Episode 145

Michelle Li ·  Very Asian

“I talked about dumpling and she said that I was very Asian and that I needed to keep my Korean to myself. The whole story went viral. ”

Michelle Li is a news anchor for NBC-affiliate KING-TV in Seattle. She is a morning show anchor and co-created and hosted the show Take 5, a daily, hour-long, interactive news show before it sunsetted in 2019.

Previously, Michelle worked as the primary evening anchor for legacy stations in Wisconsin, the Coastal Carolinas and Southwest Missouri. 

Michelle has been recognized for leading innovation and audience engagement projects in newsrooms. Google, Poynter, Facebook, and RTDNA have showcased her work in newsrooms across the country.

She has received four national Murrow awards and 9 regional Emmys. Congress also honored her with an Angels in Adoption award for her dedication to international and domestic adoption causes. As a Korean adoptee, Michelle spent many summers volunteering with adoptive families and in orphanages in Seoul. She launched a television program in Missouri to help foster kids find more permanent solutions and spoke at the National Press Club for international adoption awareness. 

Michelle’s more notable recognition includes 5 regional Emmys for interactivity in Chicago and Nashville, national Murrows for innovation and feature writing, regional Murrows for social media and innovation, Social Media Personality of the Year for Wisconsin, two regional Murrows for writing, and Anchor of the Year of the Carolinas. 

Michelle grew up in a rural area near Kansas City and studied journalism at the University of Kansas. Her hobbies are mostly cooking and volunteering, and she loves being a homebody with her husband Jim and their son. Jim is an Emmy-award-winning photographer who now works as a software engineer for a news corporation. For fun, Michelle once played a reporter in the movie ‘Tammy’ and on the TV show ‘The Following’.


Social media handles:

Instagram: @michellelitv @theveryasianfoundation

Twitter: @MichelleLiTV

Website: very-asian.com

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Podcast Transcript

Michelle LI

Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, my name is Bryan and my name is Maggie. We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Maggie: (00:00:23) Today we have a very special guest with us, her name is Michelle Li. Michelle is a news anchor for NBC affiliate king TV in Seattle. She is a morning show anchor, co-created and hosted the show, take side a daily hour-long interactive news show before the sunset in 2019.

Previously Michelle worked as a primary evening anchor for legacy stations in Wisconsin, the coastal Carolinas, and Southwest Missouri, Michelle has been recognized for leading innovation and audience engagement projects in newsrooms, Google pointers, Facebook, and RTD, and has showcased her work in newsrooms across the country.

She has received four national mural awards and nine regional Emmys. Congress also honored her with an angels and adoption award for her dedication to international and domestic adoption causes. As a Korean adoptee. Michelle spent many summers volunteering with adoptive families and in orphanages. She launched a television program in Missouri to help foster kids find more permanent solutions and spoke at the national press club for international adoption awareness.

Michelle grew up in a rural area near Kansas City and study journalism at the University of Kansas. Her hobbies are mostly cooking and volunteering and she loves being a homebody with her husband, Jim, and the. Jim is an Emmy award-winning photographer who now works as a software engineer for a news corporation for fun.

Michelle once played a reporter in the movie, Tammy, and on the TV show, the following Michelle, welcome to the show.

Bryan(00:01:55) Michelle, we’re so excited to have you on the Asian Hustle Network podcast.

Michelle: (00:02:00) Oh, my gosh. I’m so excited to be here.

Bryan(00:02:03) We’ve been falling along your journey and are fortunate enough to be one of the first organizations to re-share your “Very Asian” story but we’ll dive into that later. Tell us about yourself, what was your upbringing and what was your childhood like?

Michelle: (00:02:16) I feel like my childhood was really unique and at the same time, when you talk to a lot of transracial adoptees, it’s very similar to an adoptee experience. I grew up with white parents and rural Missouri, and I joked that I was the only Asian kid in my town.

