Gonzaga Basketball Players Kayleigh and Kaylynne Truong land Endorsement Deals and fight Stereotypes

Photo credit: Gonzaga University

Before reading this article about Gonzaga Basketball Players Kayleigh and Kaylynne Truong, I had no idea about any Asian American women college basketball players, much less any who were Division I players much less twins. I also didn’t know about The Sideline Post, which is a platform for college athletes to tell their own stories. Given my ignorance, it was great to hear about these twins signing a number of endorsement deals, one with Degree (the deodorant manufacturer) for their Breaking Limits campaign and another with Timo, an online bank in Vietnam.

The deal with Degree is a Name Image License (NIL) agreement, which college athletes were recently allowed to make. Degree’s campaign is focused on helping developing athletes overcoming obstacles to achieve success. Kayleigh wrote about the challenges she and her sister have faced in this article for the Sideline Post.  She talks about the stereotypes they faced about Asian American athletes and how some people could not believe that they were aiming toward playing D1 ball, often assuming D2 was the best that they could do.  She also talks about often seeing her sister as the only other Asian American on the court. The twins say that they didn’t take the NIL just for the money but to be more widely present as role models for Asian American female athletes.

What is impressive is that Kayleigh and Kaylynne didn’t just make their team but are signficant contributors.  Kayleight was a starting point guard and was First Team All-WCC conference.  Kaylynne was on the WCC all-Tournament team and was the MVP of another tournament. In 2022, Gonzaga won the WCC Tournament and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The twins were invited to play for Vietnam in the South East Asia games this past spring.  They describe their experiences in this clip.  I found it it interesting how much the international game is different, along with the differences playing 3×3 vs the American collegiate game.

Kayleigh and Kaylynne are rising seniors, and next year will be their last at Gonzaga.  You can follow the twins on twitter at @Twinballerz. The Sideline Post was founded by another Asian American college basketball player, Kayla Padilla and has other stories written by Asian American athletes.

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Pandemic Generates Discrimination against Asian American AirBnB Hosts

A recent study from from Harvard Business School concludes that the pandemic generated a 12% reduction in bookings for AirBnb hosts with distinctly Asian names compared to those with distinctly White names.  While the pandemic negatively affected all AirBnb hosts, Black and Hispanic hosts did not seem the same drop.  In a way, this shouldn’t be surprising, given previous studies that show how names can to enable action based on prejudices and stereotypes.

To deal with the problem, the study’s author suggest eliminating pictures and names of hosts before booking, only making these appear after booking, similar to how guests pictures only appear to hosts after booking.  AirBnB is says that it is looking at the study and points out that not all Asian American hosts have distinctly Asian names.  AirBnB also points out that the study had a small sample size – looking at 900 hosts in New York City.

The latest version of the working paper, called Scapegoating and Discrimination in Times of Crisis: Evidence from Airbnb, is available here. AirBnB launched Project Lighthouse in 2020 to deal with discrimination.

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Representatives Judy Chu & Grace Meng of ASPIRE PAC Visit SF

Grace Meng and Judy Chu

Representatives Judy Chu and Grace Meng – courtesy of 8Asians

A few weeks ago, I had learned of a fundraiser in San Francisco for the ASPIRE PAC , which I had not heard of before:

ASPIRE PAC is the political arm of Asian American and Pacific Islander Members of Congress. ASPIRE PAC stands for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Rising & Empowering PAC.

ASPIRE PAC is focused on supporting candidates of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent and those that support and promote the issues of the AAPI community. ASPIRE PAC offers a voice for the AAPI community and encourages active participation in the U.S. political process.

ASPIRE PAC is chaired by Congresswoman Grace Meng, and was launched in 2011 by Congresswoman Judy Chu. We welcomed two new AAPI Members in 2020. Kaialiʻi Kahele, who is the is the second Native Hawaiian since statehood to be elected to represent Hawai‘i in Congress. Marilyn Strickland, who is the first Korean American Congresswoman and the first Black Congress member from Washington.

