American, I feel like It’s time to learn and listen again. My busy schedule means I won’t be able to keep up with our monthly release for Project Voice.

However, I do want to say that I spent a long time to decide putting Project Voice on another hiatus. To be honest, I wanted to transition out of Project Voice for more than a year now and have been putting this decision on hold because I see how much value it offers to our community. I can see how much I’ve grown through this project as well as many other people who’ve been following PV since. I feel honored to see how many people have heard about Project Voice and how many inspiring change makers have been interviewed on our platform. At the same time, ironically speaking, I do feel like I’ve lost my voice working on Project Voice, a now large-scale platform for influential voices. For me right now, I want to spend some time to rest and reflect on how Project Voice can continue thriving as an AUTHENTIC media outlet for our Asian community tuning in all over the world. What can we do with our content to keep our audience informed and engaged AUTHENTICALLY?

As a child of immigrant parents, I knew what it’s like to feel like I have to reinvent the wheel and now having an established platform for other Asian diasporic folx to share their stories, my next questions are: how can we improve our reach so that many others won’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel?  And also, how can I transform Project Voice into a self-sustaining platform for not only our current generations but our future generations of aspiring creators and storytellers as well?

I’d like to thank our listeners for tuning in, sharing feedback on our podcast, and engaging with our content. I’d like to thank our team members for the time and energy they put into contributing a cause that they care about. I’d like to personally thank Grace Abe, our graphic designer and illustrator for leading last year’s rebranding project. Because of Grace, we were able to provide a powerful visual experience alongside with the release of our episodes. Last but not least, I’d also like to thank our sponsors, Found Coffee and Bharat Babies for believing in our mission. If it weren’t all of you, Project Voice would not be where it is today.

Much love,

Jess

Feb 15, 2019

About a year ago, Minnie Ng and I invited Jen Sungshine to share with us not only her history and experience in activism and video production under Love Intersections but her insights about collaborating with other multitalented QTPOC artists as well. From our interview with Jen, we will learn about why collaborations may be the most effective and ethical approach to sharing stories of communities across borders. In this episode, we also will discuss more about the importance of engaging in difficult dialogues and listening with empathy and compassion as creative activists.

As we near the end of season 4, Project Voice will be preparing for its lineup for season 5 (and ANOTHER big surprise coming soon!). If you are interested in being interviewed, please email us at projectvoicepod@gmail.com!

Jen Sungshine speaks for a living, but lives for breathing life into unspoken situations in unusual places. She is a nerdy queer Taiwanese interdisciplinary artist/activist, facilitator, and community mentor based in Vancouver, BC, and the Co-Creative Director and founder of Love Intersections, a media arts collective that cultivate a vision of collaborative filmmaking and relational storytelling. Jen's artistic practice involves learning through unlearning; and instead of calling you out, she wants to call you in, to make artful social change with her. In the audience, she looks for art in your interruption.

Follow Love Intersections:

https://loveintersections.com/

https://www.facebook.com/loveintersections/

https://www.twitter.com/intersectlove

https://www.instagram.com/loveintersections/

 

Feb 1, 2019

Content warning: sexual assault

Years before the online #MeToo movement that took place in October 2017, Yee Xiong filed a civil suit case against her attacker. Determined to bring justice to her case, she bravely held her ground despite the bribery and threats that occurred during the conviction. It was only a few months later that Yee reached out to me to again to share news of her huge win of her lawsuit case. The legal battle lasted for 6 years. According to a NY Times interview, Yee hopes that her victory will send “a very powerful and positive message to the world that people will be held accountable for their actions, no matter how long it takes.”

In this episode, Yee will share with us how she navigated through the legalities of her case and healed herself after the incident. On a larger scale, we also will discuss about how sexual violence is related to immigration rights.

Yee Xiong is a daughter of Hmong refugee parents and an advocate for sexual assault survivors and immigrant rights. She earned her BA in Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis, and works as a community educator at her local rape crisis center in Yolo County. She is passionate about building solidarity among historically oppressed communities through grassroots organizing, women and youth of color empowerment, Southeast Asian and migrant worker issues, and ethnic studies.

Follow Yee on Instagram @yee.speaks!

Jan 28, 2019

Brought to you by our co-host, Afsana Oreen:

Anti-Blackness within the South Asian diasporic community is often not discussed. That’s why I was excited to learn how Nina Bhattacharya – a writer, educator, and cultural organizer – combats anti-blackness. I invite you to modify her strategies, with some additional guidance from the Aerogram’s article “The Revolution Starts with My Thathi,” the next time you need to confront anti-Blackness in your community or in unfamiliar spaces.

Nina Bhattacharya is a writer, educator, podcast producer, and cultural organizer based in Cambridge, MA. Her writing has been published in The Toast, Kajal Magazine, and The Aerogram.

Dec 18, 2018

Recently, a man by the name Edward Blum and the Students for Fair Admissions have teamed up to sue Harvard for discriminating against its Asian American applicants with its affirmative action policy. Affirmative action has been one of the hottest debates for a while within our community and I thought that it would be really helpful to have Quyen Dinh, Executive Director from the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, also known as SEARAC, on the podcast to share her personal story as well as SEARAC’s findings on the important impact affirmative action and data disaggregation has had on our Southeast Asian American community.

