May 1st marked the start of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This annual celebration recognizes the cultural contributions and achievements of individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States. Direct Agents has compiled a list of ways we can show our support and appreciation.
AAPI Business to Support
- Alaya Tea: an Indian, women-owned tea company. Their name comes from “Himalaya,” a region where some of the finest teas grow and thus, inspired our founders Esha Chhabra and Smita Satiani to build a tea company.
- Amy Zhang: a Denver-based illustration studio specializing in pretty, witty greetings and gifts.
- Tuk Tuk Box: a mission-driven specialty food brand offering curated Southeast Asian boxes and products. They partner with vetted small business owners and local farmers to share carefully crafted ingredients and recipes from our own community.
- Poketo: A lifestyle brand born out of the desire to infuse art and design into every day, Poketo creates collections of design-conscious goods to cultivate a creative lifestyle. Founded in 2003 by husband-and-wife team Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung, Poketo has grown from a small startup into a creative hub and online destination.
- The Sill: Eliza Blank founded The Sill in 2012. Passionate about plants, she wanted to help demystify them, make them accessible to non-horticulturists and elevate the experience beyond the local garden supply center.
Where to Eat (in New York City)
- Sin Kee: Chef Richard Chan’s 21st century spin on his homeland’s cuisine in Singapore. Sin Kee seeks to create that same happy place Chef Chan experienced as a boy in Singapore for everyone right here in New York City.
- Adda: the new restaurant from critically acclaimed artisanal Indian restaurant Rahi owner Roni Mazumdar and Executive Chef Chintan Pandya, serving “unapologetically” authentic Indian food.
- Em Vietnamese Kitchen: Chef Ly Nguyen’s menu includes comfort food drawing from the flavors of her childhood and dinner tapas inspired by nights on the town in bustling Saigon, Vietnam.
- Noreetuh: a modern Hawaiian restaurant located at 128 First Avenue in the East Village of New York City by Chef/Co-Owner Chung Chow.
- Kopitiam: serves as a daily gathering space introducing visitors to Nyonya cuisine, primarily a hybrid of Chinese and Malay flavors drawing ingredients and techniques from both cultures. The goal of chef/owner and James Beard Semifinalist Kyo Pang, a third-generation Nyonya, is to continue carrying forward Pang’s family’s recipes in New York City and preserve the fading tradition of cooking dishes the way her ancestors did.
- 886: Opened in 2018, Eight Eight Six is a concept by Eric Sze and Andy Chuang that aims to fuse their Taiwanese upbringing with American modernization.
- PURE Thai Cookhouse: a genuine Thai shophouse-style restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen that features homemade noodles from a prized family recipe. PURE specializes in signature dishes you would find from the many vendors and shophouses from the farmlands of Phayao, in the North to the floating markets of Ratchaburi in Central Thailand, to the oceans and fishing villages of Krabi in the South.
Where to Donate
- The Asian American Foundation: serving the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in their pursuit of belonging and prosperity that is free from discrimination, slander, and violence.
- Stop AAPI Hate: a coalition that tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States with a mission to advance equity, justice and power by dismantling systemic racism and building a multiracial movement to end anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate.
- The Very Asian Foundation: committed to amplifying diverse AAPI voices through education, storytelling, and community connection.
- Empowering Pacific Islander Communities: a pro-Black, pro-Indigenous, and anti-racist national organization based in Los Angeles that was established in 2009 to advance social justice through culture-centered advocacy, leadership development, and research.
- Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP): provides services to survivors of domestic violence in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. They are an organization that was founded in 1996 by survivors and continues to be survivor-led and driven.
- Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC): provides direct support to Asian and Pacific Islander (API) prisoners and raises awareness about the growing number of APIs being imprisoned, detained, and deported.
- Asian American Feminist Collective (AAFC): a grassroots racial and gender justice group based in New York City engaging in intersectional feminist politics grounded within our diasporic communities. They work to interrogate and dismantle systems of racism, imperialism, patriarchy, and capitalism and are deeply invested in abolition, queer liberation, cross-racial solidarity, and collective joy.
- Taiwanese American Citizens League (TACL): has a mission to enhance the quality of life for Taiwanese Americans. Their work is largely devoted to Leadership, Identity, Networking, and Citizenship.
- Asian Mental Health Collective: aspires to make mental health easily available, approachable, and accessible to Asian communities worldwide.
- Welcome to Chinatown: a nonprofit organization amplifying and addressing the critical needs of our community and its entrepreneurs.
Who Inspires Us
- Larry Itliong: a Filipino American labor leader who organized West Coast farmworkers, starting in the 1930s.
- Cecilia Chung: a civil rights leader and activist for LGBTQIA+ rights, HIV/AIDS awareness, health advocacy, and social justice.
- Kamala Harris: the first Asian American Vice President of the United States.
- Yuri Kochiyama: a Japanese American activist whose political awakenings came while incarcerated in the concentration camps of World War II America and committed her life to social justice and liberation movements.
- Haunani-Kay Trask: a Hawaiian activist, educator, author, and poet who served as the leader of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.
What to Watch
- Turning Red: Young actress Rosalie Chiang lends her voice to Mei Lee, a 13-year-old who suddenly “poofs” into a giant red panda when she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS). Sandra Oh voices Mei Lee’s protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming, who is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager. Directed by Domee Shi.
- Everything, Everywhere, All at Once: Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as Daniels, the film is a hilarious and big-hearted sci-fi action-adventure about an exhausted Chinese American woman (Michelle Yeoh) who can’t seem to finish her taxes.
- Finding Ohana: On Oʻahu for the summer, two siblings from Brooklyn connect with their Hawaiian heritage — and their family — on a daring quest for long-lost treasure.
- Minari: Written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.