I’ve been blogging for 8Asians since January 2007 and my particular niche (although not limited to) has been politics, so I was surprised to only learn of this PAC recently. ASPIRE PAC had been primarily focused in the Washington, D.C. area, which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. But I’m glad ASPIRE PAC is starting to expand geographically to engage potential and actual donors. Since the minimum donation was $100 to attend the fundraiser, this was a no-brainer for me and a friend of mine to attend to learn more.

Representatives Judy Chu and Grace Meng, both whom I’ve met before, expressed the need to support ASPIRE PAC to support AAPI members in Congress, AAPI candidates, and other members who have been key advocates for our community.

Other Asian American Politcal Action Committees I have heard of include:

  • AAPI Victory Fund – “the first Super PAC of its kind – is focused on mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) eligible voters and moving them to the ballot box.”
  • 80-20 Initiative – “dedicated to winning equal opportunity and justice for all Asian Americans through a SWING bloc vote, ideally directing 80% of our community’s votes and money to the presidential candidate endorsed by the 80-20, who better represents the interests of all APAs. Hence, the name “80-20” was created.”
  • Asian American Forward – “committed to supporting and furthering the presence of Asian Americans in American politics.”
  • Asian Americans Rising – “Our goals focus on three areas: 1. Building a pipeline of change makers 2. Pioneering what’s possible ​​3. Creating meaningful engagement”

Personally, I would like to see the reduction of the influence in money in the U.S. political system, not more. But until changes can be implemented for campaign finance reform like spending limits, public funding of campaigns, or other solutions, I’m for certainly getting more Asian Americans politically and civically involved and in elected office.



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Easter Sunday movie gets Jo koy the key to Daly City

Jo Koy’s upcoming movie “Easter Sunday” has earned him the key to Daly City in a ceremony on July 22, 2022. The Bay Area city known for its large Filipino American population is the setting for the movie.

Easter Sunday is schedule to be released widely on August 5.  Here is a trailer below in case you haven’t seen it.

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2022 Asian American Voter Survey (AAVS) Findings

Since I cover politics as my particular niche for 8Asians, I’m always interested when the latest Asian American Voter Survey comes out. Thus I was eager to see this years would say, as the latest survey was released recently. Here are some  selected findings that I found the most interesting.

As you can see from above, it’s no surprise that Asian Americans overall, are considerably more Democratic than Republican. Those who are independent, lean more Democratic than Republican:

What’s also not surprising is that Vietnamese Americans are the most poltically Republican.

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Andrew Yang Announces Merger with Two Other Political Parties to re-establish the Forward Party

On Wednesday, July 27th, Forward Party founder Andrew Yang announced something interesting – the merger of three third party political parties into one, under the brand of the Forward Party:

“Today, I have some incredibly exciting news: The Forward Party is merging with two phenomenal organizations—the Serve America Movement (SAM) and the Renew America Movement (RAM)!  The new Forward Party will immediately be the biggest third party in the country by resources at the time you read this.

That’s right—the new Forward Party is now the biggest third party in the country!  Our reach will expand very quickly.  We are already on the ballot in several states with a goal of 15 states by the end of this year, twice that number in ’23 and all 50 in ‘24.

I now have amazing new colleagues who have been working their hearts out to put our country on a better path for years.  One of them is David Jolly, a former Member of Congress from Florida who has been leading SAM.  Another is Miles Taylor, formerly known as Anonymous, who has been leading RAM.  Former NJ Governor and Cabinet member Christie Todd Whitman (a Republican who endorsed Joe Biden in 2020), former Congressman Joe Sestak, Reverend Ira Acree of Chicago, and many others are part of the Leadership Circle, with many more on the way. “

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Public Service Announcement: Asian American Gothic

asian american male and female couple posing like American gothic paintingThis public service announcement, created by director Brian G. Cheung and production company Only Today puts expresses a simple message: Asian Americans are Americans. This is in response to the ongoing trend of anti-Asian attacks, and in particular to the attack on a man and his 5 year old daughter in Portland Oregon. The daughter of Vicha Ratanapakdee, who was murdered in San Francisco, is shown in the PSA holding his picture.