Quyen Dinh is the Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). As Executive Director, Quyen has advocated for Southeast Asian Americans on key civil rights issues including education, immigration, criminal justice, health, and aging.  Born to Vietnamese refugees, Quyen identifies as a second-generation Vietnamese American. She holds a Masters of Public Policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Quyen was born in New Orleans, LA, and grew up in Orange County, CA and San Jose, CA.  She currently resides with her husband in Washington, DC.

 

Follow SEARAC on:

https://twitter.com/SEARAC

https://www.facebook.com/searac/

https://www.instagram.com/searac/

Dec 6, 2018

It is no surprise to us how often Asian women are bombarded by harmful messages from society and media. Tired of being told how we should navigate the world, Sung Yeon Choimorrow and I will be opening up the conversation on body issues by first discussing and dispelling stereotypes fostered by microaggressions, internalized racism, fatphobia, racism, and more. Later on in the podcast, Sung Yeon also will share her professional involvement with body politics through means of organizational advocacy under the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). She will bring up topics on NAPAWF’s current agenda, such as immigration and deportation. We will end strong with closing remarks to questions that many of us in our community have asked every day: What does #bodylove mean to us? What does it mean to have agency over our bodies? How can we change the culture and attitude around our politicized bodies and finally reclaim agency over our bodies?

Sung Yeon Choimorrow is the executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, the nation’s only organization dedicated to advocacy at the intersection of gender and racial justice for Asian American Pacific Islander women and girls. She is a Public Voices fellow with the Op-Ed Project.

Follow NAPAWF at:

https://www.napawf.org/

https://www.facebook.com/NAPAWF/

https://twitter.com/napawf

https://www.instagram.com/napawf/

 

Nov 15, 2018

So, I was ecstatic to know that Bharat Babies was going to be a sponsor for Project Voice and I really wanted to give the platform to its founder, Sailaja, because what she’s doing for our community is really inspiring. When I was looking for sponsors for Project Voice, one of the items on my criteria was to partner with a business who reflected our values and I believe that Bharat Babies really fit the mold for us as a business. As someone who grew up craving for stories that looked like me, I thought it was refreshing to hear that there was someone out there who decided to make a change about it. So, here I’m going to have Sailaja share her story on how she started Bharat Babies.

Bharat Babies is an indie publishing house that shares the stories of South Asian characters doing everything from the everyday to the extraordinary. From stories of superhero, the celebrating festivals, to standing up for themselves, Bharat Babies helps to ensure that every child can see themselves in the stories told. Bharat Babies can be found at www.bharatbabies.com, facebook.com/bharatbabies, twitter.com/bharatbabies, and instagram.com/bharatbabies.

Sailaja has been a passionate volunteer in the Hindu Youth community for over twenty years and is an accomplished academic with degrees from Northeastern University, Harvard University, and Simmons College. She has also worked with multiple startups, helping them to refine their brand identity and develop their marketing communications. Her unique set of skills and experience help to her to drive Bharat Babies forward. Her ambition is to have Bharat Babies be an active participant in the field of multicultural children’s literature, moving forward with the belief that we need diverse kids lit for a diverse world. When she's not working to change the face of children's publishing, she can be founded hanging with her two adorable children at the park or at circus class (really, that's a thing).

 

Nov 3, 2018

After coming back from a retreat for Asian American women, I have fostered a deeper appreciation for physical spaces dedicated solely for Asian women. That’s why Dr. Connie Wun is here today to share about her upcoming launch of #ImReady, being held from November 3rd-4th, 2018. She will be sharing how she founded her own organization for AAPI women as the director of AAPI Women Lead, “an intergenerational organization that strengthens the social and political power of AAPI communities through the leadership of AAPI Women-identified, women and girls in solidarity with other communities of color.”

“The #ImReady Movement aims to strengthen the progressive political and social platforms of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the US through the leadership of self-identified AAPI women and girls.  Our goal is to challenge and help end the intersections of violence against and within our communities. We do this work in solidarity with other communities of color.

The #ImReady Movement raises visibility around self-identified AAPI women and our experiences with #MeToo, racial discrimination, war, immigration, and more. It also celebrates the leadership and power of AAPI women in Education, Business, Technology, and Politics. At the conferences, we bring together AAPI women leaders and our supporters to learn from one another, tell our stories, and to highlight our diverse leadership stories.

We invite you to join us to better understand the complex Asian and Pacific Islander diasporas, histories, and experiences. We invite you to come honor the stories and leadership of our communities.

We are bringing together some of the most brilliant people to explore what it means to be a self-identified AAPI woman in the United States. We know you are one of them.”

