Jason Fong, a high school student in California, has been an American citizen all his life. His grandfather emigrated from China to Cuba and then to New York City in the 1940s. His mother is from Korea.


That's his Asian-American story. And it's the kind of not-so-easy to summarize story that's often erased from political discussions. That's especially the case when politicians like Donald Trump and Jeb Bush use the pejorative term “anchor babies" — usually implying that non-citizens come to the U.S. to give birth in order to take advantage of public benefits in the country.

That's why 15-year-old Fong, after hearing Jeb Bush's comments about the "problems" stemming from "Asian people coming into our country" (back when Bush was a presidential candidate), decided to help illuminate what "our country" really looks like for Asian-Americans.

He started the viral hashtag #MyAsianAmericanStory as a way for Asian-Americans to contribute the stories and histories that mainstream politicians too often ignore.

GIF from the TV show "Fresh Off the Boat."

“I hope that people can look at this tag and know that Asians and Asian Americans are part of the American narrative," Fong told the Los Angeles Times.

Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States. The U.S. has a long history of anti-Asian immigration policies, and despite the fact that our families and communities are a part of the American fabric, misconceptions about Asian-Americans still persist.

Bush's comments — and the troubling mindset they represent — make elevating stories of Asian-American immigrants and their descendants all the more important.

Here are some of the most thought-provoking tweets that tell #MyAsianAmericanStory:

Asian-Americans have been in the U.S. for a looong time...

...and so has discrimination.

Did you know that the first immigration restriction in America targeted Asian immigrants? The Page Law of 1875 attempted to stop Asian immigration based on the idea that Asians were "undesirable" and that Asian women were prostitutes. Other anti-immigration laws were targeted at Asians, too, including the Chinese Exclusion Act that followed in later years.


In 1942, more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were rounded up and placed in camps. Japanese internment was a horrifying and humiliating experience for the families who were forcibly removed from their communities. It also created long-lasting economic consequences for the people who lost their jobs, businesses, and livelihoods while in the camps.

Even though our families and communities have been a part of this country for forever, the stereotypes just don't seem to quit.


No matter how well we speak English, Asian-Americans often face the challenge of being seen as Other — never completely part of American culture.

Lucy Liu has had enough. GIF via "Elementary."

But understanding our stories give us strength...

Our personal histories are deeply tied to our political histories. And our political histories demonstrate how resilient our communities can be.

...and sharing them makes us grow stronger.


It's not every day that we see our real stories reflected in the media. Thank you, Jason Fong, for the opportunity to share our unique histories with each other and with the world.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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