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Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) History, Identity, and Anti-Asian Racism Resources

As shared by the PEW Research Center, “the  U.S. Asian population is a diverse one.  A record 20 million Asian Americans trace their roots to more than 20 countries in East and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, each with unique histories, cultures, languages and other characteristics.” Furthermore, the population of Asian immigrants to the U.S. grew more than any other racial or ethnic group from 2000-2015 (72% growth).  It is projected that by 2055, Asians will be the largest immigrant group to the U.S.  Asian American identity is complex and often suffers from the model minority stereotype, lumping the entire Asian diaspora together in broad categorizations that ignore the diversity of the race and the various struggles of different ethnic groups and communities.  Coupled with the current climate of anti-Asian hate and violence (NYCPD reported an 1900% spike in 2020), we can see a greater need for learning, awareness, and understanding of the vast identities within the race.  Below is only a sampling of resources to begin examining Asian American identity, including historical experiences, current perspectives, and intersectionality within the community.  To share recommendations to add, please email  -Maricor Chang


Teaching for Justice

FACEismMission: Expose our often ignored history, erase stereotyping and move towards a better understanding of each other. 

Specific videos of interest for group or class discussions:

FACEism: A Panel Discussion of History and Accountability (recommended program for reflection on the National Day of Remembrance) - National Museum of American History. February 19, 2021

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago

  • Support the TEAACH Act in Illinois

    • The TEAACH Act will amend the Illinois School Code to include an Asian American History Curriculum in every public school in Illinois, ensuring that crucial stories and lessons, like the wrongful incarceration of Japanese Americans in the 1940s, are elevated.  It pairs PBS Series (linked below) with a  K-12 curricula, compliant with Common Core and National Standards, designed to be easily adopted into lesson plans and curricula.

  • Bystander Intervention Training

Stop AAPI Hate

Stop AAPI Hate has been collecting data on anti-Asian hate incidents since March 2020 after the “alarming escalation of bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic...The center tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harrassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.”  

“This report covers the 3,795 incidents received by the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021. The number of hate incidents reported to our center represent only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur, but it does show how vulnerable Asian Americans are to discrimination, and the types of discrimination they face.”

National Museum of American History

Viral Histories: Stories of Racism, Resilience, and Resistance in Asian American Communities 

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center 

Library of Congress
Immigration and Relocation in U.S. History through primary sources


Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) 

South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) 

National Park Service

Densho Encyclopedia 

A free on-line resource about the history of the Japanese American WWII exclusion and incarceration experience.

Chicago Day of Remembrance 

“Righting Historical Wrongs: Connecting Black Reparations and Japanese American Redress.”  Chicago Day of Remembrance 2021.  


  • Asian American Advocacy Fund - "A grassroots 501(c)4 social welfare organization dedicated to building a politically-conscious, engaged, and progressive Asian American base in Georgia"

  • Japanese American Citizens League - A national organization whose mission is to secure and safeguard the civil and human rights of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans and all communities who are affected by injustice and to promote and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American Community".

Get Informed

Resources for the AAPI Community


As in any racial category, one book will never fully examine all the identities within the APIA community. These books offer insight into the nuance and intersectionality of various APIA voices.  

Adult Non-Fiction

The Karma of Brown Folk by Vijay Prashad                                                                                                     305.891 Prashad Civil Rights

Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White by Frank H. Wu                                                                        305.895 Wu Civil Rights

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong                                                                       305.4895 Hong Essays

The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee                                                                                                 973.0495 Lee History

We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang                                                                    305 Chang Community

Inseparable: the original Siamese twins and their rendezvous with American history by Yunte Huang                973.5 Huang History

All Saints: the surprising story Michael Spurlock and Jeanette Windle                                                      283 Spurlock Religion

Thoughts on the East by Thomas Merton                                                                                                                    291 Merton Religion

The New Koreans: the story of a nation by Michael Breen                                                                                    951.9043 Breen History