Connie Wun, Ph.D., is co-founder of AAPI Women Lead, a non-profit organization that helps to support the progressive social and political platforms of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the U.S through the leadership of self-identified women and girls. She has spent the last 20 years dedicating her work to ending violence against women and girls of color as a professor, high school teacher, organizer and activist, and mentor. She is also the founder and director of Transformative Research, a consultancy that conducts and trains organizations on community-driven research and data analysis. Her work is informed by her experiences of being born in Oakland, CA, raised throughout working class communities of color in the Bay Area, and as the daughter of Vietnamese refugees. Dr. Wun is currently a Visiting Scholar in the Women and Gender Studies Department at San Francisco State University. She is a former National Science Foundation Fellow, American Association of University Fellow, UC Berkeley Chancellor's Fellow, Mills College Research at the Intersections Fellow, and EdTrust-West Fellow. Some of her publications can be found on Truth-out.org and Feminist Wire as well as in Critical Sociology; Journal of Educational Policy; Race, Ethnicity and Education; and book anthologies on race, gender, school discipline and violence. Dr. Wun received her PhD from the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley.

Follow AAPI Women Lead:

https://www.facebook.com/AAPIWomenLead/

https://www.instagram.com/aapiwomenlead

https://twitter.com/AAPIWomenLead

Oct 25, 2018

We are honored to be releasing a 3-episode special feature with SEARAC, also known as the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center. “SEARAC is a national civil rights organization that empowers Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese American communities to create a socially just and equitable society. As representatives of the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States, SEARAC stands together with other refugee communities, communities of color, and social justice movements in pursuit of social equity.” Each month from October to December 2018, Project Voice will be releasing an episode that highlights an important social justice issue that SEARAC is fighting for on behalf of Southeast Asian American families, students, and elders.

This month, our topic of discussion will be on our current government’s immigration policies. Oftentimes, the fight for immigrant justice does not uplift or highlight the behind the scenes organizing anchored by the wives, sisters, and community members of those facing deportation, today we are going to have SEARAC share a new resource created by and for families who have been directly impacted by unjust deportation policies.  Particularly, this toolkit centers around the experience of the #ReleaseMN8 campaign in its rise to prominence since its creation in 2016. Katrina, SEARAC’s Director of National Policy, will be imparting us valuable findings from the Southeast Asian American Solidarity Toolkit: A Guide to Resisting Deportations and Detentions from The #ReleaseMN8 Campaign.

What is “#ReleaseMN8”?

“In August 2016, the families and supporters of eight Cambodian American men in Minnesota—collectively known as the MN8—decided to organize a campaign to fight the sudden detention and orders of deportation of their loved ones. The #ReleaseMN8 campaign wanted the men, all in their 30s and 40s, to return to the communities where they had faced and overcome countless difficulties in their lives. It also sought to inspire others to join the movement to restore human rights to all refugees and immigrants. The #ReleaseMN8 campaign went public in September 2016. The determination and commitment of the MN8, their families, and their supporters led to the eventual release of three of the eight men.”

Katrina Dizon Mariategue is the Director of National Policy, leading and coordinating SEARAC’s national advocacy efforts promoting social justice and equity among Southeast Asian American communities. Prior to this role, she served as SEARAC’s Immigration Policy Manager for three years overseeing the organization’s immigration policy and racial healing work. Before coming to SEARAC, Katrina worked in the labor movement for six years at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). In 2011, she was elected to serve as DC chapter president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), the only national Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) union membership organization. In this capacity, she led the chapter’s local advocacy campaigns and organizing work around immigrant workers’ rights, coordinated civic engagement programs for the 2012 elections, and strengthened local networks through extensive coalition building efforts. She also served on APALA’s National Executive Board and co-chaired the organization’s Young Leaders Council.

Katrina holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she also served as graduate coordinator at the Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy to advise, mentor, and educate AAPI students on campus. In her free time, Katrina enjoys playing with her 2-year-old daughter, food tripping with her husband, binge watching shows on Netflix, and watching Broadway musicals.

Follow SEARAC on:

https://twitter.com/SEARAC

https://www.facebook.com/searac/

https://www.instagram.com/searac/

Oct 20, 2018

Suffering from writer's block? Seek inspiration by listening to author Sharbari Ahmed's journey writing across different genres. She shares why it is important for her to challenge tropes about South-Asians, particularly Bangladeshis and Muslims, in her pieces. I hope you leave feeling motivated to turn your daydreams into stories as I did.

- Afsana Oreen

Sharbari’s short fiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Asian Pacific American Journal, Catamaran, Caravan Magazine, Inroads, Wasafiri, Painted Bride Quarterly and Roanoke Review. Her debut novel, Dust Under Our Feet (working title) is forthcoming in 2019 by Amazon India/Westland Publishing. 

She is a 2018 Storyknife Fellow and a Tribeca All Access Fellow. She is on the faculty of the MFA program at Manhattanville College and Artist in Residence in the Film and Television MA Program at Sacred Heart University.

In 2018, she gave a TEDx talk about grappling with her Muslim identity, entitled, “Between the Kabaah Sharif and a Hard Place.”

 She was on the writing team for Season One of the TV Series, “Quantico” on ABC. Most recently she wrote the screen adaptation of Mitali Perkin’s YA novel Rickshaw Girl. Her debut book The Ocean of Mrs. Nagai: Stories was released in November 2013 by Daily Star Books.  

