Dear AAJA Family,
Yesterday, we concluded #AAJA21, our second fully virtual convention. I hope that #AAJA21 was not just another thing to add to your schedule, but has given you much needed moments to pause and be in camaraderie and community with one another.
It’s hard to comprehend— an exercise I think many of us go through daily— just how much the world has changed and keeps changing since March of 2020. But through it all, we have had journalists asking the important questions, holding us through tremendously hard moments, and holding each other together.
As Sara Kehaulani Goo asserted, “How do we build the newsroom we’ve deserved all along?”
As Sewell Chan asked during our plenary about journalism’s role, “Will it be enough to save democracy?”
I am so proud that together with the board, we’ve built a mission-oriented team. “Is it enough?” is something we at AAJA HQ grapple with every day, and the resounding answer from AAJA Family is, we will make it be more than enough, because together, and as AAJA family, we are infinitely more than the sum of our parts. Across generations and at our diverse intersections, we continue to share wisdom, hope, and learnings, and we keep moving forward.
Because together, and as AAJA family, we are infinitely more than the sum of our parts. Please join us as we continue to build power and influence on behalf of our AAPI journalists and storytellers, and on behalf of our AAPI communities.
Forty years of AAJA. We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go. As long as newsrooms stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the implications of decades of racism, and as long as leaders maintain workplaces where journalists of color do not feel they can show up as their full selves, we still have a mission that is as relevant as it was in 1981, a mission to fulfill.
That’s why we keep taking ambitious projects, not quite sure if we’ll succeed, not quite sure if we’re ready, but that’s the moment we’re in— it’s time to take voice, to take risks, to take up space. As Renee Tajima-Peña told us about Vincent Chin’s murder sparking a movement, no one was ready or expecting it, EXCEPT FOR US. We know our power. We know our voice. We are proud to use it.
We are so thankful to our Presenting Sponsor— WarnerMedia News and Sports— for their continued support over the years.
Naomi Tacuyan Underwood
Executive Director, Asian American Journalists Association