When Uyen Tieu realized that only 1 out of 10 Asian American millennials actually voted, she was, understandably, troubled. With issues of representation so prominent — both in this election and the current cultural conversation — the lack of voter engagement was impossible to ignore.
“That was what got me so passionate,” Tieu explains, “to really speak to the nine in ten out there, that they should come out and go and vote.”
In order to raise awareness of the situation and help pull Asian American young people deeper into the civic process, Tieu launched #IamAsianAmerican — a movement that includes social media, and real-life activations. A four city concert series not only showcased Asian American contributions to pop culture, it also helped build an atmosphere of involvement.
Jeff Yang, an Executive Producer for the initiative says, “Pop culture and politics have always been adjacent, but now they’ve converged.” He continues, “This is a generation of creators, of connectors, of community builders. They have access to amplifiers and megaphones that we never had.”
By utilizing those amplifiers, the #IamAsianAmerican movement has sparked a groundswell of social media interaction, but it’s about a lot more than that. It’s about real change, real action, and people celebrating their heritage while helping grow our nation.