Compiles by Moe Yagihara
Northwest Asian Weekly
Vital T Leaf tea shop
“I think of myself as a human first, rather than as an Asian American.” The 15-year-old helps his parents at their Chinese tea shop in the International District. He was born in Seattle and is a second generation Chinese American.
“I think I am fortunate because I can learn experiences from the American side, as well as the Chinese side,” he said.
Lei Ann Shiramizu
Owner of MOMO
“I try to share my community or my neighborhood as much as possible, in not only from modern-day aspect, but also historical aspect. I do not want to be branded by my ethnicity although that’s who I am. I think we should be proud of it, but at the same time not letting it divide us.”
He did not know that May is Asian American Pacific Heritage Month until we informed him.
“I think it is a special time where the world gets a chance to celebrate or experience the various Asian countries around the world. It is important for those coming from these countries to get the chance to celebrate their hometown and have pride from where they are from. It also gives new opportunities for me to experience other countries, that under normal circumstances I would not have.”
Bellevue College student
He was born in Korea and moved to the United States when he was a middle school student. He said he feels neither Korean nor American. “My personality is mostly shaped by my ethnic heritage, but I still feel I am a stranger in my Korean community. The Asian custom that the younger generation show respect to seniors is what I should be proud of, and I would like to tell and pass that down to my children in the future.”
Muriel Jane Hoya Cacawa
Seattle Kinokuniya staff member
“I have never been to the Philippines, but I feel that 90 percent of my life is affected by my ethnicity. In general, Asian women are expected to be smart, and I face microaggression every day.”
Moe is a student of Bellevue College and is an intern at Northwest Asian Weekly.