So it was very strange to want to explore anything that was Asian because no one around me was Asian. No one around me was Korean and everyone used to always call me Chinese, or Japanese, which  I know that there are a lot of people in bed that experience, but I think for me in many ways, my childhood was beautiful and idyllic. We literally jumped on hay bales and played with farm animals. We were outside all the time and was actually pretty cool. In high school, we’d do bonfires andI mean, it was really neat in many ways, but then when it came to I think race and diversity, it was difficult.

It was difficult because most people would say, oh, Michelle, we just saw you for who you are which we know what that means. Often people would say, I don’t see your race but of course, that’s not helpful. I will say when I was a teenager, that’s when I started really going to Korean heritage camps and those are for adoptees and you learn a lot about Korea. You learn a lot about food, culture, songs, all those things. When I was 18, I went to Korea for the first time that my biological family that’s still intact, and then went back to Korea, probably like every two or three years since then.

And then that stopped when I got married because my family started coming to the United States. That’s in a nutshell, that’s me.

Bryan(00:04:00) That in itself is so powerful already, right me, I am personally still learning a lot about the adoptee community and what the adult community goes through, and what the adoptees’ challenges are. I learned a lot of that a couple of my team members in these also networks were adoptees so we tried to create a lot more inclusive programs around that and talk about the healing process, the trauma, and, and, I feel like with the Delta community is sort of overlooked in a lot of ways, right?  The Asian diaspora is massive already, and now there are different nuances of the Asian diaspora. I feel like the adoptee community is, one of the nuances that are often overlooked.

Michelle: (00:04:43) I find myself even it’s weird because when you think of like things that are Asian like if you’re trying to make a logo or you’re trying to, make a symbol that represents well, none of them really were related to my upbringing. And so I don’t want to leave out the whole idea about variation being inclusive and so it’s really hard sometimes to think about like, okay, what does culture mean to us?

I think Asian folks and in general Asian Americans is that we in many ways have to be very intentional about the culture that we bring into our lives because maybe we’re not getting it from our parents or our families and that could be because you’re an adoptee or not because you’re an adoptee.

I definitely think there was imposter syndrome that I had to deal with for many years, thinking that I was not Asian enough to ever spoke alive, anything about Asian-Americans. And in fact, the organization that we raised money for in the first round, the Asian American journalists association actually had a difficult time even being a part of that at the beginning of my career, because I just thought I don’t really fit in there’s not a place for adoptees.

I feel so inadequate when people are talking about the way they were raised or the foods that they ate, because I didn’t do any of that. But I think the difference is when we all walk outside and face the world, they don’t know that your parents are white or they don’t know that you’re an immigrant or they don’t know X, Y, and Z.

They just see you. And so that’s where I think we can definitely find common ground or common experience because especially with all the anti-Asian hate that we’re seeing people don’t care what your background is that nothing is going to save you basically. so that’s a real serious thing we to think about.

Bryan(00:06:35) I guess this lays a good foundation for the premise of what we’re going to talk about. Your background is so unique and then want people to hear that story side of you where it’s like you’re leading a very Asian movement and I think you’re more than qualified to lead this movement.

I want more people to hear that story I had friends who are adoptees and grew up in the midwest and unfortunately rejected their Asian heritage, they refuse to accept it. And on the other hand, you’re blending two cultural identities, essentially. You’re learning a lot about your culture, trying to embrace it, but looking at you now like you have a place, you have a place to call home. We’re here for you. That’s why I just want to say this upfront is like, you have a place now and you always had a place. I’m glad you’re building this house for other people who might feel the same way.

 I want to talk a little bit more about like early parts of your journalism career because I would imagine it’s I looked online and read a couple of articles about you. You did journalism for two decades. That’s all to you, right?

Thank you for all the work that you do. And I’m kind of curious, like, What was it like breaking into the industry because I’m pretty sure, as you mentioned earlier, when people look at you, they see an Asian-American woman, right. And obviously, there are a lot of barriers against Asian American people and women in general.

