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Logo sketches for The Slant, by illustrator and cartoonist Minnie Phan, our first fan, forever our ride or die

Volume 104: May 17, 2019

After two years of weekly issues, The Slant is ending.

So, yes! I don't want to write too much because this newsletter is always way too long and we know it. But after two years and 104 issues—105 if you count our one-year anniversary issue—we are ending The Slant. (And I am very sorry to the 30ish subscribers who just joined us in the past two weeks.)

There are a couple reasons for this. One is, unfortunately, pretty boring: we started The Slant out of the wake of the 2016 election, where we had a lot of time and a lot of drive. Now, we still have a lot of drive, but not so much time—which is tricky.

But a much more compelling reason is that our mission—to tell the stories of underrepresented Asian / Pacific Islander / Desi Americans (APIDA)—is being fulfilled by incredible organizations. Whether it's our friends at The Cosmos, or Slant'd, or Empowering PI or The Aerogram, more and more APIDA stories are being told. And more and more APIDA can find what they're looking for. 

(Each of those orgs' newsletters are pretty good, too.)

This is already almost 200 words, Andrew

OKAY, FINAL REASON. There's this great quote by Daniel Mallory Ortberg, co-founder of The Toast, where he says The Toast is a lot of work because "if we have a slow day, it's kind of my fault and if I half-ass it, we look stupid and boring."

I'm hoping that by capping The Slant at two years, we'll avoid being stupid and boring, while encouraging our community to pursue Slant-like projects of their own. Because all it takes is just starting. I'm so excited to see what you all do, in and out of the APIDA community.

Okay, then. Let's do this one last time.

Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, passing the torch to y'all. (Don't worry. We'll still be writing on Medium sometimes.)

What We Talk About When We Talk About The Slant

For our last issue, we asked ourselves: what did we learn from writing The Slant every week? What did it mean to be part of the larger APIDA community? And how much sleep did we lose on Thursday nights? Here are answers from all six editors.

Two years ago I was still grappling with my place in the world. Thanks to the Slant, I've figured it all out (just kidding).

The Slant held me accountable to doing the important work of taking a stance, learning about what I didn't know, and embedding my identity and what I care about into my everyday life. It was an opportunity for me to spend time thinking about the past, present, and ambitious future of APIDA community, and what I want my role to look like within the expansiveness of our community.

The work doesn't end here, and even though it's 2+ years past the most jarring/action-inspiring event of our generation, we have to stay vigilant (#MadEye). I'm eager to see how my fellow Slant editors continue to fight the good fight, how our Slant friends continue to kick ass, and how the community continues to rise up and join together.

At this point, all I want to say is thank you— for the generosity, the challenge, and the support. Here’s to what’s to come!

— Chery Sutjahjo, editor and forever Chery's Corner of Love columnist (I miss this —Ed.)

That a lot of folks are struggling to get their existence recognized and fully seen under the acronym of AANHPI, APIDA, API, etc. For me, learning about the term "Asian American" was an important step in understanding our shared cultural history, and The Slant gave our readers the opportunities to do that. What I’m now seeing is the desire to see one’s own community reflected more deliberately, and I learned that representation doesn’t always necessarily mean inclusion.

— Natalie Bui, editor and part-time emergency Slant header illustrator (see Natalie's work for Empowering PI Communities, MPower Change and more on her Instagram —Ed.)

Speaking personally for a second, The Slant came along right when I needed it. During a period of turmoil (as Andrew mentioned, post-2016 election), this newsletter gave me a way to focus my voice and my values.

Despite how dark things can seem (please donate if you can to the Yellowhammer Fund) I’ve learned that the APIDA community is even more resilient, creative and powerful than I thought. Natalie often refers to our interviewees as “people doing cool shit” and the level of cool, inspiring shit that y’all are doing blows my mind. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and we’re not perfect, but I believe more than ever that we can create change.
— Jessica Yi, editor (and the only actual journalist among the staff here; sorry for all the headaches Jessica!! —Ed.)

“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

Working alongside The Slant team has been a dream. Seeing this tiny passion project blossom into a community that has connected APIDAs across the country (and even the world!) has inspired me in more ways than I can express.

The Slant has taught me to be fearless. We’ve had so many “pie in the sky” dreams and interviews on our wishlist that we never thought we’d land, but after interviewing people like Awkwafina and more in just our first few months, I’ve witnessed the power of being bold, persistent, and curious.

Everyone has a story to be told, never too small or unimportant. We are all looking for ways to find meaning and belong, so don’t be afraid to speak up or be the first to start a revolution. My fellow editors—you have my heart 4 lyfe.

Natasha Chan, social media editor and resident Archie Comics expert (pls finish Riverdale —Ed.)