The Asian American couple at the start has been posed to resemble the couple in the classic American painting American Gothic by Grant Wood.

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Asian American Medical Hazard: Pulse Oximeter Readings

Reuters, NPR, and other news outlets report that  African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians receive less supplemental oxygen when hospitalized because of a problem with a common medical instrument, the pulse oximeter. This instrument clips onto a finger, as shown in the picture to the left, and uses light to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood.  That data is used to determine whether supplemental oxygen is necessary. Doctor and Researcher A. Ian Wong talks about the real life implications of this in his own experience with treating COVID-19 patients.

For its part, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned that given the knowledge that skin pigmentation and other factors like using nail polish can affect pulse oximeter readings, those readings should be considered an estimate and that data trends rather than absolute readings should be used.  Pulse oximeters were created in the 1970s and tested on mostly white populations. The FDA is also planning to convene a meeting later this year of its Medical Device Advisory committee to look into these issues and make further recommendations.

Some studies like this one (although a preprint not yet peer-reviewed) do not find much of an accuracy difference between Asian pulse oximeter readings and that for whites but do find a black/white difference.  I would venture that since “Asian” as a category encompasses a huge range of skin tones (ranging from pale K-Pop stars to Mindy Kaling), some “Asian” samples in studies might not encompass that variety.

(photo credit:  Nenad Stojkovic by CC by 2.0)

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Asian American Commercial Watch: ConEdison

If you live in the NYC and Westchester area, you might come across this Con Edison television commercial:

Con Edison is tripling our investments in energy efficiency programs for the businesses and homes that power New York. From swapping out appliances to cleaner heating and cooling, making a simple switch has an effect on your savings, home, and everyone’s future. To learn more about our programs, and what energy efficiency means for your home or business, visit:


This commercial stars actor Lawrence Wong.


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Ms Marvel Episode 6 Review: No Normal (Major Spoilers)

Ms Marvel wrapped up its initial season with it’s finale, episode six titled No Normal. Here is my final episode and season review. Overall I loved the series but thought that the finale was a mixed bag.  Major spoilers below.

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Michelle Kwan Inducted into U.S.Olympic Hall of Fame & Confirmed Ambassadorship

I’ve been behind on my blogging, but I definitely wanted to catch up with the recent news that on June 24th, Michelle Kwan was officially inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame, Class of 2022:

  • Michelle Kwan (figure skating – 1994 (alternate), 1998, 2002): As the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, Michelle is a two-time Olympic medalist, five-time world champion and nine-time world championship medalist. She competed at the senior level for over a decade during the most competitive era of women’s figure skating and was the U.S. women’s champion nine times.

I remember seeing Kwan live at the 2002 Salt Lake City winter Olympics and being mesmerized. To think I would have the opportunity to meet Kwan in person three times (at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in San Francisco, a fundraiser for Vivek Viswanathan for California State Treasurer in San Francisco, and the kickoff event for AAPIs for Biden in Las Vegas) has been kind of amazing!

Additionaly, back in May, Kwan had her Senate confirmation hearing for Ambassador to Belize (her nomination was announced back in December 2021):

As a Taiwanese American, it was interesting to hear Kwan discuss the strong ties between Belize & Taiwan (as Belize is one of the few countries in the world that diplomatically recognizes the Republic of China over the People’s Republic of China).

It’s been quite a 2022 for Kwan, first with having her baby daughter in January, her induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, and her ambassadorship confirmation!

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Ms Marvel Episode 5 Review: Time and Again (Major Spoilers)

The Wife and I anxiously awaited  Ms Marvel episode 5 and found most of it enthralling and even informative.  Overall I thought it was worth watching, althoughI thought that this episode had some problems in my opinion. Major spoilers to follow after the jump.

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