Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Last night as I was poking around HBO looking for something to watch, I stumbled upon a 22-minute short documentary titled, East of Main Street – Small Talk, which features interviews with Asian American kids talking about their culture, heritage and feelings on living in America as child of Asian decent. The piece originally aired in May 2012 to coincide with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and it appears as if they made it available to celebrate again this year.

The interviews with the kids are candid, adorable and entertaining. I loved hearing them talk about their families and friends, and gaining insight into their awareness and understanding of diversity, race and culture in America.

Here’s the trailer to get a flavor of the special:


Of course watching it made me think of my own heritage and my (maternal) grandma, Sueko, who moved from Japan to the U.S. in the early 1950s, after she met my grandpa in the Korean War. She was one of the funniest women I ever met and was one of my best friends growing up as a young boy.

Derek and Grandma, circa 1990?

Derek and Grandma, circa 1990?

She introduced me to weird foods like octopus and ginger, forced me into loving the Detroit Tigers, and most importantly, exposed me to a world outside our homogeneous Midwestern town of 7,000. She made me realize how big of a world this really is and introduced me to diversity. Her influence led me to look beyond Michigan for my future and ultimately what led me to having dreams of moving to San Francisco.

While we lost her far too early (when I was in college), there aren’t many days that go by that I don’t think of her. She was one of my favorite people ever and I am grateful for having been part of her life, and for her being part of mine.

3 responses to “Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

  1. As an adult I think about my grandparents al the time, maybe because I am now able to appreciate some of the lessons they were trying to impart on me while they were still alive. The video is really cool, I love it when they use kids, and it is just long enough to keep my attention!

  2. Thank you Derek this is Beautiful. Made your Mom cry. And yes I know you did this in May but u know my computer was out of order haha!

  3. Pingback: On this Veterans Day… | Could I have been... a social studies teacher?

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