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    Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month 2021



    American Baptist Women’s Ministries continues our “Iron Sharpens Iron” 70th birthday celebration by recognizing women throughout May for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. We invite you to celebrate, honor, and reflect on the many contributions Asians and Pacific Islanders women have made! Visit daily to join us in recognizing women.

    Honor a loved one or a woman who has helped sharpen you by giving a gift to American Baptist Women’s Ministries’ 70th birthday celebration. Give a gift of $70 or more to share her story (up to 100 characters) in the next issues of Leaders’ Reader. Click here to give now.



    May 6, 2021
    Evelyn Yoshimura
    1948-
     
    Evelyn Yoshimura attended Cal State Long Beach, where she helped to develop its fledgling Asian American Studies program. She was one of the founders of Amerasia Bookstore, a cultural institution in Little Tokyo, for two decades. She was a staff member of Gidra, the innovative Asian American publication that featured a provocative mix of journalism, graphic art, and social, cultural, and political commentary.
    Evelyn was active in the Redress campaign and served as a key community organizer for the Los Angeles Hearings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in 1981. She is currently the Community Organizing Director at LTSC (Little Tokyo Service Center). She has worked on many projects, including building connections with Arab American and Muslim communities after September 11, 2001.
        Read her full bio at http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/profiles/145/.
     


    May 5, 2021
    Chef Anita Lo
     
    Anita Lo, a world-renowned chef, is a first-generation Chinese-American, who grew up with her family in Birmingham, Michigan, and fostered an interest in food at a young age. While earning a degree in French language at Columbia University, she studied at Reid Hall—Columbia's French language institute in Paris.  She fell in love with the food culture and returned to Paris, where she enrolled in Ecole Ritz-Escoffier, a revered culinary institution, where she received her degree, graduating first in her class with honors.
         In 2000, Lo opened Annisa (which means ''women'' in Arabic), an intimate, upscale restaurant in Greenwich Village serving Contemporary American cuisine. It was an instant hit, earning a two-star review from The New York Times. Food & Wine magazine named her one of ten “Best New Chefs in America” in 2001. In October 2011, Lo released her first cookbook, "Cooking Without Borders," highlighting her passion for bringing multicultural flavors to her American kitchen. Her recipes celebrate the best flavors and ingredients from around the world at a time when access to international ingredients is greater than ever before. In 2015, Anita Lo was the first female guest chef to cook for a State Dinner at the White House under the Obama administration.
         Read Chef Anita Lo’s full bio at https://www.chefanitalo.com/.


    May 4, 2021
    Patsy Mink
    1927–2002
     
     A 1948 graduate of the University of Hawaii trained in chemistry and zoology and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1951. She and her husband, John Mink, returned to Hawaii, where she started her own law practice, becoming the first woman of Japanese-American ancestry to practice law in Hawaii.
         In 1956, Mink was elected to Hawaii’s House of Representatives. In 1964, she made history when she was elected to the United States House of Representatives, becoming the first woman of color elected to the national legislature and the first Asian-American congresswoman.
         For over four decades, Mink championed the rights of immigrants, minorities, women, and children and worked to eradicate the kind of discrimination she had faced in her life. She is recognized as the major mover of Title IX, which brought academic and athletic equity to American educational institutions.
         Read Patsy's full bio at https://www.womenofthehall.org/inductee/patsy-takemoto-mink/.


    May 3, 2021
    Tammy Duckworth
    1968-
     
    In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. On November 12, 2004, her helicopter was hit by an RPG, and she lost her legs and partial use of her right arm. After she recovered, she became Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
         In 2009, President Obama appointed Duckworth as an Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. She addressed the unique challenges faced by females and Native American Veterans and created the Office of Online Communications to improve the V.A.'s accessibility, especially among young Veterans.
         Duckworth served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2014. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after representing Illinois’s Eighth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms.
         Read Tammy Duckworth’s full bio at https://www.duckworth.senate.gov/about-tammy/biography.


    May 2, 2021
    Grace Lee Boggs
    1915-2015
     
    Grace Lee Boggs was an American author, social activist, philosopher, and feminist. She is known for her political collaboration with C. L. R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s, she and her husband, James Boggs, took their own political direction. By 1998, she had written four books, including an autobiography. In 2011, still active at the age of 95, she wrote a fifth book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, with Scott Kurashige.
         Read Grace Lee Boggs’ full bio at https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/grace-lee-boggs


    May 1, 2021
    Anna May Wong
    1905-1961

    Anna May Wong’s family was originally from Taishan, China, but her grandfather emigrated to the United States in the 1850s. Her birth name was Wong Liu Tsong which means "Frosted Yellow Willows." She was given the English name Anna May by her family. Growing up, she lived in a diverse neighborhood, and the children attended California Street public elementary school. However, Wong and her older sister were teased and bullied because of their race. Wong's parents later moved them to the Chinese Mission School in Chinatown, where they were welcomed.
         When film production moved from New York to California in the 1910s, Wong started visiting movie sets. She would often skip school and use her lunch money to go to the movies.  In 1919, Wong was cast as an extra and carried a lantern in one of the scenes in The Red Lantern. Wong continued to work as an extra in many movies while still attending school. In 1921, Wong dropped out of high school to become an actress full-time and landed a role as Toy Ling’s wife in the film Bits of Life
         At age seventeen, Wong landed her first leading role in The Toll of the Sea (1922). She continued to try out for lead roles, but she was always cast as a supporting character or as typical “Asian characters.” Anti-miscegenation laws in the United States at the time prevented interracial marriages and even prevented interracial actors from kissing on-screen. This prevented Wong from landing some leading roles in romantic movies. 
         In 1924, she created her own production company called Anna May Wong Productions to make her own films about her culture. However, the company closed after her business partner was caught using bad business practices.
         Wong left Hollywood due to the constant discrimination and moved to Europe, where she starred in many plays and films. In the 1930s, Paramount Studios in the United States contacted Wong and promised her leading roles upon her return. Wong returned to the United States and starred in the Broadway production of On the Spot
         Wong later accepted another stereotypical role in Daughter of the Dragon because she was promised that she would appear in a Josef von Sternberg film. She later appeared in one of her most famous films, Shanghai Express. Wong became the first Asian American to lead a U.S. television show for her work on The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong.
         Read Anna May Wong’s full bio at https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/anna-may-wong

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