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Asian-Pacific Americans Making Waves

Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2012.

In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, StoryCorps Atlanta and the Asian-Pacific American Historical Society sponsored a community listening event called APAs Making Waves: Stories about Love, Family, and Identity by Asian-Pacific Americans in the South.

We played eight stories recorded by Asian Americans living in the South. All of these stories were edited by Dana Goldman and have aired on WABE. Several StoryCorps alumni were also in attendance to shared why they came to StoryCorps and what their experience was like.

In describing the title of the event, the APA Historical Society’s Tricia Sung says, “Many of our parents told us not to make waves. We want to celebrate people who are making a contribution, and they do this by making waves!”

Partners Satyam Barakoti and Tonja Holder described how comfortable they felt in the recording booth and with the StoryCorps staff. Tonja added, “We listen to our CD often, and it’s neat to think that in twenty years we could go to Library of Congress in D.C. with our children and listen to our story there.” You can listen to Satyam and Tonja’s story here.

Another participant, Saundra Henderson-Windom, described her interview experience and the big secret she shared while recording: Growing up, she learned she is the child of an African-American soldier and a Korean woman and that she was born in Korea toward the end of the Korean War. Saundra was adopted at age five by an African-American couple in Compton, California, and was told not to talk about being half-Korean. At the event, she told the audience that it was empowering to tell her own story and have a record of it for her children and grandchildren so that they would know their family history. You can listen to part of her story here.

Questions of ancestry for another StoryCorps alum, Claire McLeveighn, also come with long answers. She’s part African-American, Native-American, Irish, and Chinese. At StoryCorps, Claire told her friend Richard DuCree the story of the Chinese grandfather she never knew, and at Making Waves, she explained that recording her story “was a way to honor my grandfather and my father.” You can hear her story online here.

Many thanks to the Asian-Pacific American Historical Society — and check out our slideshow below!

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