March 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter Index
Editor's Message Events Getting to Know About Hate Crimes, Ourselves, and Others: Part 1 An Interview with Priscilla Wegars on Her New Book: Polly Bemis Featured Books

Editor's Message

Hello Everyone.

I hope you’re having a good March.

It’s hard to have such greetings and not sincerely wonder how you’re all doing out there during these tough times.

If you think about it too much it could really do a number on your mind. I won’t get into details that may make your head spin with even more worries, but in doing our article on “Getting to Know About Hate Crimes, Ourselves, and Others,” Philip Chin (one of our editors) and I were both wondering what we could do to help stop these senseless attacks.

First we have a pandemic where just going to the store could make you fear for your life and now we’re observing (if not directly) rampant hatred expressed in verbal and physical attacks against the Asian American community.

Any condemnation from us is pretty useless in changing the minds of these aggressors. Anything that we write here is only preaching to people that may equally have no power to stop these crimes. 

So what can we do?

We’re going to try to address that in our articles – please read them (part 1 this month and part 2 next). If nothing else, please try to be civil, empathetic, and compassionate to everyone, even those attackers. Perhaps this is an act that could get passed forwards and in so doing, you too may receive a bit of kindness in these hard times.


If this newsletter should reach you before or on Saint Patrick’s Day, I hope you have a good one. I just learning something about Saint Patrick’s Day that I didn’t know before, they actually celebrate this holiday in parts of Asia too (check out the Wikipedia section on Saint Patrick’s Day in Asia; here’s an article on St. Patrick’s Day in Japan). 


Happy Women’s History Month!

We have a special Women’s History Month section in this month’s featured books. Check it out.

Hey, Ramadan is next month. We have a couple of Ramadan books in this month’s selection too.

For those of you that celebrate Easter, Happy Easter! 


Thank you very much Priscilla Wegars for doing an interview with us on your new book “Polly Bemis: The Life and Times of a Chinese American Pioneer."

Priscilla’s book is the perfect book to read for Women’s History Month. We encourage you to learn more about Polly Bemis. You can start by reading our interview and then getting this book.

That’s it for now.

Please stay safe, wear a mask, get a COVID inoculation, watch out for haters, and take care of others.


Leonard Chan

Executive Editor


April 7-10: The Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) Virtual Conference. If you're a student, you can register for $25. 


April 15, 10am-3pm: Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE) Virtual Summit. For more information click here.  


If you have an event that you would like us to mention and or to participate in, please feel free to let us know.

Getting to Know About Hate Crimes, Ourselves, and Others

Part 1: Why Do People Commit Hate Crimes and What Can We Do About It

By Leonard Chan and Philip Chin

The Covid-19 epidemic has done much to expose many of the fragile fault lines that already existed in America long before the disease originated. Not only has it highlighted longstanding racial and socioeconomic differences and grievances, but also just how weak many of the accepted bonds of American society today are. Among the ugliest manifestations has not only been violence against African Americans but also against Asian Americans.

All Asian American groups have suffered insults and attacks, not limited to just the Chinese American community. The sudden fall from being a cherished “model minority” to being targets of hate crimes shocked many Asian Americans out of their usual complacency.

When I watched a video of an elderly Chinese man get angrily pushed to the ground, I began to wonder if there was something more to this act than simple scapegoating. What could have possessed the perpetrator into taking such a violent act? What can we do to prevent it?

Read More

An Interview with Priscilla Wegars on Her New Book

Polly Bemis: The Life and Times of a Chinese American Pioneer

Interviewed by Leonard Chan

When the AACP newsletter went on hiatus back at the beginning of 2011, the last person I interviewed was Priscilla Wegars (Dec. 2010). I’m glad to have another chance to touch bases with her and to interview her for this article.

Dr. Wegars is founder of the University of Idaho’s Asian American Comparative Collection (AACC). She is a renowned historian, archaeologist, and author of books on the Chinese and Japanese experience in the Northwestern United States.


Thanks so much for getting back in touch with us when we restarted the AACP newsletter. We’ve been hoping to do this interview for a while now, but due to scheduling issues on our end, we were not able to do this sooner. However, I’m very glad that the timing works out to coincide with Women’s History Month. What better feature to have than to be having a discussion with one of the eminent authorities on the Chinese American pioneer Polly Bemis (written about in novels such as Ruthanne Lum McCunn’s “Thousand Pieces of Gold” and a number of other books).

Your book contains an amazing amount of information on Polly Bemis and the context in which she lived. For our readers who have no knowledge of Polly Bemis, please briefly summarize who she was.

Read More

Featured Books

View full descriptions of all these featured books at where you'll also have the opportunity to purchase them.

Children's Books

Special Women's History Month Selection

Young Adult