Issue 63: Transcending Barriers

Hello everyone,
Here are five stories to check out this week:

  • Why Hollywood Bet On “The Joy Luck Club” by Susan Cheng. After 24 years, The Joy Luck Club remains the only Hollywood film to feature a majority Asian-American cast — a feat most studios are still afraid to attempt today. Now, those behind the 1993 tearjerker tell BuzzFeed News how they pulled off the movie no one thought possible.
  • Financial aid barriers limit college access for undocumented youth by Melissa Sanchez. “Even with scholarships, she and her parents couldn’t afford to pay for her education, let alone for room and board if she wanted to study outside of Chicago. And unlike most low-income students, Perez can’t access federal or state financial aid or loans because she is undocumented.”
  • The Life of an Undocumented High-School Senior by Leah Varjacques and Katherine Nagasawa. Ilse Cruz was brought into the United States by her mother when she was 4 years old, and has no memories of her native Mexico. She also doesn’t feel truly American — because she’s undocumented. “American culture and Mexican culture, they’re both a part of who I am but I can’t understand either one fully,” she says.
  • Peju Alatise: The Nigerian artist transcending barriers by Ijeoma Ndukwe. The respected artist talks about challenging the status quo in Nigeria and abroad.
  • The Pits by Shetu Modi. At 13, Dhruvi is appalled to learn the Indian food she eats every day makes her armpits smell funny. Her struggle with pungent food and bold spices resurfaces years later, when she’s drawn to a fellow South Asian student in university. (Thanks to Shetu for sending this over! This film is premiering later this month, but you can watch the trailer in the link above.)

Bonus Article
Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced he was ending DACA, a program that benefits undocumented immigrants who arrived to the U.S. as minors. This program protects them from deportation for a renewable two-year period and also authorizes them to work in the U.S. This would affect nearly 800,000 Dreamers in the U.S.
This article from the blog Reappropriate was a good roundup of action items on what to do after Trump’s announcement. Also, a great Twitter account to follow with useful resources and information is United We Dream, an immigrant youth-led organization. There’s a lot of misconceptions about the DACA program and undocumented immigrants, so I’d encourage reading more about this issue and educating yourself before making assumptions.

This past weekend I attended an event for Catholic Chinese Americans (yes, a really specific subset of people, I know). For me, it was especially empowering because I’ve never been surrounded by so many people my age who identify with both this cultural and religious identity. It was also a good opportunity because I was able to meet a lot of people who live in the Bay Area, and I had been struggling the past couple months with meeting people and making friends. Moving to a new place is lonely to say the least.
Anyway, at the event, there was a talk about finding happiness, which I identified with. Oftentimes, we think of happiness as a destination. For example, right now I’m not completely satisfied with my job, and I often think, “I’ll be happy when I switch to a job where I’m doing something I’m actually passionate about.” Or I’ll think, “I’ll be happy when I make friends” or “I’ll be happy when I have a dating life/significant other again” or “I’ll be happy when I live with roommates I’m actually friends with” or even “I’ll be happy when I move out and live by myself.” I’m lucky to have a stable job, food to eat, a roof over my head, friends I keep in touch with, etc. yet I constantly think about how I won’t be happy yet until something happens.
However, the speaker said that happiness is not a destination, but a by-product of a life well-lived. So try to live your life the best you can, and there will be times when you’re sad, when you’re angry, when you’re worried, but there will also be many times when you’re truly happy. I think that’s a more realistic way of looking at happiness, and that’s something I’ll try to keep in mind.

Anyway have a great rest of the week and take care of yourself! Send me comments/questions/concerns and recommendations for stories by WOC to feature in this newsletter!


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Issue 63: Transcending Barriers was originally published in True Colors on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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