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."
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.
Li is using the movement to bring awareness to issues AAPI journalists face.
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.
SEE THE CLOTHING: VeryAsian.us
DONATE TO AAJA: AAJA.org/donate