Nisei Cadet Nurse of World War II : patriotism in spite of prejudice by Thelma M. Robinson                         940.54 Robinson History 

Voices of healing: spirit and unity after 9/11 in the Asian American and Pacific Islander

community / editor, Icy Smith                                                                                                                                   973.931 Voices History

The Arts of Asia: materials, techniques, styles by Meher McArthur                                                                          709.59 McArthur Art 

Asian Art in the Art Institute of Chicago by Elinor L. Pearlstein and James T. Ulak                                            708.1731 Pearlstein Art

South-East Asian Ceramics: Thai, Vietnamese, and Khmer : from the collection of the Art Gallery

of South Australia / Dick Richards ; photography by Clayton Glen                                                              738.0959 Richards Antiques

Asian-American Writers / edited, introduction by Harold Bloom                                                                          810.9895 Asian Lit Crit

Dear Girls: intimate tales, untold secrets, and advice for living your best life by Ali Wong                                       792.7 Wong Humor

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversation by Mira Jacob                                                                                                         Biography Jacob

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung                                                                                                         Biography Chung

What About the Rest of Your Life by Sung Yim

Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People by Helen Zia

Model-Minority Imperialism by Victor Bascara

Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties by Karen L. Ishizuka

Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation: On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans by David L. Eng

Yellow Peril!: An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear by John Kuo Wei Tchen and Dylan Yeats

Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics by Lisa Lowe

Margins and Mainstreams: Asians in American History and Culture by Gary Y. Okihiro

America Is in the Heart: A Personal History by Carlos Bulosan

Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream 1899-1999

by Angel Velasco Shaw and Luis H. Francia

Virtual Orientalism: Asian Religions and American Popular Culture by Jane Naomi Iwamura

The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority by Ellen D. Wu

Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans by Jean Pfaelzer

To Save the Children of Korea: The Cold War Origins of International Adoption by Arissa H. Oh

Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco's Chinatown by Nayan Shah

Global Asian American Popular Cultures by Tasha Oren, Shilpa Davé, and LeiLani Nishime

YA+ Non-Fiction

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei (Graphic Novel Memoir)                                                                  Young Adult Biography Takei

From a whisper to a rallying cry: the killing of Vincent Chin and the trial that galvanized the

Asian American movement by Paula Yoo                                                                                             Young Adult 305.895 Yoo Civil Rights

A thousand beginnings and endings: fifteen retellings of Asian myths and legends

/ edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman                                                                                                 Young Adult 398.208 Oh Folklore

Yell-Oh Girls!: emerging voices explore culture, identity, and growing up Asian American

by Victoria Nam                                                                                                                               Young Adult 305.235 Nam Relationships

Asian Americans: opposing viewpoints by William Dudley, book editor                                        Young Adult 973.0495 Dudley History


Adult/YA Fiction

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong                                                                                                             Fiction Vuong

America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo                                                                                                                       Fiction Castillo

O beautiful: a novel by Jung Yun                                                                                                                                              Fiction Yun

The chosen and the beautiful by Nghi Vo                                                                                                                                   Fiction Vo

Swimming back to Trout River: a novel by Linda Rui Feng                                                                                                  Fiction Feng

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto                                                                                                                              Fiction Sutanto

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu                                                                                                                                               Fiction Yu

Days of distraction: a novel by Alexandra Chang                                                                                                              Fiction Chang

The unlikely adventures of the Shergill sisters: a novel by Balli Kaur Jaswal                                                                    Fiction Jaswal

Erotic stories for Punjabi widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal                                                                                                       Fiction Jaswal

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig                                                                                                                                           Fiction Craig

The tea girl of Hummingbird Lane: a novel / Lisa See                                                                                                            Fiction See

How I became a North Korean by Krys Lee                                                                                                                              Fiction Lee

Across the Mekong River by Elaine Russell                                                                                                                        Fiction Russell

