From the thousands of Asian activism pages online, @asian.actiivist stands out as one of the most influential. This page was started by 16-year-old Yilan Batista, A Cuban-Chinese activist who is raising awareness about Asian rights. With over 46.6k followers on Instagram, her content educates others about modern issues surrounding Asian rights, politics, and struggles.
We had the pleasure of interviewing her and learning a little about what inspired such a passion for activism.
1. How have your family/traditions impacted the way you are today?
"Both my families from my mother and father's side have struggled with histories of capitalism and communism in their respective countries, China and Cuba. When you come from families that were impacted in communist revolutions, it's easy to fall for red scare American propaganda that seeks to demonize socialist countries as authoritarian and backwards.
2. Have you ever faced discrimination before? How did it alter your perspective and and how were you able to begin accepting and loving your culture?
"I've faced the type of discrimination that many Asians face - being called slurs, being told to go back to my country, etc. However, the most powerful racism that I faced was internalized racism. Growing up in China, I believed I would never be enough because I was not white or American. I believed I could only be happy if I came to America. When I finally came to America in 2017, my perspective shifted greatly. I realized how much China meant to me -- it was my home. I also realized how I could never be white or American, no matter how much I hoped I could.
4. What is your advice for young Asian-Americans struggling with accepting their own cultures?
"So many young Asian Americans struggle with their cultures because white America actively portrays them as backward and disgusting.
5. Why is Asian-American pride activism important to you?
"Asian American pride and activism is important to me because the struggles that Asian Americans face are often erased in mainstream media, and mainstream media is also constantly pushing red scare, yellow peril propaganda against our native countries.
Thank you so much, Yilan, for sharing your own experiences and continuing to inspire others to embrace their cultures in the face of racism. It's especially important now to speak out against racial stereotyping and educate others on Asian history and culture.
Check out her Instagram page here: @asian.actiivist
Interviewer: Carina Sun
Interviewee: Yilan Batista