Honoring AAPI Stories and Intersectionality with DJ Kuttin Kandi

DJ Kuttin Kandi is a retired hip hop DJ and activist, organizer, writer and artist who also co-founded Asian Solidarity Collective, a San Diego organization working to create Asian solidarity with other marginalized and oppressed communities. She is an alumni of Meridian’s Next Level program. For Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage month, we’re excited to bring you her perspective on intersectionality and storytelling.   What does AAPI month mean to you? Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage months means many things to me. First, it really means that not only must I be proud of my heritage but...

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The “face” of America with Ben Chang

Ben Chang is the Deputy Vice President for Communications and University Spokesperson for Princeton University. He has been a member of Meridian’s Rising Leaders Council since 2016. For Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage month, we’re excited to bring you his perspective on home, history and heritage. For me, AAPI month begins in West Virginia. West Virginia: Perhaps a surprising locale for a story about AAPI month, but this one begins there because my mom grew up in Clarksburg, WV. My grandparents left China — and their daughters — to come to the United States to study medicine...

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Building Cultural Competency through Storytelling with Bela Bajaria

The following blog post was contributed by Bela Bajaria, head of Global TV for Netflix and guest at culturefix, our inaugural cultural diplomacy celebration on June 9, 2021.  What inspired you to pursue a career in TV and international programming specifically? I was born in London and moved to the U.S. with my family when I was 8. One of the ways I learned to speak with an American accent was by immersing myself in American TV – Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and so many others. What that also did was it make me believe in the...

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Home, history & heritage with Hongxia Liu

Hongxia Liu is a former Associate Vice Chancellor at NYU Shanghai and a former Meridian trustee. For Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage month, we’re excited to bring you her perspective on home, history and heritage.   What does AAPI Month mean to you? For me, AAPI Month means to take time to reflect on the history and achievements of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) across our Nation, and also to ruminate on our shared challenges and opportunities in furthering the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.   Given the heightened injustices against the AAPI...

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Erkinbek Kamalov on World Press Freedom

For World Press Freedom Day we are excited to share a contribution from Erkinbek Kamalov, a fall 2019 alumnus of Meridian’s Central Asia Journalist-in-Residence Program (CAJIR), part of the wider Central Asia Media Exchange Program (CAMEX). Erkinbek is a dedicated media practitioner from Kyrgyzstan. He is a currently a reporter and project coordinator for Content-Media versia.kg located in Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyz Republic. His current project is short term media research for the New Media Advocacy Project (NMAP) New York based entity in which he is a Lead Researcher for the Eurasia region. His most recent completed project, ‘SynergyKG-21’, is related to...

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