Her play Raisins Not Virgins was produced by the Workshop Theater Company and has been performed worldwide. The screenplay version was part of the Tribeca All Access program at the Tribeca Film Festival.

She was born in Bangladesh and raised in New York, Connecticut and Ethiopia. She lives in Darien, CT.

Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pg/MrsNagai or Twitter @sharbarizohra!

Oct 3, 2018

Ever since Project Voice has relaunched its brand, I’ve been waiting to share with you my latest interview with June Kaewsith (Jumakae) on healing and transformative justice. What’s so unique about this conversation is that it speaks to me where I am today as a social justice activist. Oftentimes, as social justice warriors, we often navigate through life with strong messages that we often show a lot of passion advocating. But does that mean we always have to live like martyrs? When and how can we begin to take care of ourselves and our body?

In this episode, June and I will explore the intersections of social justice and healing. We all have our own trauma and adversity, but for many of us, healing from these experiences is still something that we all as people of color are remembering and learning. Other themes we’ll be discussing include the meaning of alternative spaces of healing, decolonization, and self-care. What do self-care and healing mean to us? What does it mean to decolonize our mind and body? How can we perform self-care/self-healing when the work we do can be emotionally, mentally, and physically destabilizing and retraumatizing for us (i.e. call out culture)? What does it mean to be a healer? June and I found ourselves taking a step back to reflect on our “angry activist phase” and re-examining the intention behind doing the work.

Also, on October 2nd, 2018, June will be launching her online summit, Your Story Medicine. Your Story Medicine is 14 days of immersion with changemakers and entrepreneurs in the field of coaching, the arts, and wellness. Join us as we dive into the intersections of social justice and healing. Enjoy free resources and guided meditations from several of our speakers to support you on your journey toward resilience!

June M. Kaewsith, also known as "Jumakae," is a multidisciplinary artist, wellness consultant, and storytelling coach. She has conducted spoken word workshops and mural projects with various youth groups, and has facilitated theater skits with community members addressing local issues from workers' rights to environmental justice. As a keynote speaker, she has motivated crowds through her original poetry in high schools, college campuses, and various nonprofit groups throughout California. Clients who have sought her as a storytelling coach are change agents who have gone on to tell their stories on large stages in front of thousands of people, entrepreneurs pitching project proposals and product launches to board rooms for a handful of investors and funders, and individuals or artists seeking confidence in their ability to speak and perform their work publicly.

Through her additional practice as a wellness consultant ("Green Tara Guidance"), she is a 200 hr registered yoga teacher trained to work with survivors of sexual trauma through Peace Over Violence and a transformational life coach (which she rephrases as "life doula") with a professional certification from Leadership that Works. With her passion for the arts and somatic learning, she holds self-care and storytelling workshops for organizations and individuals to become more comfortable with their mind and body.

"Exercise the heart as much as the mind."

You can learn more about Jumakae and contact her at: www.jumakae.com

If you would like to learn more about Your Story Medicine: How to Move from Trauma and Resiliency, go to: www.yourstorymedicine.com 

 

Sep 3, 2018

I’ve had the awesome opportunity to interview Jenn Fang of Reappropriate, known as “one of the oldest AAPI feminist and racial activist blogs” on the Net, on Project Voice right before our official rebranding launch! Active for almost 20 years as a blogger, Jenn will speak on how much the online Asian activist community has grown and changed since she started. Along with that, Jenn will share her thoughts in support of the validity and necessity of the Asian American feminist movement.

As someone who understands how becoming a voice for the Asian diasporic community can lead to expectations she’s expected to meet because of the role that others see her in, I’ve asked her to also address her critics’ feedback in regards to her beliefs and work under @reappropriate.

I highly encourage you to tune in to hear what Jenn Fang has to say on what it means to be an Asian American activist and feminist who is open to learning and growing. Our interview will include topics that range from fighting Internet bullying - a subject hat Jenn and I both feel super passionate addressing - to forming alliances with other POC communities and fighting anti-Blackness within the Asian community, and finally, to exploring what it means to practice radical love in this world that often forgets that conversations and change don’t just take place online but in the real world as well. All I have to say is this: since following Reappropriate, I’ve felt a lot more knowledgeable and convicted with my beliefs as a self-identified, proud Asian American feminist.

Jenn Fang is the founder of Reappropriate.co, one of the web’s oldest and most popular blogs dedicated to Asian American and Pacific Islander feminism, pop culture, and politics. Her writing has been featured in several outlets including Quartz, BlogHer, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, Asian Americans for Obama, Angry Asian Man, and Northwest Asian Weekly. Jenn is also co-curator of AAPI Rewind, a weekly digest of AAPI news and commentary.

Follow Jenn at @reappropriate on Twitter and Facebook or her blog at reappropriate.co! Support Reappropriate at patreon.com/reapprorpriate.

Project Voice will be launching its new look and logo September 15th, 2018! Please subscribe on our new website so you don't lose touch with us!: projectvoicepod.com.

