On Sunday March 12th Duck Duck Books and Jezuba worked together to celebrate the publication of The Ugly Dumplings with fun activities like dumpling and scallion pancake making, art and story time. These activities took place at the Village Square Branch Library in San Jose. It was offered at no cost to the community.
The guests at the event could take part in many activities including reading the newly published book The Ugly Dumplings. The club Duck Duck Books was founded in 2021 by Lavender Chen. Duck Duck Books’ mission is to write children’s books that teach valuable lessons and also to provide free books to those who may not have access to them. The book itself teaches kids that no matter how something looks on the outside, it is really what is on the inside that matters. This idea is demonstrated through a metaphor using dumplings. No matter how ugly a dumpling looks, in the end it will taste just as delicious as the better-looking dumplings. Guests of all ages took part in the activities throughout the day, including a story time read by volunteers.
The experience was fun and informative that people of all ages enjoyed. I liked remembering how to make dumplings and learning for the first time how to make a scallion pancake. Eating my work was even more rewarding! I look forward to seeing what else Duck Duck Books publishes.
(Gareth Cartier, right, Tej Nadkarni, left, reading The Ugly Dumplings during story time.)
The past few years have proven the importance of knowledge as we learned to overcome the hardships presented by COVID-19, the rise in Anti-Asian violence, ongoing mental health struggles, and more. We can only heal the scars when we educate ourselves, acknowledge our past, and focus on the future.
As we are transitioning to a new normal, Jezuba hopes to create new opportunities for the communities to grow through virtual and live events. Back in 2021, we hosted “Asian American Voices,” a series aimed to bring the APPI community closer as we braced ourselves for the targeted hate and violence. In our first session, Edward Tepporn, Executive Director at Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, gave the audience a great presentation on the history and significance of Angel Island. In May 2022, we celebrated AAPI Heritage Month by providing 300 hot lunches to the senior citizens of Oakland, Chinatown.
We are now happy to announce that we are partnering with MJAA for a guided tour to Angel Island, where we will learn about our Asian American roots and heritage. Join us on Saturday, November 12th as we continue our journey of uniting the community together.
In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Jezuba provided 300 hot lunches to the senior citizens of Oakland Chinatown. After a year-long delay due to COVID-19 pandemic, our volunteers hosted the VIP Hospitality Station on Saturday May 14, 2022 providing lunches, snacks, and Jezuba shop item raffle.
Even though our lives have been slowly transitioning to a new normal, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact many people, both directly and indirectly. Part of our goal is making sure that groups disproportionately impacted by the pandemic have access to the assistance and resources that they need to thrive. We hope that by helping the senior citizens of Oakland Chinatown through free lunches, we are doing our part to accomplish this goal.
It is a great feeling to give back and be part of Oakland Chinatown Community in partnership with Lincoln Square Park and AYPAL.
Join us Saturday May 14th to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with hot meals to Senior Citizens in Oakland Chinatown!
If you can afford it, please donate. We love you support and continue giving forward.
There has been lots written about the power of mentorship, and the Braven 2022 Job Report provide detailed tangible impact. I signed up to be a leadership coach with Braven with the mindset of how I would pay it forward and impact the next generation. However, to my pleasant surprise, I gained so much more.
By practicing empathy and being open-minded to people from different backgrounds, I learned to listen and provide personalized support to my mentees, who are at different stages in their lives with very different experiences from mine. Often, it was the simple personal gesture of sharing our life experiences, providing insights and perspectives, and challenging each other to think more globally.
In practicing service leadership, I experienced personal growth, gained confidence and calm purposefulness. I realized how I can positively influence a young person's life by being my authentic self.
Braven has given me a chance to pay forward and help ensure future leaders emerge from everywhere and be empowered to excel anywhere.
Founder & Director, Jezuba
We would like to thank Proposition Chicken for selecting Jezuba as their Non-Profit Monday partner of January 2022!
On the 19th of July, Jezuba hosted the final part of our Asian American Voices series. At this webinar, we were delighted to have Annette Choy, author of A Wrongful Eye, present to the audience about her work on the US criminal justice system. Through this presentation, she was able to detail the process that she used to write her book, the harsh realities of the criminal justice system that she drew upon for her book’s content, as well as the significance of her book in our daily lives when dealing with bias and discrimination.
Choy wrote the book over the course of a year. In the process of writing the book, she researched many historical examples of wrongful convictions and interviewed many people involved with them. Through this process, she realized that she had many misconceptions about incarcerated people. And in realizing this bias, she began to increase her understanding of the ingrained biases within our thought processes, and how those distortions can show up in the criminal justice system.
According to Choy, there are two systems of thinking: there is unconscious thought, where biases can show up because we’re not thinking through a situation, and there is rational thought, where we can think through these biases and counter them. It is important to keep in mind that we can always keep our biases from controlling our behavior. However, she argues, if these biases are not kept in check, they can lead to us developing a sense of “other,” where someone who does not belong to a certain group such as one’s race, class, or ethnicity is viewed as an “other” and is therefore more likely to be the target of unjust convictions and incarcerations.
