Ding Ding TV (Silicon Valley Innovation Channel and Voice of Asian Americans) together with its valued partners and sponsors is promoting a Video Essay Contest to tell the Humanistic Stories of the current pandemic. In a matter of months, COVID-19 has spread to every corner of our world causing deaths, wreaking havoc to our bodies, our well being, our health care and economic systems.
Purpose of the “In time of COVID-19” Video Essay Contest:
Every calamity carries its own humanistic stories. We believe that the current pandemic has generated a treasure trove of interesting stories about humanity in all its spectrums. Stories about greed, selfishness and scapegoating on the one side, but also stories about generosity, heroism, kindness and outstanding services to fellow human beings on the other.
This “Fighting COVID-19” Video Essay Contest is open to all independent journalists, ethnic media, event organizers and civic organization contestants. Contestants are required to submit in English a video of less than one minute in length to be accompanied by a written essay of less than 600 words. The theme should focus on the uplifting and inspirational stories relating to the current pandemic. Submissions are accepted immediately and opened until May 30, 2020.
A diverse Panel of Judges will select: 1st Prize (1 winner: $3,000), 2nd Prize (2 winners: $1,500 each), 3rd Prize (3 winners: $1,000 each). People’s Choice (1 winner: $1000). Contestants should submit a video to be accompanied by an Essay. The video has to be less than one minute in MP4, the essay need to be less than 600 words. All contents should be in English. Submit your presentation to email@example.com
On April 25th, nearly 400 people logged into the Asian American Unification Seminar to strongly and forthrightly speak with one unified voice against racism and xenophobic acts targeting Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and blaming them for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moderator Anthony Le introduced Dr. S.K Lo, President of the Asian American Unity Coalition (AAUC), who welcomed participants to the gathering and highlighted contributions and donations made by Asian Americans during the pandemic.
A video showed Yen Marshall, the Executive Director, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA), and members of APAPA chapters in NY, Texas, and Seattle, serving their communities by contributing PPE, get well cards, and other equipment to fight the pandemic.
New York City Comptroller Scott M Stringer, assured Asian Americans on behalf of his city, which has seen a rise in Asian American hate crimes, that they were not alone. “There are public officials, advocates, activists from around the city, and the United States that are going to protect and defend the enormous contributions of the Asian American community.” He expressed admiration for the Asian American front line workers who fearlessly go to work every day.
Keynote speaker, NY Congresswoman Grace Meng, who was traveling with her two sons from Washington DC to New York, dialed into the webinar from her car. Rep. Meng, a founder, and Co-Chair of the Kids’ Safety Caucus was introduced by Stringer as a defender of liberty who understands diversity. “When any community is under attack, when hate comes to Latinos, Jewish or any community she is the first one to show up,” said Stringer. “She is making a name for herself on the national stage and is being recognized as the next generational leadership in the United States of America.” Like Meng, Stringer is the father of two boys and does not want to leave a legacy of hate for them.
“Attacks on Asian Americans have skyrocketed to 100 per day during the pandemic,” said Meng, who has introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives to denounce the anti-Asian sentiment caused by reaction to the pandemic. The resolution has 124 cosponsors including Kamala Harris.
She pointed out that, “The increased use of anti-Asian rhetoric, particularly from our nation’s leaders such as the President, and their use of terms like ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus,’ and ‘Kung-flu,’ is not only irresponsible, reckless, and downright disgusting, it threatens the safety of the Asian American community; such language demeans, disparages, and scapegoats Asian Americans.” Meng urged people to speak up. “It is because we spoke up that the President has taken note.”
The rest of the webinar featured presentations and community sharing – audience contributions moderated by host Anthony Le. Speakers reported racist incidents and shared statistics about bias and hate crimes which have surged against the AAPI community, after the coronavirus crisis.
Some participants reported that small businesses in areas with high Asian American populations have been vandalized.
Stop AAPI Hate, a website created by California-based advocacy organizations to document hate crimes in seven languages, reported more than1,600 incidents in the three weeks since it launched, escalating to a rate of about 100 per day. Organizers say it’s likely that the rate of reporting severely undercounts the actual number of incidents taking place every day across the country.
Jason Tengco, Senior Advisor, National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), moderated sessions on hate and bias interventions, and on resources and non-profits that offer support. AAJC and Hollaback! announced bystander intervention training sessions that teach people how to safely intervene when they see harassment happening
Online surveys were conducted by the host before, and during the webinar to assess the mood of the audience which was calm and relaxed to begin with and then became nervous, worried, anxious, and unsure resulting from the backlash of the pandemic on APIA.