Aug 17, 2018

Vi and J of the Journey to the West podcast and I have come together to discuss how important it is to reach out and collaborate with each other as Asian American content creators. We thought it would be a very valuable collaboration to share about our experiences growing up as Southeast Asians who did not come from an upper middle/middle class background. We’ll be talking about how differences in socioeconomic background and education have led some of us Asian Americans to feel disconnected and invisible within the community; for example, how does our upbringing affect our engagement in academic dialogues about race and identity? How does the role of intergenerational difference contribute to where we stand as a community on the bread and butter issues? We will also reexamine what it means to be “Asian American” - is there a better term for us to claim and use to refer ourselves as a means to establish solidarity through our shared experiences? (Hint: how about Asian diasporic?)

Vi and J were some of the first who reached out to me when I was being harassed online, so I’ve also invited them to share their past experiences of being cyberbullied within spaces like Reddit and Twitter. Moving forward, Project Voice will be inviting from activists and content creators to share their fight against toxic Internet culture.

Although she is shy in the camera, Vi is an early 20s post grad who enjoys travel and skincare/makeup. She, along with the members, kickstarted JTTW to talk about the things she loves while keeping it real at the same time.

J is a 2nd-generation Fil-Am living on the East Coast and a regular voice on “Journey to the West,” a podcast about diaspora issues, topical news & feminism, hosted by Asian women. Her interests include reflecting on social issues and exploring complex identities. Connect with her @j_maraan on Twitter, and catch new episodes of the @JTTWpodcast!

Aug 9, 2018

As a part of Project Voice’s rebranding movement, I’ve been reaching out to speakers outside the U.S. and putting more focus on identifying the podcast as a platform for the Asian diaspora all over the world. This time, we’ll be learning about the Asian activist community and culture in Australia. In today’s podcast, I have invited Erin Chew, who I first heard about through her work on YOMYOMF.com, will be sharing her knowledge about the history of Asian Australia as well as what’s been hot on the current agenda for the organization she founded, the Asian Australian Alliance.

Moving forward, Project Voice will be inviting from activists and content creators to share their fight against toxic Internet culture. Erin Chew will share her bit on her combat against online bullying during her active years online. 

Erin Wen Ai Chew (周文愛) is an Australian entrepreneur, policy advisor and social activist, who is just about to complete a Masters of Human Rights.

Erin is the founder for the Asian Australian Alliance, which is a grassroots advocacy based network with its primary aim of advocating for the common interests of the Asian Australian community. The Asian Australian Alliance is now a national brand and has around 20 conveners working on different areas and sectors. These sectors include: Asian Australian Alliance, Asian Australian Alliance Women’s Forum, Asian Australian Alliance Young Leaders, Asian Australian Rainbow Alliance and the Movement for Asian Australian Academics.

Via Erin, the Asian Australian Alliance has created positive change for the community and highlighted the issues of concern at a mainstream level. Examples include, running a national campaign against the changes of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, speaking to the media against racism and discrimination, and highlighting the issues of the bamboo ceiling.

Erin has been featured in many media platforms including, The Guardian Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, SBS, ABC News, News.com.au, Daily Mail Australia, The Age, Canberra Times, The Australian and the Australian Financial Review. Erin has also written for SBS News, The Guardian and other media platforms in the USA and the UK on issues of cultural diversity and social cohesion.

Jul 22, 2018
Personal finance and self-care have been on my list of topics to cover for a long time. For those who may need some guidance on adulting, this is for you. When I graduated from college, I remember how overwhelmed I felt not knowing where to start when it came to personal finance and investing. So, when I felt like I had it down, I thought having an introductory podcast episode on financial independence would be helpful and empowering for our listeners.
 
Lucky you, all you need to do is tune in to hear some savvy real world tips that Bella and I are excited to share after experiencing our own trial and errors: from opening up a savings account, to choosing the right retirement and investment options, to finding ways to pay off credit card and student loan debts, and more! And to end our interview, we'll touch on self-care: how we take care ourselves while experiencing the stress of managing our finances!
 
Born in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) and raised in the USA, Bella Aung is an aspiring political scientist and a Master degree candidate at Simon Fraser University, Canada. She has Burmese, Mon, Karen, and British backgrounds. Aiming to become a non-partisan political analyst, she currently is working on two research projects: Why Visible Minority Women are Underrepresented in the Minority-Majority city of Vancouver, and Immigration Policies Regarding the Syrian Refugee Crisis in French and Canadian Cities. When she’s not doing academic stuff, she loves petting cats and eating yummy Asian food.
 
Get in touch with Bella here!:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/bella_dicaprio
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bellatsaung/
 

 

Jul 17, 2018

For Angela and me, video games means more than your typical button mashing experience. In fact, video (and computer) games brought many of our nerdy selves together during dark times of the white heteropatriarchy and its systems of oppression. “Do you game?” may be the life-changing question we all need to ask as we venture through different worlds during our journey to find the people who truly resonate with our personal mission. Tune in to hear how gaming has played a huge role in helping us battle through our childhood days and how it has led us to discovering online and offline communities that reflect our need for Asian diasporic representation and solidarity. So, what do you say? Will you join us in this episode?

