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  • Andrew Hsieh

AAMPLIFIED Roundup: AANHPI farms, Justin Chon, Jeet Kune Do and Airbnb

Every week, AAMPLIFY brings you the week in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander news.

Non-profit teaches AANHPI to farm and to distribute food

It's not always easy to succeed at the local farmer's market. It can take several trips to ship produce back and forth, for example. Moreover, there's never a guarantee that it will sell. That's why Youa Yang, a son of Hmong farmers, appreciates Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement (APIFM) so much.

APIFM is a non-profit specializing in helping AANHPI farmers bring produce to the Los Angeles AANHPI diaspora. Specifically, APIFM focuses on food that is familiar to AANHPI, from the traditional Asian greens Yang grows to bitter melons and daikon roots. Founded in 2013, APIFM has taught dozens of farms via farming workshops, teaching irrigation techniques, distribution practices, and market regulations. For farmers like Yang's parents, who were refugees with linguistic barriers, APIFM has been invaluable.

Meanwhile, consumers reap the benefits as well, especially those who live further away from specialty Asian grocery stores like Ranch 99 or Zion. APIFM helps farmers learn to distribute their cultural produce to liquor stores and family grocery stores, bringing the AANHPI diaspora a little closer to home.

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Justin Chon and David Soo promote new film on Reddit

"Gook" is a slur, but Justin Chon and David Soo plan to reclaim it with their new film. Their film, also titled "Gook," marks the 25th anniversary of the LA riots, wherein the Korean American community clashed violently with the African American community.

To promote their film, Chon and Soo joined an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, where they answered questions about the film. Chon described how "Gook" represented his ultimate goals as an artist, by giving Asian Americans actors more options for work.

"My goal and agenda when doing films outside of the traditional studio system is to be a part or make films that I feel are positive for Asian Americans," Chon wrote. "I want to continue making the films that we as Asian Americans can relate to. So please watch Gook! Show the studio system that we matter."

Discussing anti-Blackness in the AANHPI community, Soo discussed his family's African American beauty supply store, highlighting how a friendship in Gook highlights the conflict between the Korean American community and the African American one. "At the end of the day education and reaching out is the best way to do it," wrote Soo. "It's going to take the youth who can see both sides."

"Gook" goes into wide release on August 18, 2017.

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50 years of Jeet Kune Do

June 9 was the 50th anniversary of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee's martial arts philosophy, and Phil Yu at Angry Asian Man had a great feature celebrating its golden anniversary.

Showcasing Bruce Lee's journal entries, poems, and even to-do lists, Yu's post is a quick history lesson through what Lee called "the art of fighting without fighting." Lee's own Facebook page, celebrated the anniversary with a video, extolling Lee's intent for Jeet Kune Do to illustrate "Simplicity. Directness. Freedom."

"Lee wrestled with putting a name to his art as he constantly veered away from any type of crystallization (and thereby limitation) of its essence," Lee's Facebook page said. "However, the simple need to refer to it in some concrete way won out, and Jeet Kune Do was born."

You can see more of Bruce Lee's writings at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle, at the Bruce Lee exhibition running through 2018.

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Racist Airbnb host charged A few months ago, Airbnb host Tami Barker canceled a woman’s Airbnb reservation with a message saying “One word says it all: Asian.”

This week, Barker was charged by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Barker will pay $5,000, but will also be expected to take an Asian American studies course at the college level, participate in a community education panel, and volunteer with a civil rights organization.

This is the first time someone has been charged under Airbnb’s new agreement with the state of California, which allows the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing to test Airbnb hosts for racism.

Agents, says director Kevin Kish, are always watching, sending fake Airbnb accounts of different races to see if hosts will accept one over the other.

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What to check out this weekend Want to kick off the weekend by catching up on AANHPI content? These highlights should have you covered.

Indian American Viral Patel invents dryer that requires no heat Guam slam poet featured in Colorado TED talk event Asian American and Pacific Islander women and the fair wage fight And if you like what we’re doing, consider donating to AAMPLIFY!


AANHPI to follow this weekend

Looking for AANHPI to follow online? Every week, we’ll showcase interesting AAPI in media, the news or even on Twitter. Join the community today.

Greg Pak is a writer, political advocate and filmmaker who currently writes Korean American Amadeus Cho in the comic series, “Totally Awesome Hulk.” You can find him on Twitter and at

Brian Yang is an actor and producer whose film, “My Other Home,” screens in China on August 11. Find him on Twitter and on Instagram.

Nicole Chung is a contributor to the New York Times, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, and many more news outlets. Her book, “All You Can Ever Know,” will be published in 2018 by Catapult. Find her on Twitter and Catapult.

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