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re:asian is a Canadian and U.S. based online/print platform that seeks to highlight the voices of Asian-identifying people living in the U.S. and Canada. Since mainstream white media has repeatedly failed to give space to Asian-created content and perspectives, we’ve created our own space, to fill with critical and political writing and art. We seek to honour our histories, cultures, and communities, but also be be critical of the issues we see within them.
We recognize the diversity of backgrounds and experiences encompassed by the label of “Asian.” We seek to open dialogue on what it means to be Asian in a society that values whiteness, and to acknowledge the multiplicity of perspectives involved. Too often, Asian-designated spaces have been dominated by East Asians, and we try to ensure that the experiences of all Asian identities – including South Asian, Southeast Asian, and West Asian folks – are validated on this platform.
We seek to understand how marginalized identities like class, caste, gender, sexuality, and disability intersect with and complicate Asian identities. We also recognize that our struggle is linked to the struggles of other marginalized groups, and are committed to working with and supporting them. re:asian serves as a collective imaginary, envisioning a society without the confines of white supremacy, colonialism, capitalism, and heteronormativity.
Ultimately, we intend re:asian to be a place where community is cultivated, where people can find others that can empathize with and validate their experiences.
re:asian’s editorial board would like to acknowledge that we are settlers on unceded and occupied Indigenous territory. By unceded, we mean the land was never surrendered to the U.S. or Canada. What we call North America is known as Turtle Island to some Indigenous groups. We would like to pay respect to the keepers of this land, and the land itself.
Members of re:asian’s editorial board are based in what we call Montreal, Vancouver, and New York City. Based on our current knowledge, the island that we call Montreal is known as Tio’tia:ke in the language of the Kanien’kehá:ka, one of the five founding Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the traditional keepers of the land. What’s known as Vancouver was founded on the traditional territories of three Coast Salish peoples: the Skxwú7mesh (Squamish), Tsleil-Waututh, and Xwméthkwyiem (Musqueam) peoples. What’s known as New York City was built on Scheyischbi or Lenapehoking, the land of the Lenni-Lenape, or Lenape, people of the Unami, Munsee, and Unalachtigo dialects.
Too often, continuing settler colonialism is thought to be perpetuated exclusively by white people. It’s crucial that we do not forget that most of us, as immigrants and those coming from immigrant backgrounds, are settlers. Our presence on this land is made possible by a history of violence and erasure of Indigenous people. Thus, it is our responsibility to critically examine and challenge colonial histories and their continuing manifestations
As settlers, we have tried to acknowledge the Indigenous peoples of the places we live in and use their correct names; however, as we continue to work on this understanding, we welcome any feedback or knowledge you may have. We are also aware that land acknowledgements are often used to pay lip service to Indigenous struggles and experiences, as an empty stand-in for actual decolonization work, and we are committed to accompanying our land acknowledgement with actual decolonial work.
I was born in Toronto, but my family is from Gujarat, and I spend most of the winter sulkily threatening to return to India. I’m still trying to figure out what being South Asian means to me, after having spent most of my childhood trying to erase any evidence that I was different from my white friends. Slowly, haltingly, and with help from my family and friends, I’m piecing together a South Asian identity – one that involves food, dance, anti-oppressive politics, and lots of discussions about body hair.
Right now I live in what’s known as Montreal, on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka land, where I study philosophy at McGill and work as the Features Editor at The McGill Daily. I’ve written for NOW Toronto, GUTS, and Chatelaine, among others. I’m thrilled to be part of the re:asian team, in such great company in the task of making Canadian and U.S. media a little less white. You can follow me on twitter at @saima_desai.
I am a late bloomer, settler, first-generation Chinese immigrant, shy Sagittarius and neurodivergent womxn. I grew up in a white suburb where some combination of Sailor Mars, Barbie, and big-bosomed women – on Hustler mags or maybe off-brand – at my parents’ store was my early model of femininity and where I tried, failing, to prevent my Chinese-ness from singling me out. I believe Asian creative representation is important, but so is complicating the idea of being Asian, and realizing what betrayal happens within the Asian community.
I live on the land that holds Gichi Kiiwenging / tkaronto / Toronto where I write about art and desire and sometimes work for galleries and online art books. My first zine made at the tender age of 25 is called cold blood. I believe in revolutionary love (that is open to questioning), ethical aesthetics, and partying with intention. Milkweed is another publication I edit for.
Sometimes it is hard for me to communicate, and I will try to communicate
that to you. You can find me on instagram @vahnsuhn.
I am a multi-ethnic, second-generation Filipino-American born and raised in New Jersey, which is located on colonized Lenni-Lenape land. When I identify as bi-racial, it’s mostly to let others know my parents are in an interracial relationship because in reality, I pass as white in most places. Which has afforded me a lot of privilege to get to the point I’ve reached.
Three years ago, I moved to Montreal on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka land to study at Concordia University. I can now proudly (and surprisingly) say I graduated this past spring. When I wasn’t in class, I was killing free time working as an editor for The Link publication, one of the independent student media outlets at the university. I worked there for my first two years as a news editor and then as editor-in-chief in my final year. My work has also appeared in Vice Sports and the Montreal Gazette.
Follow me on Twitter @hiimbiracial.
Photo by Sigrid Patterson.
I am a second-generation Filipinx womxn living on unceded Coast Salish Territory. I care about representation, and I value the impact of sharing our experiences with each other. Growing up, I instantly latched on to Asian women on screen....Sook-Yin Lee and Hannah Sung, you mean a lot to me.
I work with digital media to tell stories. My stake in re:asian is about connection; to feel connected, to connect people, and to collectively develop a media platform with a critical dialogue on Asian diasporic experiences.
My name is Subhanya Sivajothy, and I use she/her pronouns. I currently live in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal) where I am a student at McGill University. However, I’m originally from Toronto - traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit River. I grew up in Scarborough - a strange and beautifully diverse enclave in Toronto; my family and ancestors are from Sri Lanka. I read and write to explore cultural gaps and flows. I’m currently thinking about the relationships that we have to the landscapes and nature around us, and how legacies of war, migration and displacement affect those relationships.
Web and Social Editor
I’m a first generation Vietnamese American woman, passionate about accessible education, indie rock music, and public transportation. Originally from Northern California, I’m still trying to figure out how to survive Boston blizzards. I study journalism, political science, and public health, and hope to tell multimedia stories internationally after graduation. I interned with NBC News last summer and now I work for an investigative reporting nonprofit. Every once in a while, I cook a huge dinner for all of my 23 housemates in my chaotic but supportive women’s co-op. Tweet me about your favorite song or the best french fries you’ve ever eaten.