Angela Wu is a first-generation, Chinese-Vietnamese photographer and botanist from the Bay Area. Angela's background is in ecology and botany, and she has her own photo business as well as working as a lab technician in plant-based pharmaceuticals. Angela's work intends to provide a means to bring representation to people of color in media. When she's not working in the lab or taking photos, you can find me gaming online!

gaming links:
battlenet id: seven52am#1179
steam: seven52am
Jun 14, 2018

Content warning: trauma

On the list of topics that I wanted to cover on my podcast, dealing with trauma was one of the most challenging to do as it would require someone who would be open and ready enough to share their past on our platform. Serendipitously, I had the honor of interviewing Due Quach, author of the viral Medium piece, “Poor and Traumatized at Harvard” and founder and CEO of Calm Clarity, a program that dedicates itself to showing us “how to control negative urges, deal with toxic stress, and overcome adversity by tapping into the true potential of our brain.”

“Master mind-hacking with Harvard graduate, non-profit founder, and social entrepreneur, Due Quach in CALM CLARITY: How to Use Science to Rewire Your Brain for Greater Wisdom, Fulfillment, and Joy  (Penguin/TarcherPerigee; Trade Paperback Original; ISBN-13: 978-0143130970; 384 Pages/$17.00; May 15th). Part memoir, part guidebook, Due's personal healing journey from PTSD inspired her to develop the Calm Clarity program that corporations and universities across the country are now using to help stressed out employees and disadvantaged students like Due. It is chock full of science-based tips, tricks, and activities to improve your brain, and the Vietnam refugee and Philadelphia native leads readers from the destructive natures of Brain 1.0 and 2.0, to Brain 3.0, or what she defines as the ultimate calm clarity.”

A refugee from Vietnam and a graduate of Harvard College and the Wharton MBA program, Due Quach overcame the long-term effects of poverty and trauma by turning to neuroscience and meditation. After building a successful international business career in management consulting and private equity investments, Due traveled throughout Asia to study various contemplative traditions and then created the Calm Clarity Program to make mindful leadership accessible to people of all backgrounds. She’s also the author of the new book Calm Clarity: How to Use Science to Rewire Your Brain for Greater Wisdom, Fulfillment, and Joy.

Due also founded the Collective Success Network by convening first-generation college students and professionals to create innovative approaches to address the challenges faced by first-generation college students from low-income communities.

 

Follow Due and her Calm Clarity program here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/calmclarity

Twitter: https://www.instagram.com/calmclarityorg/

Instagram: https://twitter.com/calmclarityorg

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/calmclarityorg

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3ftPxJaYUNS5Mc494lHNqg

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/calmclarity

 

Follow Project Voice:

facebook.com/projectvoiceaaw

instagram.com/projectvoiceaaw

projectvoiceaaw@gmail.com

 

Jun 14, 2018

Last month, I had an amazing opportunity to speak with Lisa Pradhan, a fellow Smithie alum who is an active member of The Appendix Collective, “a  Bay Area collective of Asian American womxn + queer artists reclaiming personal, intimate and diasporic narratives of intergenerational memory and trauma.” In this episode, we learn more about Lisa and their fellow team members’ work on this year’s May 10th exhibit on heartbreak or </3.

“</3 embodies the unspoken heartache in relationships with family, home, lovers, work, neighborhoods and ancestral colonial trauma. The exhibition provides a space specific to the experiences of API womxn and GNC, queer and allied artists who pull from their experiences of resistance and healing to address, navigate and interrogate heteropatriarchal and homonormative forms of love, care and representation.”

What is it like to navigate through heartbreak in relationships when we never knew how to in the first place? Through the spectrum of heartbreaks that we experience as Asian disaporic femmes, we should begin to realize the importance of giving ourselves some TLC (tender loving care) as often as we can. Yes, in this episode, it’s all about showing #selfcare, love and softness to ourselves and those around us! We will cover an array of additional topics that deal with our potential to connect our bodies and movement to our lived experiences as well as our mental health and traumas. Along the way, we will learn more about many of the inspiring pieces and philosophies of Lisa’s team members as part of The Appendix (and it was so mind-blowing when I finally learned where they got their name from!).

Lisa Pradhan (b. 1992, San Diego, USA) is a Newari, multimedia artist and organizer who grew up glitched in the socal suburb of Rancho Bernardo. Conceptually obsessed with the states of living (ex. joy, illinx, hygge), Lisa looks to create the “impossible” through somatic, performance, and digital work. Lisa’s shown at the Asian Art Museum, the Pacific Heritage Museum, and AS Gallery and co-curated the Performing Arts showcase for Kearny Street Workshop’s (KSW) APAture 2017: Unravel and Appendix’s </3.

