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Dear BGC Friends,

Today we are bringing you a special edition of 86th Street Stories to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, an annual celebration to pay tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.

Please enjoy some readings, community events, and virtual activities to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!

Your Co-Editors,

Nadia Rivers & Maggie Walter



BGC’s Collaborative Resource List
Take a look, and contribute to BGC’s Collaborative Resource List to get involved, learn, and take action in the fight for social justice. Check out the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Resource section!


Asia Society’s Artist Talk: Hong Hong – On Material, Time, and Transference
Tuesday, May 18
7 pm CDT

To celebrate Asia Society Texas’ new exhibition The Mountain That Does Not Describe a Circle: Works by Hong Hong, they welcome the featured artist Hong Hong in conversation. The performance of ritual, with its physical demands and cyclical patterns, grounds Hong’s papermaking and opens a channel of communication between present and past, the artist and her ancestors, and the mundane and the divine. In her work and installations, Hong investigates human experiences of time, dimension, and space. She will discuss her installation at Asia Society, where the architecture is both a support and a counterpoint for ideas of scale, visual perception, and experiential connection.

Asian Art Museum’s At the Table: Sugarwork, Afro-Asian Art and Foodways
Thursday, May 20
5–6:30 pm PDT 

In this virtual At the Table event, delve into the bittersweet history of sugar to unearth stories of Afro-Asian cultural exchange in the Caribbean. Through conversation and cooking, artist Andrea Chung and scholar Tao Leigh Goffe explore the crossroads of Black and Asian diaspora arts and cuisines, focusing on foodways that evolved out of colonial plantations —  from Cuba to Louisiana, Jamaica to Mauritius. Follow along as our guests demonstrate sugar artwork techniques and recipes for sweet plantains and tostones, while celebrating ingenuity and Afro-Asian solidarity. With an introduction by Bryant Terry, chef-in-residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora. Recipes will be sent to registered participants with email confirmation.

Asian Art Museum’s Celebrating Asian Futures: A Musical Conversation with Vân-Ánh Võ and Friends
Thursday, May 27
6:30 pm PDT

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Bay Area–based Vietnamese composer and multi-instrumentalist Vân-Ánh Võ joins in musical conversations with artists of Japanese and Khmer heritage. Võ partners with longtime collaborator Jimi Nakagawa to present a daring work of transnational musical communication, with Võ on the dan tranh (zither) and Nakagawa on taiko drum. Cambodian royal dance master and vocalist Charya Burt also joins Võ to preview their work-in-progress on the cultural connections along the Mekong River. Following the performance, the artists discuss the richness of Asian musical traditions and the power of new composition in a conversation moderated by Khatharya Um, associate professor of Asian American and Asian diaspora studies at UC Berkeley.

Chinatown Art Brigade: Collectively Imagining De-Gentrified and Abolitionist Futures
June 17, 2021
6 pm

As this nation confronts the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and structural racism, what does it mean to truly reckon with, reclaim, and re-envision a liberated future for all through a decolonized, de-gentrified, and abolitionist framework? Black, Indigenous, and all communities of color have been suffering from racialized capitalism since long before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has exacerbated land displacement, rent burden, economic inequality, and police violence. The past year has felt dystopian at times, compelling us to think outside of the box, to reimagine a radically different society that is more just and upholds our common racial, economic, climate, and social justice values. This program will highlight cultural collectives that are unleashing popular imagination and shared vision to build an abolitionist and de-gentrified future, and discuss concrete ways that we can enact this future together.


How To Support NYC’s AAPI Community Right Now
Back in February, a group of NYC restaurants launched a fundraiser called Enough Is Enough as a way to effect change. Since launching, Enough Is Enough’s fundraising campaign has tripled its original $25K goal, and they are now donating the additional funds to other non-profit organizations helping Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. You can find some of those organizations, and more ways to support the AAPI community as a whole, here.

SLAYSIAN: A Virtual Exhibition
SLAYSIAN is a celebration of Chicago’s local Asian American artists. Created by artist and independent curator Jenny Lam, SLAYSIAN is the long-awaited follow-up to 2016’s acclaimed LEXICON, which was itself the successor to 2012’s acclaimed I CAN DO THAT, which was named the audience choice for “Best Art Exhibit” in the 20th anniversary edition of NewCity’s Best of Chicago issue.

40+ Asian-Owned Businesses to Support Right Now
Take a look at Good Housekeeping’s growing list of companies, clothing brands, Etsy shops and more.

BGC Social Media Submissions
This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we are paying tribute to and celebrating the vast contributions that AAPI women and men have brought to the field of decorative arts, design history, and material culture. What curators, artists, craftspeople, academics, businesses or creatives do you want to celebrate this month? Submit your thoughts for a social media post here!