Michelle: (00:08:13) This also includes Asian American men, I think in journalism. So we can go into that too,  but I can be an ally for men and I feel like we need to do so much more work for men.

Bryan(00:08:27) Let’s hear about the challenges that you face, and I’m pretty sure that people stereotype you a lot at the very beginning and I want to hear really how the industry has evolved throughout the years. We can get to the part where the whole very Asian movement kind of sprung up about. I want to hear about like the early parts of your career and how did you manage to navigate everything?

Michelle: (00:08:50) Well, thanks for asking that because it is the funny thing is I started in 2002, so it really is 20 years.  I feel like a lot of those problems still exist today and I’m sure that a lot of people of color have their own situations, no matter if they’re Asian or not, that would say, oh, those problems still exist for us. But I think that something that is really difficult is that in the beginning, people would say, you’ve got to change your name.

You got to change your name because it’s too confusing and it’s too distracting for the viewer. So I didn’t because I actually fought against that for a long time but then eventually I was kind of tired of not getting work and feeling like news directors weren’t looking at me.

So I changed my name. So Michelle Li is a pen name, which I haven’t hidden or anything like that but a lot of people just don’t think I’m an adopted. They don’t ever go by your last name, Li and that’s my Korean mother’s name, but I took the L I spelling because most Koreans when they turn into English, it becomes L E E or that’s just the spelling they choose.

I chose L I because back then we used to have to send DVDs cold to the news director. They would just get an envelope in the mail and they would see your name and then you have your name on the DVD. So if I said Michelle Li, L I, people would automatically assume you’re too young for this but like there was a Michelle Li actress in the eighties I just remember being like I don’t want to be Michelle, be mistaken for Michelle Lee, but dynasty and I, Korean family name is actually.

But Park seems complicated to me because I had two friends in college whose last names were Park and they were white girls, you know? So I just thought, like, what is the point of me having a name that no one’s going to recognize that Asia. So we did, we decided on Michelle Li, but it felt like the death of me in so many ways because I could never say my name again.

I could never say that like, Michelle Sherwood it was always Michelle Li and I used to have to write it down on the prompter, like my actual name, so that I wouldn’t say the wrong name on air. But aside from that, I know that’s happened to my other friend and currently, there’s an article. If you Google Sidney Kim, she’s a friend of mine and she’s in Seattle. She’s at Cairo TV and wrote an article because when she moved to Seattle, the news director who was not Asian said, well, you’ve got to change your name to send me Kim, because no one can pronounce Chu.

And even though she had been semi-true and for years, and so now it’s insane. Right? And so now, she’s like, people always think I’m Korean when I’m really Cambodian, you know? So it’s like, it’s this idea of a racer for so many people. Whether you’re an adoptee and you’re going from Sherwood to Li, or you’re getting mistaken for Korean because your last name now is Kim on air.

So, the idea that we have to change our names because we have to fit into a role is wrong and the idea of really the people in power, making the decision on how we fit into their puzzle piece in the newsroom.

Bryan(00:12:37) We need you to talk about it more because I don’t think a lot of people understand, what a process is and to be honest it’s still going on.

Michelle: (00:12:50) Well, another thing is. I think even though people would say it’s an unspoken thing, but back in the day, so 15, 20 years ago, people used to say, and not even probably 15 years, probably more like 10 years ago, people would say to me you can’t work in, you can’t work in Tulsa.

There’s already an Asian anchor there and that would just confuse the viewers. My agents said that news directors have said that to me and then my peers because they already know like they knew how it was like, oh, you can’t get in. Especially if it wasn’t a west coast city, if it was on the west coast, people would say, oh, go for it.

I mean, I did have news directors would say, I think you’ll have more success on the west coast. But like, if you’re from the Midwest, maybe you don’t want to go to the coast, you know? Or what do you mean? We don’t exist anywhere else on the west coast? So it was really offensive in so many ways. Like, I think San Francisco is a good market for you, Michelle.