 

Follow Lisa and The Appendix on social media!:

@lisepie | lisapradhan.com

@appendixcollective |  http://cargocollective.com/appendix/

 

NEW MUSIC by the super talented Joanne Nguyen:

Check out more of her work here!:

http://soundcloud.com/joannemainguyen

 

Follow Project Voice:

facebook.com/projectvoiceaaw

instagram.com/projectvoiceaaw

projectvoiceaaw@gmail.com

Apr 29, 2018

"Empowering Voices: AAPI Power Through Media, co-hosted by Smith College Asian Students Association, Vietnamese Students Association, and Pan Asians in Action, provides a platform on campus for Asian American and Pacific Islander voices, bringing light to issues about identity. Content creators Sahra V. Nguyen and Jessica Nguyen use various mediums to raise awareness of AAPI identity and how it intersects with traditional cultural values. They will speak on how to challenge stereotypes, break away from a minority status, reclaim individual identity, and redefine what it means to be Asian American."

 
On March 31st, 2018, I was invited to speak with Sahra Vang Nguyen at my alma mater. For those of you who were not able to come see the event in person, here is the recording of my speech and our Q&A session! For the Q&A session, you can skip to 11:12! Our first question pertained to how we as digital content creators approach the sharing of narratives in an ethical manner. My response to this question was about being aware of how I framed my questions. By being careful about how I phrase my sentences, I am able to avoid sharing narratives based on my own preconceived notions.
 
Watch the video here: 
 
To follow Sahra Vang Nguyen, check out below:
@oneouncegold on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
 
"Sahra V. Nguyen is a writer, director, and filmmaker currently based in Brooklyn, New York...
 
Mid-2016, Sahra sold her second documentary series to NBCNews.com, 'Deported,' which follows the grassroots fight to end deportation of Cambodian Americans from the U.S. to Cambodia.  Under her own production company, One Ounce Gold, she filmed the doc in Seattle, Philadelphia, New York City, and Cambodia. You can watch “Self-Starters” and “Deported” on NBCNews.com, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire, YouTube, and Facebook."
Apr 13, 2018
Jumpstarting a career in the entertainment industry is a terrifying decision you could make in life, especially if you are a woman of color. But who says that you have to make a big, scary move in order to reach your dreams when deep down, all you really care about is being able to showcase your work to the people who matter to you? Whether it's acting, writing, or something else, I believe that there is little stopping you from sharing your story - it's just as a dramatic life-changing decision to start small and to start creating. In this podcast, I had the amazing opportunity to invite Paget Kagy of "Kat Loves L.A." to share her journey with us on how she went about starting a webseries on her own, learning to juggle between acting, writing, and producing, and yet, still staying true to herself and her visions while facing all the demanding challenges that came with the project. And as for me, to finally have found a romantic comedy starring and written by an Asian American woman was my hopeless romantic teenage girl dream coming true!
 
Season 1 just ended, but I'm impatiently waiting for more!
 
Here's an IMDb Synopsis of "Kat Loves LA:" "Kat Park finds herself fresh out of a relationship and in a quarter-life rut where seemingly nothing in life is going her way--she's jobless, loveless, and generally stuck in life. When she's set up on a blind date with Andrew Park, an unlikely friendship develops as they team up to take on adulthood together, helping each other overcome the struggles of career, dating, and finding the beauty in an otherwise ordinary life."
 
To watch the first episode, click here!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2zEJLiaIi0
 
Paget Kagy is the writer/producer/actor of "Kat Loves LA", a new romantic comedy webseries now available on YouTube. She hopes to continue her journey in representing Asian Americans on screen in ways that progress multi-dimensional narratives, and showcase new emerging talent.
 
Apr 5, 2018

Let's do a little throwback and talk about how we all had a time in our lives when we wanted to be the Yellow Ranger. Now, many of our awesome selves have become one. In today's episode, YLWRNGR's Lauren Espejo will share her personal experiences of how she has fought against the Model Minority Myth through her involvements in the world of social media, the digital arts and Asian American activism. 

Lauren Espejo is a Filipino-American graphic designer and blogger based in New York City. Lauren's fine art has been featured in 9 exhibitions including the Greenpoint Gallery, Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery, and the Angel Orensanz Foundation. Her design work for Liberty Mutual has been featured on Inc. BrandView. In 2016, she created the Asian-American blog and social media accounts, YLWRNGR (Yellow Ranger), to create a safe space where Asian-Americans share their culture and experiences.

Check out the blog & socials to join in on the convo!

Blog:https://ylwrngr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ylwrngr/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ylwrngr

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ylwrngr/

 

Mar 19, 2018

We're back after a brief hiatus with season 4! After giving time to how I wanted to steer forward with Project Voice, I realized how there are still so many changemakers out there who are giving back to our community through their own projects and initiatives that I'd like to help raise awareness for.

My vision for Project Voice has been to turn the podcast into a safe space for Asian women to share their narratives growing up in the U.S. While many of these narratives had been about our past experiences, I want to switch gears to focus on the present, what we're doing now to keep our community moving forward.

So, we're going to kick off the new season with Elizabeth Yang and her global virtual summit, Hmong Women Take on the World (HWTOTW). After discussing with Elizabeth about how despite having no country, Hmong women continue to stay strong and thrive all around the world, I could see why she is so passionate about supporting the resilient tribe that she chooses to represent. In this podcast, we will learn about Elizabeth's inspirations behind taking action and visions for HWTOTW.

