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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 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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Click HERE for national data regarding AAPI communities in the U.S.

#EvanstonAAPI  #EvanstonASPA

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

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!

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First Annual Evanston Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander Heritage Arts Festival

May 22, 2021

Support Evanston ASPA-Owned Businesses and Restaurants!

Shop Local.  Eat Local.

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Click HERE to learn about ASPA-owned local businesses!


To learn about Feature Evanstonian Sandy Chen, owner of Koi restaurant click HERE!

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.

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Download Scavenger Hunt Card HERE

Asian Evanston Scavenger Hunt Card - Art

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.


Sculpture Map

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Check out the updated map of sculptures for your next scavenger hunt, city walk, or bike ride. Photos and location descriptions included!

Click HERE for a Project Guide

History Of Buddhism

and The Buddha

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"

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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.

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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.

ASPA Booklists

ASPA Resources and Activities for Kids, Families & Educators

Artists Book House

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.

#StopAsianHate  #StopAAPIHate

“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
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For a guide to this AMAZING training click HERE.

Follow the Kitchen Table Stories Project on Social Media!

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