re:asian is a Canadian and U.S. based online/print platform that seeks to highlight the voices of Asian-identifying people living in the U.S. and Canada. Since mainstream white media has repeatedly failed to give space to Asian-created content and perspectives, we’ve created our own space, to fill with critical and political writing and art. We seek to honour our histories, cultures, and communities, but also be be critical of the issues we see within them.
We recognize the diversity of backgrounds and experiences encompassed by the label of “Asian.” We seek to open dialogue on what it means to be Asian in a society that values whiteness, and to acknowledge the multiplicity of perspectives involved. Too often, Asian-designated spaces have been dominated by East Asians, and we try to ensure that the experiences of all Asian identities – including South Asian, Southeast Asian, and West Asian folks – are validated on this platform.
We seek to understand how marginalized identities like class, caste, gender, sexuality, and disability intersect with and complicate Asian identities. We also recognize that our struggle is linked to the struggles of other marginalized groups, and are committed to working with and supporting them. re:asian serves as a collective imaginary, envisioning a society without the confines of white supremacy, colonialism, capitalism, and heteronormativity.
Ultimately, we intend re:asian to be a place where community is cultivated, where people can find others that can empathize with and validate their experiences.
re:asian’s editorial board would like to acknowledge that we are settlers on unceded and occupied Indigenous territory. By unceded, we mean the land was never surrendered to the U.S. or Canada. What we call North America is known as Turtle Island to some Indigenous groups. We would like to pay respect to the keepers of this land, and the land itself.
Members of re:asian’s editorial board are based in what we call Montreal, Vancouver, and New York City. Based on our current knowledge, the island that we call Montreal is known as Tio’tia:ke in the language of the Kanien’kehá:ka, one of the five founding Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the traditional keepers of the land. What’s known as Vancouver was founded on the traditional territories of three Coast Salish peoples: the Skxwú7mesh (Squamish), Tsleil-Waututh, and Xwméthkwyiem (Musqueam) peoples. What’s known as New York City was built on Scheyischbi or Lenapehoking, the land of the Lenni-Lenape, or Lenape, people of the Unami, Munsee, and Unalachtigo dialects.
Too often, continuing settler colonialism is thought to be perpetuated exclusively by white people. It’s crucial that we do not forget that most of us, as immigrants and those coming from immigrant backgrounds, are settlers. Our presence on this land is made possible by a history of violence and erasure of Indigenous people. Thus, it is our responsibility to critically examine and challenge colonial histories and their continuing manifestations
As settlers, we have tried to acknowledge the Indigenous peoples of the places we live in and use their correct names; however, as we continue to work on this understanding, we welcome any feedback or knowledge you may have. We are also aware that land acknowledgements are often used to pay lip service to Indigenous struggles and experiences, as an empty stand-in for actual decolonization work, and we are committed to accompanying our land acknowledgement with actual decolonial work.
I was born in Toronto, but my family is from Gujarat, and I spend most of the winter sulkily threatening to return to India. I’m still trying to figure out what being South Asian means to me, after having spent most of my childhood trying to erase any evidence that I was different from my white friends. Slowly, haltingly, and with help from my family and friends, I’m piecing together a South Asian identity – one that involves food, dance, anti-oppressive politics, and lots of discussions about body hair.
Right now I live in what’s known as Montreal, on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka land, where I study philosophy at McGill and work as the Features Editor at The McGill Daily. I’ve written for NOW Toronto, GUTS, and Chatelaine, among others. I’m thrilled to be part of the re:asian team, in such great company in the task of making Canadian and U.S. media a little less white. You can follow me on twitter at @saima_desai.
I’m a mixed race Chinese person raised in San Francisco, on colonized Ohlone land. I spend most of my time in Tio’tia:ke (also known as Montreal), on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka land, studying East Asian Studies and World Islamic & Middle East Studies at McGill and organizing for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. I write, edit, create films, and have worked as an editor at The McGill Daily. My identity in relation to being Chinese has changed a lot throughout my life (and still is changing).
I am a second-generation Filipinx womxn living on unceded Coast Salish Territory. I care about representation, and I value the impact of sharing our experiences with each other. Growing up, I instantly latched on to Asian women on screen. Sook-Yin Lee and Hannah Sung, you mean a lot to me.
I work with digital media to tell stories. My stake in re:asian is about connection. To feel connected, to connect people, and to collectively develop a media platform where we are seen and see ourselves.
I am a recent grad that lives in New York City. Being a bi-racial, multi-ethnic Japanese person living in the U.S. has greatly influenced my life. Combining acceptance and rejection in various degrees I have fought to understand myself in changing contexts.
As a creative, I have recently started exploring many mediums of visual art. In the future, my goal is to create pieces that provoke meaningful conversations between people that wouldn't have interacted otherwise.
I love reading the history and personally discovering the stories that were not taught in my high school U.S. history class. Believing there's endless beauty all our experiences, I become frustrated when stereotypes don’t allow greater society to appreciate them.