So in a way, it was really hard to navigate and I would say, I’m going to go out on a limb here, and this is going to be, I’ve never really said this out loud in public, but like I always wanted to work in Kansas City and St. Louis because that’s, I grew up watching Kansas city news and I wanted to be close to my family and I could never get an interview anywhere.

I always wondered why, because there were people who were less qualified. I mean, I shouldn’t say less qualified, less experienced. And I really believe that it took me getting a job in Seattle, a top 15 market before I could get considered to come back to Missouri. Because if even the conversation in, I don’t know, I’m sure my news managers are, would not like to hear that, but it’s like even now the conversation in St.Louis is still like St. Louis is a black and white space. But Asian people have been here forever.  Asian people I think is really interesting about St. Louis is that we had a Chinatown that is a hundred years old. It literally was here from 1860 to 1960 or something, maybe 18 79 60 and people don’t even know what existed here.

How can you erase that kind of history when it’s a century-old? People have been here, but I think sometimes they think if we’re going to really make an impact in our ratings and with our audience, we really need people who are going to reflect what we think the demo is. And so, Asian people, again, this is the same advice,  going to like, okay, this is how I could be successful in Seattle because it’s a west coast city with a diverse Asian population.

The school district that we live in now has the same amount of like Asian population. Then the school district that I was in Seattle. So it’s when you look at data and you look at numbers, it’s not true. When people say, oh, well, you just don’t exist here. So anyway, there was a long time when I just felt like I could not get a job. In the Midwest, because people didn’t believe that we existed here.

Michelle: (00:15:54) That’s a business, if you’re thinking like well who’s our audience, is it? They used to give us descriptions of people. Our key viewer is 37 years old and her name is Susie and she lives in south county and she has two kids and you don’t think of yourself as Suzy, you know? So you just, they never say our key viewer is 10 silk and she lives in west county.

No one ever says that. It’s always this image of a white suburban mom, probably earliest. That’s been my experience in the time that I’ve been in news. So I think that there is a reckoning, but I still think that like, you have to have the right people in the right leadership positions to make the right hiring decisions and bring equity into the newsroom.

Michelle: (00:17:08) I know I haven’t, we might at service, you pay for that service for somebody to tell you who your key viewer is. I should say I’ve still been working for 20 years and I have to thank people for their encouragement and their support because really I’ve never had one single Asian hiring manager.

So someone has hired me all the time, who wasn’t Asian. So I have to thank those people too, but I definitely think it would be nice to at least have more people who come from a sense of adversity or feel like they have permission to make decisions based on how they live.

I think this goes back to like, not just race, but gender and all those things, like so many women when they get into leadership positions because they’ve had to sacrifice so long and they ended up kind of managing life. They’re not women, you know like they didn’t sacrifice so much for their kids to get to that position or something.

I wouldn’t say I would say one of the most empathetic general managers I had was a white guy. But he was also a gay dad and he had this experience of like raising a child, adopting a child for 20 years, like he wasn’t married to his partner,  all these things that like you, when you come from a place of adversity, Then you can lead with empathy and so I felt, I always felt really supported by this one.

Bryan(00:19:05) I’m glad you’re able to find people in the industry. So I really helped guide you along. It’s really awesome to hear that you shed light and so many parts and nuances because I want change to happen.

And I know a lot of our listeners want to hear more about that and we can talk about what happened real quick and we’ll want to talk about the impact and how do you leverage it for positive change?

Michelle: (00:19:49) We received a complaint on New Year’s Day beause I talked about dumplings and she said that I was very Asian and that I needed to keep my Korean to myself. If I had been white anger talking about white people, I would have been tired and I was just very annoying. I just needed to talk about what, why people ate, and then it was like, thank you. Sorry, it was annoying. Bye and so I shared that it went viral and you know, a lot of people are probably sick of hearing that story by now.

