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Michelle Li uses #VeryAsian movement to support AAPI journalists

A shirt, hat or sweatshirt can help Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists across the country.

ST. LOUIS — An ugly viewer comment directed at a KSDK anchor became a positive movement, supporting Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists.

Michelle Li bravely started a conversation about racism and representation of people of color when she shared a racist voicemail message that was directed at her.

The caller said Li was being "very Asian" on TV and that she should "keep her Korean to herself."

RELATED: A viewer called to complain about me being 'very Asian' for talking about New Year's Day dumplings on TV

The nasty message turned into a positive movement with thousands of people sharing #veryAsian support. People shared photos of dumplings and included photos of their rich Asian culture.

RELATED: #VeryAsian: St. Louis anchor Michelle Li gets outpouring of support

Li is using the movement to bring awareness to issues AAPI journalists face.

#VeryAsian merch

In collaboration with KARE 11 Minneapolis news anchor Gia Vang, Li shared a link to purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and other wearables. The proceeds will benefit the Asian American Journalists Association

AAJA advocates for Asian American and Pacific Islanders in newsrooms. AAJA has a mentorship program for AAPI journalists, shares resources on culturally competent coverage for news outlets, and much more. AAJA holds media accountable, guides, supports and instructs.

"I think in the moment I wanted to reclaim those words and I know I wasn’t the only one," said Vang. "Michelle simply responded by asking if #VeryAsian could be a T-shirt. The response was almost immediate with a resounding yes, and we knew we needed to do something good with the momentum."

The "very Asian" script on the clothing is Michelle Li's handwriting. The Very Asian pop-up sale only lasts for two weeks through Jan. 18, 2022.

In lieu of a purchase, people can support the movement by donating.



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