September 16th Marks the First Ever “Mixed Asian Day”!
Despite mixed-Asians being one of the fastest growing demographics in the United States, there still isn’t a lot of representation regarding our multi-varied stories—let alone any sort of acknowledgment as a demographic in our own right. Thankfully, there are organizations out there like Mixed Asian Media, who will be hosting the very first Mixed Asian Day on September 16th!
Prior to this new day of celebration, there has only been one other “holiday” dedicated to mixed-Asian folks: Los Angeles’ “Hapa Day,” which I’ve covered previously. And Hapa Day was only established as recently as this past May 19th! Not only have these sorts of acknowledgments been a long time coming, they also merit using a name that doesn’t directly take from indigenous Hawaiian culture, hence why I’m so excited for Mixed Asian Day.
The celebration will take place in New York City, although they’re hoping to extend celebrations to other cities with major mixed-Asian communities, such as San Francisco. It will be an all-day event with activities such as a mental health workshop, film screenings (including a VR experience), and, of course, a party—because we deserve to party! However, MAM’s founder Alex Chester-Iwata encourages all mixed-Asians to participate however they’d like, in any way that celebrates who they are, and the accomplishments of other mixed-Asians.
In talking to Chester-Iwata, she detailed the process that led to her founding MAM—how as a child actor, she was constantly told she was either “Not Asian enough” or “not white enough” to play various roles, yet was often simply typecasted as “ambiguous.” Her decision to found MAM, alongside her friends who were also mixed, came from this lifelong frustration of carrying these experiences without having any outlet with which to speak about them. To which I say: word.
Prior to Mixed Asian Day, MAM has also hosted Mixed Asian Media Fest since 2021, which similarly allows our community to be seen and heard in an environment dedicated to us. MAM Fest wanted to spin the “oh, woe is me, I don’t belong” narrative and instead focus on the joys of being mixed—in other words, allowing us to reclaim our narratives and celebrate who we are, as we are. The inspiration behind establishing a celebratory day, in particular, came from concerns voiced by community members who felt as though they couldn’t celebrate AAPI Heritage Month.
And, indeed, this is a constant concern that does merit the inclusion of a day of our own. We’re not saying we deserve our own day more than other demographics: we’re saying that each and every marginalized demographic deserves a day of celebration, and we will do what we can to make sure our community is taken care of. As Alex put it, if there’s a “Short Girl Appreciation Day,” why shouldn’t there be a Mixed Asian Day, too?
Nobody should have to feel alone in their experiences, and our community is no exception. I’ve only found more liberation and a greater sense of self from exploring, and accepting, my mixed identity, and even though I unfortunately cannot attend this event myself, it means so much to me that it’s happening at all. I’ll be celebrating from afar, with Mitski’s new album playing all day! (And by the way, it’s a banger, but what else did we expect?)
(Featured Image: Mixed Asian Media)
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