Maybe that we can use that momentum to make some actionable changes and so I was like, yeah, hell yeah, let’s do that and now I’m like, oh my God, it’s so much work. But to me, it felt like it really, it made me realize how much work we’ve all been doing anyway, to get to a point like this. I don’t want to call it a gift horse, but it really was like this woman calling was a gift.

The way it turned out, it was a gift because now it’s like all the work that I didn’t realize I was doing. Can lead me to a position to say, no, we’re going to take this harness, this, these good vibes and make it into something so that we can have lasting change for the next generation because my kid is a mixed race.

You know, kiddo and there, I mean, so many of us are looking for content that we can’t even give to our own kids let alone ourselves. As for me sometimes I’m like, oh, the ship has passed. Who needs to talk about it, I don’t need to do the work for myself on adoption. I mean  I always think I can come later, but my son, I want him to grow up feeling confident.

Proud of who he is and not ashamed of who he is, like how I felt, so often, so, oh my gosh. That’s so hard because you think about when you have kids, you start thinking about like, you don’t want to mess them up and you don’t want them to spend their whole adulthood or hang on their childhood traumas because that’s what I feel like I’ve done it in so many ways.

I’m very passionate about making this actionable chain and I know that so many of these. Organizations and groups and people are already doing that, but there was just so much great response from people who felt like they could share a moment and take pride in who they are. They didn’t even have to be Asian there were so many people who were in solidarity. Some people don’t get a moment like that at all. Most of us don’t, so why just disappear in two weeks? I mean, you might disappear from the headlines, right. But like, you could still make this foundation to make a change.

Bryan(00:23:07) I felt that. I will give you lots of credit because I realized that what people don’t know is how much work goes into every, everything that you do and it may seem so seamless. I’m just sharing resharing stories, whatnot, but there’s a lot of thought that goes into you were telling your story, it’s like, I can tell that it’s tied to a lot of your why. I can see how this is so powerful now and a lot of that ties back to my own personal experience too. 

Now you have like a foundation you’re donating money to causes that are important to you and important to the society and community. I don’t know if I should talk about this at the conference too. 

The heart and soul come from the leader and that’s the one thing it’s like, you can tell a lot about a person’s intentions by the way that they run their organization and the way that you run your movement. It tells me a lot about who you are as a person. I’m kind of curious too, from your point of view at what moment have you felt like, dang, this is maybe the ski too much for me. I can’t handle it.

Michelle: (00:25:24) It feels like we are. Building a plane in midair, because we weren’t intending to form a nonprofit, you would have some thought into it, right? Like you would think about like, oh, this is going to be my mission. I know this is going to, this is how we’re going to do it.

And you would have maybe a business plan or something. We all have day jobs and we’re alike and the three of us are parents of humans. One’s a dog parent and is just like we want our mission to be, but then we want to be very clear in our mission for other people.

We all have different backgrounds, like technically legally, I’m an immigrant and naturalized citizen and adoptee and a mom of a mixed child. How do we reach the people with who we align with too? So it’s interesting because I definitely think that to amplify diverse voices within our community, but how do we really support it? How do we bring about actionable change? And then how do we have our own programming so that we can reach really some of those people who might have.

So that’s not going to all fit in the mission statement. It’s always got to work on the clarity there. So that’s what we’re working on now. Every morning I wake up someone like our friend or our mutual acquaintance done. Hey, I can do this variation conference, have you thought about putting a merchandise store?

Hey, these restaurants want to do this simple foundation. They’re dumpling donations. Have you thought about the logo? What about the new website? What are we going to get into for a new merger? International women’s month. And don’t forget, it’s the Atlanta shooting taken you to do out by Southwest. I mean, it just goes on and on and on and on and on.

And I am so grateful, but I’m also like in my day job it’s like, well, we need this rating piece then by tomorrow. Who, what, what shoes are you going to do? Can you make these calls? Oh my gosh. You know, it’s hard. And then my little kids, like ma I want to play train every day, I think. Wow. Okay. Let’s just breathe. What’s the most urgent thing to do today we’ll write it down in a list and we’ll get to it. But there are so many things in my, in all of our heads that we want to do now.

