Last year I crowd-sourced a blog post documenting badass Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Womxn. I learned a lot by researching the list of AAPI womxn friends told me about and how they shaped American politics, arts, sports, and society. That blog post came out of a feeling of invisibility in mainstream books and media.
AAPI womxn continue to do amazing things and many AAPIs continue to be overlooked, or our Asianness is not highlighted. This year I’m focusing on different categories to expand our knowledge of Asian American womxn and how we’re shaping the world.
As AAPI womxn we are here, we are doing important work, and we need to celebrate our accomplishments, including as they tie in big and small ways to our racial and ethnic heritages. Many times we can’t turn off being identified as Asian American womxn.
This list was compiled through crowdsourcing from friends. A special thank you to Carrie Basas for the list of Asian womxn working on disability justice. The rest of the list was compiled using research and internet searching which was harder than I thought it would be. AAPI womxn are out there doing amazing things, but often our Asianness and PIness isn’t always mentioned or highlighted, thus it takes some sleuthing to determine connections to racial, ethnic, or cultural connections. I aimed to include Asians from many different ethnicities. The Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences are not monolithic, we are diverse. As AAPI’s our stories are different as well as united.
I purposefully centered the list on Asian Americans, not Asians overall. I hope you will send me the names of other Asian American womxn who deserve to be recognized, there are many other categories I didn’t get to, including authors, environment, social services, and so many others. Email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alice Wong – is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha – poet, writer, and social justice activist. Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma.
Lydia XZ Brown (they/them) — is a “disability justice advocate, organizer, educator, attorney, strategist, and writer whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing.”
Sandy Ho – Founder of Disability & Intersectionality Summit, queer, activist.
Ali Wong – comedian and now author, her Netflix specials are a must watch – I’ve stayed up way too late in bed watching and trying not to laugh out loud
Wu Tsang – filmmaker and performance artist, transgender
Medicine and Science
Kazue Togasaki – Dr. Togasaki was a physician in a US internment/concentration camp and delivered 10,000 babies during her lifetime. Japanese American.
Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga is a physician and pediatric immunologist. She was part of a three-womxn team that created a breakthrough in treating babies born to HIV infected mothers effectively curing and redefining how doctors think about HIV/AIDS. Filipino American.
Angela Duckworth – Researcher on psychology and author of the book Grit. Chinese American.
Channapha Khamvongsa – is dedicated to cleaning up unexploded bombs in Laos after the Vietnam war. She founded and leads the Legacies of War organization working to highlight the problem. Lao-American.
Ai-jen Poo – Labor activist with domestic workers, Chinese American.
sujatha baliga (does not capitalize her name) – Restorative justice practitioner and movement builder. Indian American.
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner – Climate activist and poet. Marshall Island, Pacific Islander.
Leilani Muter – race car driver and environmental activist. Japanese-Hawaiian, White.
There are many other Asian Americans, many in your own communities. My friend Nicole reminds me we as Asian American womxn are present, we are in your organizations, schools, neighborhoods, and daily life. Celebrate each other and the contributions Asian and Pacific Islander womxn bring to the work.
I purposefully used the spelling of womxn.
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