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Detroit Public Television
Detroit Public Television
Detroit Public Television
Our AAPI programming, and specifically, the AAPI Storytelling Initiative involves journalists and producers who identify with the AAPI community in conjunction with partners doing grassroots work in the AAPI Advisory committee. The co-producers of the storytelling initiative, Zosette Guir (DPTV) and Dorothy Hernandez (WDET) decided to collaborate in response to the rise of anti-Asian hate, specifically, the Atlanta spa shootings in 2021–with the realization that there was power in combining the reach of public radio and public television to share about the nuanced experiences of the Asian American community in Metro Detroit. A year later, the work of storytelling continues, and the need for support is greater to both produce and share these stories with our collective audiences. With the storytelling initiative, the journalists who are part of the project aim to show greater diversity and representation in local public media programming. This initiative is uniquely positioned to amplify stories and bring communities together through public trust. Through engaging and informative community conversations, the initiative invites more audience members (both those within and outside of our local AAPI communities) to understand and learn about local opportunities, challenges, and community groups they may otherwise be unaware of. Rooted in Detroit, and in connection to the mission of public media (both public TV, DPTV, and public radio, WDET), this initiative aims to honor the legacy of the Asian American and Detroit communities who created a new fight for civil rights, and will continue to be a catalyst for community change.
About the Organization:
Hate crimes against Asian Americans continue to rise. AAPI Data reported that 1 in 6 Asian American adults experienced a hate crime or hate incident in 2021, up from 1 in 8 in 2020. The unfortunate reality is that hate crimes against Asian Americans date back much further. In 1982, the racially motivated murder of Vincent Chin took place in Detroit, sparking a movement for Asian American civil rights. In 2020, racist sentiments against Asian Americans due to falsehoods related to the pandemic’s origin increased. An advisory group had originally convened in October 2019 to plan local engagement around the upcoming PBS mini-series, “Asian Americans.” After the Atlanta Spa shootings in March 2021, we reengaged the advisory group and have continued to meet monthly, renaming it the AAPI Advisory Committee. In March 2021, when asked how public TV could best serve the local AAPI community, members of the advisory committee stated: ‘Asian Americans are often depicted as an invisible minority. Tell stories that reflect the authentic lives of the AAPI community here. Show the diversity, share the history and let us speak.’ The advisory committee continues to provide guidance to us on the specific challenges of our local AAPI communities, and ways to offer meaningful support. AAPIs are the fastest growing population in Michigan, representing 19 distinct cultures (including Burmese, Hmong, and Bangladeshi) in the state. According to AAPI Data , nearly 50% of AAPIs live in the Detroit tri-county area. The challenge is to provide a safe space to have conversations, to gather people, to discuss challenges and to celebrate where Asian Americans have been and what the future holds. The need is a place and platform where personal stories can be told with intentionality. Through the AAPI Storytelling Initiative, DPTV has a platform to amplify those stories and offer the opportunity for extensive community engagement.
The advisory committee, led by DPTV, connects us with AAPI community members who are willing to share their stories. The committee collaboratively works together to create a platform that amplifies stories, ensuring that AAPI communities in our region feel seen, heard and empowered to share their experiences. We’ve partnered with WDET, Detroit’s local NPR station, to launch the AAPI Storytelling Initiative, which became an ongoing series featuring people who have connections to each other, to talk about what it means to be an Asian American in this time of increased anti-Asian hate. A landing page to collect stories, and other AAPI news is here: https://www.onedetroitpbs.org/aapi/ . Creating opportunities, like the AAPI Storytelling Initiative, for the AAPI community to speak and be heard, allows DPTV’s team to listen and amplify the stories that reflect the lives of those who live in and around Detroit and focuses on solutions to their concerns. The AAPI Storytelling Initiative is a continuation of the storytelling that’s been part of DPTV’s mission to amplify the voices of our diverse communities. It is in the trust that we’ve built since the beginning that allows us to leverage our position in this way. Our ongoing commitment to the AAPI community goes back to 1987, when DPTV co-produced the critically acclaimed and Academy Award-nominated film, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?”, which remains relevant today. It has recently been selected for the National Film Registry, honoring the story and legacy that Vincent Chin’s case, and subsequent lack of justice, brought to the attention of the country. DPTV worked with national PBS to reformat the film to 4K and air it on PBS stations across the country in June 2022. DPTV has been an effective engagement partner amplifying the local remembrance and rededication events during the 40th anniversary of Vincent Chin’s death while promoting the film to new audiences. Additionally, DPTV has hosted two virtual town hall events focused on exploring the experiences of Asian Americans in Detroit and understanding the history of anti-Asian racism and how it continues to affect the lives of Asian Americans that live here.