I’d always thought of “Asian America” as being a small world, where one shouldn’t be too surprised to find familiar faces in far-flung locations or be able to play the “6 Degrees of Separation” game with only four degrees. Where minority status means the Wikipedia page for “Politicians / Comedians / Immigration Lawyers / Organic Farmers / _____ of Asian Descent ” is literally just one page.

But I joined The Slant’s editorial team around the time Subtle Asian Traits was ballooning in membership and global significance, and “Asian August” in media and entertainment demonstrated that there is major cultural and economic oomph behind the demographic numbers. These phenomena backgrounded my foray into The Slant’s mission to share All The Stories™, from as many people, communities, and cultures as it can.

It didn’t occur to me at the time that this is an impossible mission. Impossible in a good way. From my experiences here, I’ve been able to deconstruct my minimized preconception of the Asian American news landscape and reconstruct an enormous world of art, activism, and actual people, excitingly numerous and diverse. Asian America is vaster than I knew, more critically engaged than I expected, and more on track to rewrite history than I could hope for.

Andrew Cheng, editor (and the only one of us who's within reach of that doctorate!! —Ed.)

I’ve told this story a lot over the past two years, but The Slant came directly out of the 2016 election, after I stumbled into my marketing gig at a computer hardware company and suddenly realized that I wasn’t invested anymore.

But getting started on something that I was invested in lunged along in fits and starts, until May 2017, when I just wrote something with a broken subject line and sent it basically unsolicited to 11 of my friends. (Shouts to y’all.)

Because sometimes the barrier is just getting started. 11 people is a community. And committing to that community, and committing to listening to people who join that community, motivated me to keep that momentum going.

Today, this little experiment of ours is ending, but I know we’ve got velocity left in us yet. Keep an eye out for The Slant’s editors. I know they’re going far.

Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, eternally hoping for that 100% open rate

Can you gyoza distance?

Chery Sutjahjo, Slant editor, in her finest hour

This Weekend ... 📅

  • FIGHT ANTI-ABORTION LAWS with the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), who's drafted a petition to fight against PRENDA laws in New York, which use racist stereotypes about APIDA to attempt to thwart our agency. Remember: PRENDA's not just relevant to NY—it's been proposed in states across the U.S. each year for the past five years. (And as Jessica mentions above, please donate to the Yellowhammer Fund if you're able to.)

  • CELEBRATE THE LAUNCH OF A NEW PODCAST—specifically, the Self Evident podcast, hosted by Cathy Erway, celebrating the stories of Asian America. (Remember how we talked about people doing cool shit?) Self Evident is having their launch party in Oakland this Saturday—TOMORROW—and I'm actually going to be on a panel during the show. So come thru, or subscribe today!

  • REMEMBER AN ARCHITECT, and specifically I.M. Pei, who lived life like a James Bond character. Pei, the designer of the most famous pyramid outside of Egypt (you know, the Parisian one), passed away yesterday morning in Manhattan at the age of 102. His obituary is a heckuva read.

  • START GROWING NATIVE HAWAIIAN CROPS or at least be inspired to be a #plantparent with Hokuao Pellegrino. Pellegrino started farming in 1998, and intended to plant crops like wetland taro, kukui nut, bananas, coconut and breadfruit—all food that some 35,000 Hawaiian households don't have easy access to. See how farmers like Pellegrino are connecting Native Hawaiians to food and culture.

  • LEARN HOW ASIANTOWNS STARTED, from Little Saigons to Koreatowns to Little Indias and more. NBC News has the story on how refugees built permanent communities in America, gained political power, and began makin' bank.

This week's stories are curated by Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, wishing y'all the best.

The Slant was brought to you by:

 

Brian Hsieh • Marina Cheung • Billy Huang • Kevin Lin • Paulina Dao

 

AJ Grey • Delwin Lau • Mandy Diec • Carl Shan

 

Patrick Trinh • Lloyd Lee • Emily Chi • Naomi Iwata • Kyla Hsia

 

Gloria Lin • Yi Cao • Cat Xia • Curtis Leung

 

Crystal Shei • Jerome Finuliar • Ryan Ikeda • Meher Kohli • Matt Young • Sooyun Choi • Abby Wang • Tracey Baumann • Mika Kennedy • James Boo • Chris Moe • Alexander Quion • Jeffrey Wang • Vivi Nguyen

 

Angela Yang • Diane Lee • Katherine Chin • Paul Kerr • Talisa Chang • Claire Tran • Sara Mitchell • Teresa Nguyen

who are, now and forever, The Greatest.

See ya next time.
Copyright © 2019 The Slant, All rights reserved.


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