Dear Sacramento Bee readers,
I’m here to introduce myself. I will be covering Sacramento’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community for The Bee in partnership with Report for America.
I’ve previously covered housing and gentrification in Oakland for East Bay Express and tech companies and artificial intelligence for USA TODAY. Most recently, I worked on statehouse investigations for the Center for Public Integrity and reported on Michigan’s COVID-19 response for Bridge Magazine.TOP ARTICLES Sacramento city attorney won’t prosecute the 42 people who violated curfew on first night
I was born and raised in a predominantly white suburb of Detroit, which meant I was often the only Asian face in the room growing up. I never knew what it was like to be part of a strong Asian American community, one whose people are engaged with the wider community and whose voices are regularly heard by those in power.
I only knew two types of Asian American narratives growing up – one of hard work and success, like my parents, and one of horror and tragedy. In 1982, a Chinese man named Vincent Chin was beaten to death by two white men in Highland Park, Michigan. Many years later, Detroit’s Asian community are still feeling the ripples of his murder. My parents attend church with Chin’s relatives, several of whom came to America to support his grieving mother.
Those polar narratives were my only conceptions of what being Asian in America meant for a long time and that didn’t change until I moved to California for college. At the University of California, Berkeley, where I graduated in 2019, I met for the first time other Asians who had grown up in majority Asian towns, as well as Asians whose families had been in America since the 1800s, Asians who were first-generation college students, Black Asians and Asian Latin Americans.
Gradually, I learned that Asian American stories don’t simply fall into categories of immigrant success and outright discrimination. Our communities are far more complicated, the nuances are underexplored and the histories are often overlooked.
Some have asked me whether I feel pigeonholed by only covering the AAPI community. The answer is no, because I don’t see AAPI issues as limited. Sacramento’s AAPI community is remarkably diverse, with an incredibly rich, colorful range of experiences.
Some of the topics I want to tackle during my time here include poverty, immigration fears, criminal justice, mental health and the generational political divide as we approach the presidential election this fall. Along the way, I also want to highlight AAPI activists and community leaders, past and present, because our history is American history, too.
By telling these stories, I’m hoping to help Sacramento’s AAPI community feel heard by the Sacramento community at large and challenge any misconceptions about who they are and what they care about.