Elizabeth Yang was inspired by a conversation with her 7-year old daughter to ignite the Hmong Women Take on the World movement. She believes in bettering the world and amplifying those in pursuit of better.
 
Elizabeth brings 10+ years of experience in Fortune 50 companies driving innovative new growth businesses in R&D, product development, and leading and coaching teams. From ideas to concept to marketplace launches, she brings a convergence of experience in generating value in products, services, and business models that tap into her background across healthcare, education, staffing, and retail.
 
She enjoys the challenge of being a Research & Development Innovation Program Strategy Director at a top Fortune 10 global healthcare IT innovation company alongside being the founder and CEO of her own company, Better With Company, which is where Hmong Women Take on the World sits as a global social brand experience platform. She also advises startups and is passionate about mentoring emerging leaders, women, and girls. Elizabeth believes this new way of co-creating global social brand platforms -- the fusion of social media, marketing, technologies, and experiences -- amplifies specific messages into the world faster than ever before. 
 
Curiosity and making an impact drive her continuous learning. Her sweet spot is Human Factors in Behavior Economics, Design Thinking, Emerging Technologies, and Productivity in High Performance.
 
She enjoys traveling, reading and a good laugh. You’ll find her mostly embarking on life adventures with her amazingly, handsome husband and adorable minions — her two kids —  in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
 
Follow Elizabeth Yang & Hmong Women Take on the World:
Twitter: @hmongwomenday (to follow HWTOTW) or @elizabethyangix (to follow Elizabeth Yang) 
Feb 3, 2018

I have decided to take a break from Podcasting. Project Voice will be on an open hiatus until further notice. I think it’s time for me to leave some time out to re-prioritize what I want to do next in my life.

I think I’ve reached a stage where the majority of the conversations that I wanted to put out in the world has been done on Project Voice and although I know that my curiosity and passion for social justice is never-ending, I feel what needed to be said has been said for now.

To my each and every one of my listeners, thank you for listening and keep your eyes out for a few potential bonus episodes on our Podcast. Otherwise, I hope to see you soon in season 4 (or on another project under my name!).

Thank you for tuning in to the finale of season 3.

Much love,

Jess

Follow Project Voice:

www.projectvoiceaaw.com
facebook.com/projectvoiceaaw
twitter.com/projectvoiceaaw
projectvoiceaaw@gmail.com

Jan 21, 2018

For my final interview of season 3, I had the honor of interviewing Cherisse Datu, the co-designer behind the upcoming video game, The Girl Who Sees in this episode. Both Cherisse and I quickly connected over our passion in designing and creating content through digital media. Not only do we hope to encourage our listeners to let go of their feelings of guilt and discomfort from navigating in such White/ignorant spaces, we also hope that our experiences shared in this episode will inspire others to find their own means of disrupting these kinds of spaces as well.

Cherisse Datu is a video producer and game designer. She received her Masters in Game Design from American University and was a JoLT (Journalism and Leadership Transformation) Fellow studying the Intersection of Game Design and Journalism with a grant from the Knight Foundation. She's worked with ESPN’s The Undefeated, Al Jazeera’s The Stream, Extra Credits, and Fusion. She’s a game designer for The Girl Who Sees, a Filipino fantasy-adventure game. She was chosen as Google Jump Ambassador and is currently working on a VR project on Asian-American experiences and identity.

 

Follow Project Voice:

www.projectvoiceaaw.com
facebook.com/projectvoiceaaw
twitter.com/projectvoiceaaw
projectvoiceaaw@gmail.com

Jan 9, 2018

Full disclosure: my friend Fatema and I decided to redo our first take because we wanted to make sure that you'll be able to take away everything that we've had planned to share for today's episode topic: how we as loved ones can support those who have been diagnosed with depression.

Like many other mental health disorders, depression goes on a spectrum and the issue of being diagnosed with it is interrelated to a number of factors, including one's own cultural background. Simply put, we can't deny the fact that being raised as an Asian woman makes it more challenging to initiate dialogues about having depression. Although we've touched upon the topic of depression before, I wanted to readdress it from a more third-person perspective. How do you as loved ones keep yourself engaged in these discussions of depression?

After hearing about Fatema's interest and involvements in depression prevention research, I invited her to share her findings as well as her personal accounts of how she carefully navigates within the field of research. In the research field, one cannot apply their own personal observations so easily. However, on Project Voice, we'll have the exciting opportunity to hear Fatema share her personal connections and observations about depression as well.

We hope that you find the information and advice provided to be helpful and applicable to your lives.

Fatema is a project coordinator at the Youth Emotion, Development, and Intervention Lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she manages a depression prevention study for teens. Fatema is interested in becoming a therapist, researcher, and advocate for youth from diverse cultural backgrounds who are struggling with eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. In her spare time, she loves to bake, kickbox, and travel.

Follow Project Voice:

www.projectvoiceaaw.com
facebook.com/projectvoiceaaw
twitter.com/projectvoiceaaw
projectvoiceaaw@gmail.com

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