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  • Writer's pictureRen Koo

Celebrating Asian Pacific Legacy & Uniting Against Hate

Updated: May 3

Meditations on Reconnecting with My Korean Culture, and How You Can Celebrate AAPI in Solidarity

Photo by Jason Leung

AAPI Heritage Month

As the spring rain hydrates the soil, and new life begins to bud on the foliage above and beneath our feet, I am proud and excited to celebrate Asian Heritage Month with all of you. I invite you to take a moment to honor our Asian community members and our rich culture, traditions, and ancestors. As someone who grew up half-Korean, every day is a loving practice of deepening my relationship with my Korean heritage. My 엄마 (mom) is a Korean adoptee, who lost all ties to our Korean heritage before she was twelve months old. I grew up not knowing the culture or language of my ancestors, and it wasn’t until adulthood that I started my journey to relearn what had been lost. 

It continues to be a reminder of the abundance of wisdom, resiliency, and beauty Asian cultures across the globe, bring into our lives. 

For me this looks like, learning the 한국어 (Korean) language little by little, cooking traditional Korean dishes like 김치찌개 (Kimchi Stew/Jjigae), singing along to K-ballads in the car at the top of my lungs, bingeing K-dramas that take me through the five stages of grief, and meditating with my ancestors every night for hours at a time. Reconnecting to my culture has been a beautiful and healing experience. It continues to be a reminder of the abundance of wisdom, resiliency, and beauty Asian cultures across the globe, bring into our lives. 


This Asian Heritage Month I encourage you to uplift locally-owned Asian restaurants, shops, and Asian-centered organizations in your community. In Minnesota, there are more than 299,000 Asian people. According to Minnesota Compass, Minnesota’s largest Asian immigrant populations include Burmese, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Korean, Laotian, and Vietnamese. A quick Google search can show you a list of Asian-owned restaurants, shops, and businesses in and around the Twin Cities that you can support this month. 


Foodie Picks
김치찌개 (Kimchi Stew/Jjigae)

As your resident foodie here are a few of my favorite Asian Cuisine and grocery stores in MN you can consider supporting this month: 


Stand in Solidarity with AAPI

In Texas, in March 2020,  a 6-year-old Asian child was brutally stabbed because the man believed her family was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This month, raise awareness and stand in solidarity against anti-Asian scapegoating, AAPI hate, and the increased violence and discrimination towards our communities since the start of the pandemic. In a recent study, the Pew Research Center reported one-third of U.S. Asians know another Asian person who’s been threatened or attacked since COVID-19. They report, “Between March 2020 and May 2023, the organization Stop AAPI Hate received more than 11,000 self-reported incidents of anti-Asian bias, the vast majority of which involved harassment, bullying, shunning, and other discrimination incidents.” Racism isn’t new, but many connect this upsurge to the anti-China rhetoric and political criticism from Republican candidates like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump. In Texas, in March 2020,  a 6-year-old Asian child was brutally stabbed because the man believed her family was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association stands united in our commitment to ending AAPI hate. Our community thrives on diversity. Discrimination and violence have no place here. Join us in standing against AAPI Hate by signing up for new opportunities to take direct action against discriminatory anti-Asian Legislation. 



Learn how Asians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. experience hate, by viewing Stop AAPI Hate’s largest reporting center that tracks acts of hate against AAPI individuals in the United States. There is an option to filter the data by state. 



Section 702

In addition to reports of harassment and physical harm, Asian Americans and other immigrants are facing an increased risk of being surveilled by our government. Section 702 is described by Stop AAPI as the following:

Section 702 creates a “legal loophole” within the Fourth Amendment Right that protects Americans against unreasonable and unwarranted searches.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was enacted by Congress in 2008. Its original purpose was to grant federal intelligence agencies the authority to collect communications from non-U.S. persons located outside the United States without obtaining a warrant. 


Unfortunately, over the past 15 years, Section 702 has undergone significant mission creep. Intelligence officials are currently targeting nearly 250,000 people and groups for surveillance under Section 702. They collect any communications these individuals send or receive, even when they are to or from Americans. It has thus become a substantial source of warrantless access to the communications of American citizens, which raises serious concerns about government surveillance overreach. (Fact Sheet: The Impact of Section 702 on Asian Americans)


Section 702 creates a “legal loophole” within the Fourth Amendment Right that protects Americans against unreasonable and unwarranted searches. It is a strategy by the government to bypass the need for a warrant before reviewing American’s private communications (Fact Sheet pg. 1). Without the proper oversight and approval of a judge’s warrant, this policy creates opportunities for further racial profiling and discrimination, in an era where Asian Americans and immigrants are already facing increased hate due to anti-Asian rhetoric and political criticism from GOP leaders. 

FBI agents had swarmed Xi’s family at gunpoint, only to drop the charges months afterward.

Section 702 was used to investigate Professor Xiaoxing Xi, an Asian American academic who was wrongfully arrested on fraud charges. FBI agents had swarmed Xi’s family at gunpoint, only to drop the charges months afterward. In May 2023, Professor Xi won the appeal to sue the FBI for violating his constitutional rights and traumatizing his family. Professor Xi isn’t alone in facing racial discrimination in the scientific community.  More than 50% of Chinese American scientists feel considerable fear and anxiety that they are under government surveillance due to racial profiling. 


Despite this ongoing case, and several others like it, Biden signed the bill to reauthorize Section 702 until April 2026. Stop AAPI Hate proudly endorses the Government Surveillance Reform Act (GSRA) that protects the right to privacy for millions of people by (1) requiring a warrant for searches of Americans’ communications, (2) bolstering Section 702 oversight, safeguards, and accountability measures, and (3) closing the Data Broker Loophole that allows federal agencies to purchase protected information about people in the US, without a warrant. 


Join PPNA in filling out the form below to email your congressional representatives, asking them to co-sponsor CSRA and help protect Americans from government surveillance and racial profiling.  



Thank you for doing your part to protect the AAPI community. By raising our voices against hate and promoting empathy, we can build a more vibrant future where everyone feels safe. 


Finally, here are some other local Asian Organizations to support this month! 


Looking to support local AAPI arts & entertainment? 


In solidarity & celebration, 











Ren Koo | PPNA Communications Manager

 

Citations & Further Reading: 

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