It was clear that the virus of hate chokes the life out of us as much as the virus of COVID-19.
Ding Ding TV, in partnership with India Currents and Civic Leadership USA (CLUSA), presented the next panel in a series to create a dialogue around how average citizens evolve from their roles as parents to civic leaders. In a panel moderated by Jeff Chow, Associate Vice President at Morgan Stanley, on September 27, 2019, the attendees of the event and the speakers explored education as a means for entering current community activism. The panelists were Nancy Alvarez , College Access Family Liaison at East Palo Alto Academy; Pragati Grover, former Board member for the Saratoga School District and Team4Tech Operations Manager; and Anjali Kausar, former Board member for the Cupertino School District and current CEO of the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce.
Three impressive women, mothers, and immigrants are bound together by their thread of passion for education. All three happened upon this mutual interest through their own children. Alvarez, who came from Mexico twenty two years ago, found herself advocating for her children who had been placed in an ESL (English as a Second Language) class. Her children were regressing and falling behind because they were in ESL. She proposed that her decision to pull her kids out of the class eventually benefited them; she has one student at Stanford and one at UC Merced and continues to advocate for the next generation of under-resourced students at East Palo Academy.
Similarly, Anjali Kausar and Pragati Grover, began working in their children’s classroom and discovered that the teachers faced many difficulties. In order to be proponents of change, both became board members for the school district in their region. Kausar came from Africa thirty years ago and found it hard to navigate the school system. It was when she became entrenched in the school that she found not only a means to support her children but also her identity as an American. Grover shared this sentiment and stated, “One should give their time, not their money” and that “I want to give back because this is my community.” As immigrants, they both found their sense of belonging and identity by being a part of the school system and having a voice in their communities.
Once the panelists left the stage, we were graced by storytelling through the art of Bharatanatyam by Nirupama Vaidhyanathan. She came with a narrative that continued the message woven throughout the discourse of the night–a narrative of resilience, passion, and social activism. Her first performance was a journey in time to her ancestors who took part in the Salt Satyagraha with Gandhi. Her grandfather protested against the salt tax imposed by the British and had exchanges with other revolutionaries on the caste system, sanitation, and other barriers that Indians were facing under colonial rule.
Vaidhyanathan’s second piece was based on a Tamil poem by Sugathakumari. The poem encapsulated the evils of pollution on the environment and was interspersed with the Indian myth of Shiva churning the ocean to drink the poison created by the evil on Earth. It was clear by the end of the performance that this forum had left an impact on every person in the room.
In a day and age in which civic engagement may seem like a fruitless task, it was wonderful to see engaged and empowered women of color take the stage. One can only hope that the next generation can embody the tenacity of the three women who spoke on the panel. Keep checking in with India Currents to see when the next panel discussion will be and how you can become an engaged leader in your community.
Do you know that two media companies in the Silicon Valley are led by women? Representing two of the largest populations in the world, India and China, these two medias serve the immigrants from India and China in the United States.
India Currents has been a thought leader since its founding in 1987. An achievement that speaks to the unique need for a platform that champions South Asian identity of the diaspora . DingDing TV celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Check out this video which shows publisher of India Currents, Vandana Kumar in conversation with Diana Ding, CEO of DingDing TV.
Ever since he was young, Pavan Raj Gowda has been heavily involved in his community. Now 18 years old, Pavan has already written two books and founded his own non-profit organization: Green Kids Now Inc. The goal of his organization is to bring kids from around to world to share experience and take care of the environment through STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). At Ding Ding TV’s 3rd Civic Leadership Forum of 2018, Pavan shared his experiences as a climate leader in his community and encouraged the audience to do the same in order for the world to be a better as well as cleaner place for future generations.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” —Mark Twain.
Keynote Speaker: Rishi Kumar – Saratoga City Council member
Moderator: Vandana Kumar – Publisher, India Currents
For Saratoga Councilmember Rishi Kumar, his life is dedicated to helping Saratoga as well as the Silicon Valley grow and progress. As one of the keynote speakers at Ding Ding TV’s 3rd Civic Leadership Forum of 2018, Councilmember Kumar used his knowledge and experience as a community leader to inspire current students who are involved in similar activities at school (i.e. Interact Club of Silicon Valley, Hanlin Youth) so that they can bring that back to their clubs. He also emphasized certain concepts that are not only applicable to students but also working adults who hope to advance their business or things that they are passionate about. Such concepts includes not being afraid to take risks, utilizing one’s social networks/social media accounts, the importance of being able network and speaking in front of an audience. Councilman Kumar ended his speech by answering questions from students from the audience.