Bryan(00:28:06) Yeah, definitely everything you said is completely relatable and it’s like you’re sitting on a firehose and the craziest thing is like, you have to be split-second decisions without really understanding the ramifications of the decisions you’re making 

I realize that a lot of these successful entrepreneurs that we looked up to and like are multi-billionaires or whatever they do. No one really knows what they’re doing. And that’s, I just want to remind people on this podcast and yourself included that no one really knows what they’re doing, but the one thing they have in common is consistency and falling the heart.

It never feels like work and yet true alignment that knowing that, putting your best word forward, we’d all screen anyone with the intentions to make the community create. That’s probably the best north star that you fall, right?

Michelle: (00:29:07) It was just to say that gives me so much more comfortable, because. I always think like a couple of things, I think yeah no one knows what they’re doing. it’s very obvious, like when you talk to people, but when you hear in podcasts and you talk to entrepreneurs like you, do you realize people are just going on with it. You know, being able to be somewhat flexible, being able to pivot is able to still dream big and a lot of us don’t dream big enough. I had someone, a mentor of mine who said, Michelle, you’re not dreaming big enough. Like you, this is a moment that you should probably take the time to dream big, have a plan, but dream big.

I’m in my forties and I’ve never been able to dream about anything. I think it was a dream to be a journalist  and to have this career and still be in it after all this time and all these transitions in the industry, it was a dream to be a mom because we struggled with infertility for 10 years.

So my dreams have come true in many ways, but this is a different kind of dream that I used to say, man, if I win the lottery, this is the kind of work I would get. When you take out the lottery, I guess it was a show social media lottery, then it’s like, wow, well now the only thing that’s holding you back is you.

Bryan(00:30:54) Yeah, it is. I can totally see us in the same position before, honestly, like everything you mentioned, and I know most entrepreneurs listen to this podcast, or now it’s like, they probably feel the same way and I really liked the relate-ability standpoint that you bring to the table. We want to do a lot of things. That’s the reality, but real is confined to the time constraint or commitments that we currently have all of us have 24 hours a day. That’s the one thing that I always looked into when I was like, I’m like, oh my God, I can’t breathe today. Like, there are so many things going on.

How do these successful people like partnering realize, and manage your time the one thing I found is like, there is a certain amount of focus. It’s better to do one or two things really well to benefit the community. In that sense, didn’t try to do everything cause the truth is your position right now, the world sees you as a superhero, right?

And like a superhero, you’re sorta fall into the comic book, Marvel stuff as like this person that can solve everyone’s problem. But at the end of the day, you’re still human rain, and one day you’re still Michelle. We have a lot of other commitments, but now it’s up to you to decide what are the most important ones that I can focus on where it doesn’t feel like work to me.

And the biggest piece of advice I have is. It’s only started feeling like work and he started hating it. That means they’re no longer alive when they no longer allow you won’t do great work. We know, do great work. And over time the culture and the mission he wrote, right? So it’s all wildlife finding one or two things to do really well and find out who Michelle is.

And when you explain you are white earlier, It’s very clear that this is something that you want to do. But dive deep into your, why’s also very clear that there are certain things you want to do as an organization and it’s best to like, take that very Asian movement and position it that way, because at the end of Michelle has the face

Bryan(00:33:04) So to remind you and listeners and early entrepreneurs who are seizing the opportunity to not let go and not give up, because over time, like with the way the world, the universe works is that you attract the right people. And as long as you don’t quit, give up, because it’s the last time we were just like laying the self of your life.

Why am I doing all this? What’s the point? And the point is I benefit the community, and push things forward.

