I’ve been to the NBA Golden State Warrior’s new arena, the Chase Center, twice since the Fall of 2019 when it first opened. But Sunday, November 21st, was my first time for 8Asians, to cover ‘Asian Heritage Night‘, which was sponsored (or “presented”) by Cache Creek. I was most interested in the two being honored for their work on ‘Stop AAPI Hate’ – Cynthia Choi and Russell Jeung.
Prior to tipoff, fans enjoyed a performance by Dancel’s Taekwondo, a martial arts academy based in San Bruno that caters to both kids and adults in the areas of hi-energy drills, hand-eye coordinating and listening drills, building and conditioning.
Interestingly enough, I recognized the background to be from Marvel’s Shang-Chi.
The national anthem was performed by the Crystal Youth Choir, an organization focused on vocal musical education for children. It has over 1,000 members at locations in Cupertino, Fremont, Foster City, and San Jose.
The Warriors honored Cynthia Choi, Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action/CAA, and Russell Jeung, Professor at San Francisco State University, as Impact Warriors at the end of the second quarter:
- Last year, Choi and Jeung cofounded Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
- The Impact Warrior initiative was developed to recognize the essential everyday leadership of people in the Bay Area who are working to make their communities a better place.
- Cynthia Choi – co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, a community based civil rights organization committed to protecting the dignity and fair treatment of all immigrants and fulfilling the promise of a multi-racial democracy. Cynthia is also co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition addressing anti-Asian racism across the U.S. Cynthia has over 30 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector and over 20 years serving in leadership positions. She has led local, state and national community based organizations and initiatives working on a range of issues from reproductive justice, gender violence, violence prevention, immigrant/refugee rights and environmental justice issues. She is a daughter of immigrants, raising three daughters of her own and is deeply committed to creating a world that is socially just. Cynthia was recently named to the TIME100 List of Most Influential People in 2021, along with Stop AAPI Hate cofounders. She has been featured in The Washington Post, Associated Press, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, BBC, CNN, NPR, USA Today, and other major news outlets.
- Russel Jeung – Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, Dr. Russell Jeung is an author of books and articles on race and religion. He’s published five books, including Family Sacrifices: The Worldviews and Ethics of Chinese Americans (Oxford U Press, 2019); Mountain Movers: Student Activism and the Emergence of Asian American Studies (UCLA AAS Center, 2019); and At Home in Exile: Finding Jesus Among My Ancestors and Refugee Neighbors (Zondervan, 2016). In March 2020, Dr. Jeung co-founded Stop AAPI Hate with Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. It tracks incidents of COVID-19 discrimination to develop policy interventions and long-term solutions to racism. Stop AAPI Hate was awarded the 2021 Webby Award for “Social Movement of the Year.” TIME magazine named Dr. Jeung as one of the top 100 Influential Persons of 2021.
Before Choi and Jeung were honored, I was able to ask them briefly a few questions. Choi and Jeung had reminded me that the Golden State Warriors had partnered with ‘Stop AAPI Hate’ and had released a video and press release (spotlighting organizations to provide immediate support to the local Asian community) in support of their efforts. They only found out a few weeks ago that they were being honored.
I’m glad I was able to attend this event honoring both Choi and Jeung for their important work. Without their efforts, anti-Asian hate acts and crimes would most likely be underreported and unrecognized at the local and national level.