Melissa Raman Molitor, ATR-BC, LCPC
The Kitchen Table Stories Project is a multimedia healing justice
project centering the voices
and narratives of the local
Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islander diaspora. The goal of
this project is to create collective power through art, and to claim space in our community with our stories, traditional practices,
and cultural wisdom.
In the news...
In 2020-21 there was a marked an increase in US media coverage of violence and hate crimes against people of Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islander (ASPA) descent within the context of COVID-19. Anti-Asian racism is not an outcome of the pandemic, it is endemic to our country, and there is a history of scapegoating Asian communities in times of national crisis. Still, the surge of shuttered ASPA-owned small businesses and family-owned restaurants due to the devastating effects of the pandemic and the increase in political attacks on immigrants and communities of color, is contributing to the silencing and erasure of ASAPIA voices in our communities.
The Kitchen Table Stories project aims to disrupt anti-Asian narratives, combat erasure, and create a sense of place and cultural permanence for ASPA communities through allied voice. It recognizes care as an art form that draws on cultural wisdom, ancestral healing and collective power, and will take place in multiple physical and virtual community spaces.
The Kitchen Table Stories Project is supported in part by the Evanston Arts Council and the Illinois Arts Council Agency
Who are AAPI or ASPI?
When referring to individuals who identify as Asian or Pacific Islander in the U.S. AAPI is the most commonly used acronym. It stands for Asian American Pacific Islander and is a federal classification that refers to a person with origins in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, or the Pacific Islands. There are several acronyms that are used to denote Asian and Pacific Islander populations, including Asian Pacific American (APA), Asian/Pacific Islander (API), Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA), and Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI).
The Kitchen Table Stories Project utilizes the acronym ASPA, which stands for Asian South Asian Pacific Islander American. There is immense diversity of identities, ethnicities and cultures encompassed under the ASPA umbrella. The following is a guide* for referencing East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. This list is a guide and does not encompass the vast number of cultures and ethnicities that are under the ASPA umbrella. We recognize that these descriptions and this language is ever evolving and will always be inadequate.
East Asians refer to people from China (including Macau and Hong Kong), Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, and Mongolia.
South Asians refer to people from the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet. Ethnic groups include Sindhi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, and many others.
Southeast Asians refer to people from the following countries and ethnic groups: Burma, Brunei, Cambodia (Khmer, Cham, KhmerLoeu), Indonesia, Laos (Hmong, Lao, Lao Loum, Iu Mien, Khmu, Tai Dam, Tai Leu, and many other ethnic groups), Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Philippines, and Vietnam (Vietnamese, Khmer Kampuchea Krom).
Pacific Islanders refer to those whose origins are the original peoples of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. Polynesia includes Hawaii (Native Hawaiian), Samoa (Samoan), American Samoa (Samoan), Tokelau (Tokelauan), Tahiti (Tahitian), and Tonga (Tongan). Micronesia includes Guam (Guamanian or Chamorro), Marinara Islands (Mariana Islander), Saipan (Saipanese), Palau (Palauan), Yap (Yapanese), Chuuk (Chuukese), Pohnpei (Pohnpeian), Kosrae (Kosraean), Marshall Islands (Marshallese), and Kiribati (I-Kiribati). Melanesia includes Fiji (Fijian), Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinean), Solomon Islands (Solomon Islander), and Vanuatu (Ni-Vanuatu).
*This information was adapted from the Northwestern APIDA Staff Affinity Group informational site.
Asian American and Pacific Islander History
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have played vital roles in shaping the nation—from building the Transcontinental Railroad to advocating for labor law changes to fighting in multiple wars. They made these contributions while also facing persistent discrimination and violence throughout U.S. history. Click HERE for an Asian American timeline, history and stories.
All racial identities are interrelated. This timeline places Asian American history in the context of race, colonialism, and capitalism. Click HERE for a critical perspective of Asian American history.
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
The Kitchen Table Stories Project collaborated with the City of Evanston, Downtown Evanston, Main-Dempster Mile, Evanston Made, local organizations and Evanstonians to uplift AAPI artists, businesses, community leaders and members in its first annual Evanston Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander American Heritage Month Arts Festival.
To participate in next year's 2022 festival contact Melissa email@example.com
Click HERE for the history of U.S. AAPI Heritage Month
Find President Biden's Proclamation on Asian American and Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2021 HERE!
First Annual Evanston Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander Heritage Arts Festival
May 22, 2021
Asian Evanston Scavenger Hunts
Check out these ASPA-inspired scavenger hunts for kids and families in and around Evanston! You can print the cards and take a tour around Evanston in search of these local Asian treasures or search for them online to find out more about the items and where they originated.