Hello Kitty must die by Angela S. Choi                                                                                                                                    Fiction Choi

Unaccustomed earth: stories by Jhumpa Lahiri                                                                                                               Fiction Lahiri

Bitter sweets by Roopa Farooki                                                                                                                                          Fiction Farooki

Old filth by Jane Gardam                                                                                                                                                   Fiction Gardam

Equation for evil: a novel by Philip Caputo                                                                                                                       Fiction Caputo

The dark root by Archer Mayor                                                                                                                             Mystery Mayor papbk

I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson                                                                                              Graphic Novel Wilson

Internment by Samira Ahmed                                                                                                                     Young Adult Fiction Ahmed

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay                                                                                                      Young Adult Fiction Ribay

We are not Free by Traci Chee                                                                                                        Young Adult Fiction Chee Historical

Hani and Ishu's guide to fake dating by Adiba Jaigirdar                                                                         Young Adult Fiction Jaigirdar

Not here to be liked by Michelle Quach                                                                                                      Young Adult Fiction Quach

A taste for love by Jennifer Yen                                                                                                                         Young Adult Fiction Yen

The surprising power of a good dumpling by Wai Chim                                                                               Young Adult Fiction Chim

The henna wars by Adiba Jaigirdar                                                                                                           Young Adult Fiction Jaigirdar

Super fake love song by David Yoon                                                                                                               Young Adult Fiction Yoon

The weight of our sky by Hanna Alkaf                                                                                                            Young Adult Fiction Alkaf

Zen and the art of faking it by Jordan Sonnenblick                                                                         Young Adult Fiction Sonnenblick

Dove alight by Karen Bao                                                                                                          Young Adult Fiction Bao SciFi/Fantasy

The epic crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee                                                                              Young Adult Fiction Yee SciFi/FantasyLucy Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung                                                                                                                           Young Adult Fiction Pung

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (Graphic Novel)                                                        Young Adult Graphic Novel Yang

Almost American girl: an illustrated memoir by Robin Ha                                                                 Young Adult Graphic Novel Ha

Displacement by Kiku Hughes                                                                                                       Young Adult Graphic Novel Hughes

The shadow hero / story (Gene Luen Yang); art (Sonny Liew); lettering (Janice Chiang)          Young Adult Graphic Novel Yang


Sight lines by Arthur Sze                                                                                                                                                            Poetry Sze

Human dark with sugar by Brenda Shaughnessy                                                                                                Poetry Shaughnessy

The BreakBeat Poets, Vol 3: Halal If You Hear Me by Fatimah Asghar

If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar


APIA Voices and Perspectives in Social Media

Often not covered by mainstream media or in history books, these APIA voices and/or allies act to bring awareness and are a great starting point for further research.


@stopaapihate Asian Americans Demand Action

@michellekimkim Excerpts from On Anti-Asian Hate Crime: Who Is Our Real Enemy? (See full article link above)

@teachandtransform Anti-Asian Racism and Discrimination Did Not Start with COVID-19 (Part I Historical Court Cases)

@teachandtransform Anti-Asian Racism and Discrimination Did Not Start with COVID-19 (Part II: Historical AAPI Struggle)

@dearasianamericans on The Importance of Black History in Asian American History

@dearasianyouth on Black and Asian History and Solidarity

@beyonka Writing a New Story: Asian and Black Solidarity
@myles.tho on Recent attacks on Asian Americans, solidarity, resources, and activism

@amandangocnguyen on Apathy toward Violence Against Asian Americans on MSNBC

@racismisavirus Interview with @danieldaekim on anti-Asian hate and mutual allyship

@morethanyellowblog quoting Jeremy Lin on this generation’s views on anti-Asian hate

@ckyourprivelge on Activist Grace Lee Boggs

@aapiwomenlead on The History of Asian American Activism

@asianlitforkids on Who tells a story and #ownvoices

@tonyrosaspeaks on The Brown Asian American Movement and Colorism in Asian American Representation

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