Stories

Arise! For Women, Life, Freedom

Between Mission Street and Valencia Street, in the middle of a long line of beautiful murals, a woman waits for you. With her arms lifted above her head, she holds her ponytail in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other. An Iranian flag is painted behind her but she is the focus. She looks down at the earth, her expression shaped by determination as she slices the sharp blades through her hair. Above her are the words, “Women, Life, Freedom…”

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A Mental Health Journey through the Press Play Webcomic

I first stumbled across Edward Gunawan and Elbert Lim’s exhibit, Press Play, at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC) during their annual Celebrate Asian Love Gala and Auction. The installation was a quiet retreat from the lively conversations and festivities taking place in the main room…

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“Stages of grief are stages of creation too.”

I had the privilege of joining Khamsa’s very first listening party at the Reef Studios. I arrived at the given address and was greeted by a single-paned, glass door propped open, revealing the start of a long and narrow staircase. The music studio was tucked away at the top, bursting with life. A crowd of musicians exchanged hugs and laughter while a small white dog ran between their ankles. The air smelled of pizza, and behind a table of studio equipment, a large plasma television silently played Planet Earth videos. The atmosphere was electrifying yet tender, the excitement palpable as everyone settled into their seats.

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Brave and Daring–Growing Through the Mentorship Program

I joined my scheduled Zoom meeting with Hannah Jeffers the day after my family left. It was a joyful and chaotic visit, their first since I moved to the Bay Area, and now I was filled with a medley of expected emotions: relief, sadness, gratitude. A confusing and daunting acceptance of the newfound distance between us, as their plane touched down in New York. 

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Uplifting Cambodian Voices in the Bay

My phone call with Ryan Samn opened with the busy sounds of clattering kitchenware ringing in the background.

“Sorry, I’m making dinner with my family right now,” He quickly explained. I myself was hidden in the back room of the tutoring center I work at on Thursday nights. The center was quiet, most of the students having left to return home for their own family dinners, and so I welcomed the familiar sounds of pots and pans, of running water.

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Arise! For Women, Life, Freedom

Between Mission Street and Valencia Street, in the middle of a long line of beautiful murals, a woman waits for you. With her arms lifted above her head, she holds her ponytail in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other. An Iranian flag is painted behind her but she is the focus. She looks down at the earth, her expression shaped by determination as she slices the sharp blades through her hair. Above her are the words, “Women, Life, Freedom…”

Read More »

A Mental Health Journey through the Press Play Webcomic

I first stumbled across Edward Gunawan and Elbert Lim’s exhibit, Press Play, at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC) during their annual Celebrate Asian Love Gala and Auction. The installation was a quiet retreat from the lively conversations and festivities taking place in the main room…

Read More »

“Stages of grief are stages of creation too.”

I had the privilege of joining Khamsa’s very first listening party at the Reef Studios. I arrived at the given address and was greeted by a single-paned, glass door propped open, revealing the start of a long and narrow staircase. The music studio was tucked away at the top, bursting with life. A crowd of musicians exchanged hugs and laughter while a small white dog ran between their ankles. The air smelled of pizza, and behind a table of studio equipment, a large plasma television silently played Planet Earth videos. The atmosphere was electrifying yet tender, the excitement palpable as everyone settled into their seats.

Read More »

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