Choy states that in the past 30 years there have been over 2000 exonerations for reasons such as misidentification, wrong application of science, false confessions, and the use of informants, during the investigations and trials. As examples, bite mark evidence and bloodstain-pattern analysis have been used to wrongfully convict people. “Experts” analyze these types of evidence to convince a jury of a person’s guilt, when in reality this evidence is very unreliable. In her book, Choy describes in great detail various examples of how these flawed and even criminal techniques used by police and prosecutors have wrongfully convicted the innocent. It is likely that bias is a large factor in who is targeted with these techniques and who is convicted.
After Choy’s initial presentation, she had a dialogue with the audience, where Choy answered many questions about her book writing process, what she learned from writing A Wrongful Eye, as well as her thoughts on bias and other issues within the criminal justice system. She was asked if she thought structural changes should be made to the criminal justice system that help counter unconscious bias, such as not letting juries see defendants or know what race or gender they are. Annette responded that she thought the most important change was getting people to recognize and overcome their own biases.
We are grateful to Annette Choy for taking time out of her day to have this discussion with us, and thank all those who attended our Asian American Voices sessions. We hope that everyone was able to take something out of the discussions that we hosted and learn more about how the justice system is far from being fair and unbiased.
As a future program, Jezuba is looking forward to hosting an in-person event in collaboration with other non-profits such as Good Good Eatz in October. Jezuba is raising funds to buy meals from local Oakland small businesses for elderly and unserved communities in Oakland.
We hope you will support our goal and join us in the celebration
To continue the discussion of Asian American and Pacific Islander contemporary issues and social justice, Jezuba hosted the second part of the Asian American Voices series on May 8th. We brought together three licensed professional clinical counselors and therapists to discuss their experiences as AAPI community members, highlighting their struggles and their advice for how to tackle issues such as discrimination. The stories that were shared and the suggestions that were given by the panelists and the audience created a genuine discussion.
The three panelists, Rebekah Hsieh, Cherry Aslarona, and Genevive Julien, all had heartfelt stories to tell about how they have navigated through the various expectations and stereotypes that have been thrust upon them, either from outside influences or from their fellow AAPI family members and friends. From these stories, a dialogue was held with the audience about strategies relating to the AAPI experience and coping with the current rise in anti-Asian American sentiments.
The key advice shared was to give yourself permission to feel. Make sure to express yourself if you feel hurt by what someone says or did. And make sure to feel empathy, not only for others’ experiences, but also for others’ lack of experience. Be open-minded towards others, and make sure to reach out for support because you are not alone.
The seminar ended with a Q&A session together with the audience, where the panelists answered the many insightful questions that were asked by audience members. One question asked was, “What would you tell your younger self to do?”, which elicited an extremely meaningful response: Be your authentic self, be proud of your heritage, and do not change it to fit in with others. This message is perhaps the most important one that was taken away from this seminar.
At Jezuba, we extend our warmest gratitude towards Rebekah, Cherry and Genevive for taking time out of their day to share their stories and advice and create some incredible dialogue with the audience members.
Please see the resources and ways to stay connected with the community:
California Peer-Run Warm Line, Based in San Francisco for
emotional support: 855-845-7415
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-TALK
Our panelist, Rebekah Hsieh, licensed professional clinical counselor, is open to
taking on new clients at her private practice, Day One Counseling, LLC. Please
reach out directly to Rebekah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Database for AAPI Mental health providers in all states:
National Alliance on Mental Illness article on mental health
National Queer API alliance
Oakland helping elderly individuals with chaperones
Please consider supporting Fund a Lunch [http://bit.ly/fund-a-lunch]. Jezuba and GoodGoodEatz are collaborating to support small businesses in Oakland Chinatown with yummy food for our Asian American elders and underserved community.
Join us on Saturday May 8th for a discussion on how to care for each other during these times of COVID isolation and rise in anti-Asian hate. On our panel, we will have professional licensed counselors and therapists who will share their advice and frame our perspective during these difficult times. Our mental health is important, and caring for each other helps all of us cope and build a stronger community. Please share our May 8th event with your network, and RSVP [here].
Over the past year and a half, attacks on Asian Americans have drastically risen. According to NBC News, there were over 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents in March 2020 to February 28, 2021, most of which were against elderly Asian people. Many of these attacks have been fueled by hateful rhetoric, particularly regarding the coronavirus, from individuals such as our last president, calling the virus a “Chinese virus” and “kung flu.” To address this growing hate, Jezuba decided to host an Asian American Voices series, not only to bring awareness to contemporary issues faced by AAPI individuals but also to teach about the history of discrimination against Asian people within the United States.