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Expressing our immigration stories

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Expressing our immigration stories

After several weeks of assembling all the elements of the magazine together, the MIT AAI released the digital copy of the zine and printed 200 physical copies to ship nationwide to members in the community. The distribution of physical copies was part of MIT AAI’s fundraising initiative for the Navajo and Hopi COVID-19 Relief Fund. The MIT AAI was able to raise $270 for the fund as a result of the generous contributions from the community.
Although the zine highlights the value in embracing immigration roots, the MIT AAI also recognizes the importance to confront the settler-colonial history of the country, where many individuals live and benefit off of land that belonged to Indigenous people. “Indigenous communities, such as the Navajo Nation, have had the highest rates of Covid-19 in the United States,” says Chandler. “Systemic racism, manifesting itself through food deserts, inequitable health care, lack of federal funding, poor access to running water, among other reasons, has caused Indigenous people to suffer disproportionately at the hands of this pandemic.”
Members of MIT AAI hope the zine serves as a vehicle to reflect and appreciate the wealth of immigrant experiences that the MIT community possesses. Yu Jing Chen, founding member of MIT AAI and a junior in urban studies and planning, wants the zine to be a stark reminder of the importance of reflection and remembering one’s own familial history. “In America, it’s very easy to feel like you need to be a certain way to assimilate to be accepted, and we really want to instill that pride in being different and reconnecting with an integral part of each and every one of us,” says Chen.
“Reading the submissions, you learn so much about your peers and it’s really beautiful to see how everyone comes from such different places, but we’re all here in this place called MIT. It’s heartwarming,” adds Chandler.
The MIT Asian American Initiative is a new student-run organization for Asian American advocacy, alliance, and civic engagement. The group serves as a platform to explore, unpack, and educate students on issues within the Asian American community at MIT and beyond related to mental health, race, equity, and inclusion of Asian Americans.

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