Download Scavenger Hunt Card HERE
Download Artist Scavenger Hunt Card HERE
Ten Thousand Ripples Buddha Sculptures
Do you know why there are Buddha sculptures in and around Evanston? Local artist and peace activist Indira Johnson collaborated with Changing Worlds on the Ten Thousand Ripples project to bring these beautiful sculptures to Evanston and Chicago neighborhoods. Read about the project HERE.
Click HERE for a Project Guide
History Of Buddhism
and The Buddha
Buddhism: Definition, Founder & Origins
Who Was The Buddha and What Did He Teach?
Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago
Video: The Life of the Buddha
by Andre Ferdinand Herold
Narrated by Carrie Grossman
Click HERE to learn about local ASPA Artists!
Learn about Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander American history, culture and stories...
"To know a people, know their stories"
Check out the PBS collection of stories that explores the history, traditions and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May HERE.
PBS: The history of identity, contributions, and challenges experienced by Asian Americans.
Asian Americans is a five-hour film series that will chronicle the contributions, and challenges of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in America. Personal histories and new academic research will cast a fresh lens on U.S. history and the role Asian Americans have played in it. Watch HERE free.
Asian Perspectives on Screen - Film List
Skokie Public Library
Why Asian American Representation Matters, Even in the South
Center for Asian American Media
Check out the winners from the APALA (Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, a division of the American Library Association) Literature Awards 2005-2021
Asian Pacific American Library Association Book Awards List
Evanston Public Library
Recent Asian/Pacific American Awards Picture Book Winners and Honor Titles
Recent Asian/Pacific American Awards Children’s Literature (Middle Grade) Winners and Honor Titles
Skokie Public Library
A Literary Guide to Combat Anti-Asian Racism in America
Essential Nonfiction Exploring Asian Culture and Asian American Experiences
Beyond Manga: The Asian American Experience in Graphic NovelsBeyond Manga: The Asian American Experience in Graphic Novels
Asian American Authors - Searching for Clues, Love, and Magic (and Zombies!?)
Chicago Public Library
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021 for Kids
A Reading Guide on the Asian American Experience from Viet Thanh Nguyen, Charles Yu and More
Social Justice Books
ASPA Resources and Activities for Kids, Families & Educators
Asian Americans in the People’s History of the United States
U.S. Department of Education: 12 Ways to Enrich Kids’ Appreciation of Asian-Pacific American Culture
Asian Pacific Heritage Month Educational Resources
Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Activity & Curriculum Ideas
Observing Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021 at Skokie Public Library
Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books
16 Asian American Heroes Our Kids Need to Know About
8 Badass Asian-Americans We Can't Overlook This Women's History Month
Righting A Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II Poster Exhibit
Paragon Book Gallery (local)
Philippine Expressions Bookshop
Artist Regin Igloria shares how to make basic handmade books using recycled materials as part of the Artists Book House's Virtual Book Arts Workshop series
Learn about the meaning of the traditional origami paper crane HERE.
Learn about Suminagashi HERE.
Resources for ASPA
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality (AACRE)
Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP)
Asian Lifenet Hotline - Suicide Prevention
Asian Mental Health Collective
Asian Prisoner Support
Asian American Racism & Mental Health Resources
Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)
Mental Health Issues Facing the Asian American
NAPABA Hate Crime Legal Resources
National AAPI Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA)
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum
Chicago Korean American Art Association
Korean Cultural Center of Chicago
Philippine American Cultural Foundation
Local Resources - Chicago Area
Alliance for Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE)
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago
Chinese Mutual Aid Association
Coalition For A Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC)
Japanese American Services Committee (JASC)
Midwest Asian Health Association (MAHA)
National Asian Pacific Center (NAPCA)
Artist: Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya
The History of Anti-Asian-American Violence
The New Yorker
Stop AAPI Hate National Report
On Anti-Asian Hate Crimes: Who Is Our Real Enemy?
The Long History of Anti-Asian Hate in America, Explained
The Long History of US Racism Against Asian Americans, From ‘Yellow Peril’ to ‘Model Minority’ to the ‘Chinese Virus’
'I Will Not Stand Silent.' 10 Asian Americans Reflect on Racism During the Pandemic and the Need for Equality
This Is What No One Tells You About Being Asian In America In 2021
The Scapegoating of Asian Americans
Beyond Ghandi and King: The Secret History of South Asian and African American Solidarity
Black and Asian-American Feminist Solidarities: A Reading List
18 Million Rising’s Black History Month Reading List for Asian Americans
20+ Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now
“The changes we have to have in this country are going to be for the liberation of all people — because nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
- Fannie Lou Hamer
For a guide to this AMAZING training click HERE.
Follow the Kitchen Table Stories Project on Social Media!
Who We Follow on Instagram:
Asian Americans Advancing Justice