The APAHM Conversations

Kicking off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with a new series, a new tag, and big ambitions.

Hello there!

Welcome back to all of our returning readers and high fives to everyone here for the first time, thank you so much! Also — Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!

It was just about a year ago when I stepped out of the reclamation phase of my identity journey and into the acceptance phase. More specifically, I found true self-acceptance for the very first time and I haven’t looked back since.

I was the emcee for an Asian American night market event in NYC. It was the first time I’d done this type of event. It was also the first time I’d been in a room with so. many. Asian. people. It was a profound feeling, and as the night got going, I could feel the energy in my soul starting to shift.

About 30 minutes in I gathered everyone around to introduce the event. I started by sharing very briefly my journey to that point: Korean American adoptee, rejected my identity for a long time, now I’m here. As I was sharing my story, staring out at a sea of Asian faces, something happened.

The shame and self-loathing I’d felt about being Asian for the past 30 years leave my body.

Literally, mid-sentence, I felt that weight shed off of me and dissipate. In that moment, I entered into acceptance.

Until I share with someone, they have no idea about my background: that I prayed to be white when I was 10, that I actively refused to engage with Asian anything, that I can’t speak Korean, that for so long I didn’t know what it meant to be Asian and I didn’t want to. They just see another Asian person.

But believe me when I tell you last May I found what I’d spent my entire life thinking I didn’t need to find: myself.

The shift from self-loathing to self-love was so profound that I made it the crux of my story and how I tell it: from rejection to reclamation to acceptance. And over the past year, I’ve found new tiers of acceptance I didn’t realize I was going to need to find, either.

As I approach the one year anniversary of this revelation, I’m more happy than I’ve ever been. I’m also more motivated.

That’s what The APAHM Conversations Series is — a realization of that motivation.

That’s what this shift in focus is.

And I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Thank you all so much for being here with me, for joining me on my journey, and for sharing yours with me. It’s a privilege and an honor to receive, and it’s humbling to be in community with you.

Let’s keep it going ⭐️


This week on Conversation Piece…

The APAHM Conversations kick off with Liz Kleinrock! Liz and Patrick discuss the significance of developing relationships beyond the work, the importance of knowing our underlying why, and how we can build coalitions and relationships across communities.

I think there’s power in being able to name what you’re doing. When I talk about inclusivity in the Asian American community, it reminds me that I have to hold myself accountable and be really mindful of making sure that I’m also amplifying and elevating South Asian, Southeast Asian, Western [and] Central Asian people, because we know the bias immediately goes towards China, Japan, Korea.

We have to be aware of that.

Liz Kleinrock

Meet Liz
Liz Kleinrock (she/her) is a Korean-American transracial adoptee, queer, Jewish, antibias and antiracist educator, facilitator, and author. In 2018, Liz received the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2019 delivered her TED Talk, “How to teach kids to talk about taboo topics." In the spring of 2021, Liz released her first book, Start Here, Start Now: A Guide to Antibias and Antiracist Work in Your School Community with Heinemann Publishing, and is excited to announce the publication of four upcoming children's books with HarperCollins. She currently resides in Washington DC with her partner, two bunnies, and cat.

Connect with Liz on Instagram.

Learn more about Liz (and preorder Come and Join Us!):

Coming up next…

The APAHM Conversations continue *THIS WEDNESDAY* with special guest Marguerite Jay!

Don’t miss an episode! Make sure to follow us on Instagram, YouTube, and wherever you get your podcasts!

What else is going on…

  • I’ll be in NYC for The Asian American Foundation’s (TAAF) Summit. I was nominated for their Heritage Heroes award and was invited to attend. I’m excited to meet with other nominees and the myriad incredible folks in our community who will be in attendance. If you’re in NYC and you want to connect, I’ll be there from Thursday til Sunday. Hit me up! (Patrick)

  • Hoping to be able to announce some partners / sponsors for the show / series! Stay tuned!

Final thoughts

This is it, the culmination of a lot of hard work between March and April, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

The hope and goal of this series is to show folks that these conversations are important and that we need to be talking about so much more in the conversations we’re already having. The validation, the experience of seeing and hearing folks with different lived experiences than our own, is powerful, and I will pursue this opportunity with all I have.

For those who have been following, remember:

  • The APAHM Conversations episodes drop every Monday and Wednesday this month!

  • The newsletter is now weekly! Expect that in your inbox every Monday.

  • After May, Conversation Piece will be weekly, with new episodes dropping on Mondays as well!

I appreciate you all - thanks for being here with me 💙


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