Michelle: (00:33:51) I think of like kids, I think about in terms of getting our kids to be really confident and proud and then we grow up to be proud adults. We just have a better leg up in the world, but also we have so much to do on ourselves because remember when I was in school some kids threw money at me and they said $5, sucky, sucky stuff. I told him to F off and I got sent to the principal’s office because I was so mad and I doesn’t anyone care. I feel like in many ways that have been my whole dealing with people and we’re like, well, you shouldn’t have lashed out that way, but that wasn’t the nucleus seven so then you, you had this childhood where you, you don’t understand like why you were hyper-sexualized at a certain age because he didn’t even understand what that was.

If you’re thinking about having kids, everything changes everyone’s senses, but it really does change when you have your own or you start raising kids because it’s like, you don’t want them. You want them to be better versions of yourself and you want them to have the world. You want them to be able to have the same things that other kids have. So it motivates me every day, thinking about it.

Bryan(00:36:22) What is your vision for Very Asian? What do you hope to accomplish with the organization in the next six months? One year?

Michelle: (00:36:34) In the next six months, I would like to have some strategic planning. It’s funny that you used the word hub because we’ve used that word a lot too. We would really like to be a place for resources. And we would also like to be able to kind of help, help people get to where they need to be and I’m not talking about like in your world, but like entrepreneurship, I mean we could definitely help support creators and makers and all those things, but it’s like really this exploration of who you are and being able to express yourself, be confident for the way you exist in the world, as you are at this point.

How do we support that? We can support that through like, even the Asian-American journalist association, because they do storytelling, they support storytellers, journalism, journalists, like to call themselves storytellers actually but I always felt like that’s some people don’t understand what that really means for journalists because they might, cause I think it was a storyteller as someone you like to build a lot of stories.

These are the words that you need to use. These are the words you need to avoid. These are the headlines that should not exist and so that’s important work that we can all benefit from. We’re doing a fundraiser for stop AAPI hate, because I feel like the really great things about stop API hate are not only are they collecting data, but they’re also trying to make actionable change through language access and, and helping, support our youth. Right now it’s really about raising money for causes that are already doing great things, but eventually, it’s about our own programming.

And so what does that look like? Where can we fit? Where can we fit in this space and do the best work? I really think preserving history is super important and it does support journalism in many ways because journalism is also. The first record of history. So to me, I think it’s important to, I don’t want to be political, but I do think it’s important to preserve history in a sense that people know that Asian American history is American history.

And so that when we have a. Yeah. And so that when we have a 100-year-old Chinatown in St. Louis, that no one knows about it, maybe we need to learn our history a little bit better because if it’s in St. Louis, it’s in Cincinnati, it’s in Seattle, it’s in Tacoma, it’s in wherever it’s in a London, the different plates.

There are a lot of things that I want to do, but I really think that it’s important to me to get some sort of results, some sort of actionable change. We have to pick kind of our battles, right? To see which ones aligned, not only with the foundation but allow us to keep our day jobs as journalists.

A lot of times we are about uncovering writing wrongs as journalists. And so to me, if, if it’s in my opinion, I think. Important to write these wrongs, to uncover the history and share it and preserve it and educate people because when you know something existed and something happened, then you can hopefully come from a place where it won’t happen again where you will be able to do better in the future and do better for future generations.

And it’s just like everything. Kids now are so much more empathetic and more intelligent than we were because they know. So that’s what I really believe in, in making actionable change. Starting from the community, from the communities in which we live and I think that if you could make one change in one community, then you can scale it. And that’s what I would really like.

Bryan(00:40:30) I don’t have, was not the right word, but the thing, like it’s, it’s a great mission that I’m so excited to like, see what’s next for you guys and Michelle, how can our listeners find out more about you?

Michelle: (00:40:44) I think the easiest way right now is just through social media. We do have a website, but we’re actually going to go through a redesign. Okay. And so I don’t really know what to say other than social media is probably the easiest because with the variation foundation or I’m Michelle Lee.

Bryan(00:40:59) Awesome. I’ll leave all that in the show notes, but Michelle, thank you so much. I mean, podcast today, we really appreciate that.

Bryan(00:41:11 Thank you, Michelle.