12/12/2017

Introducing Amanda Ong

Amanda’s first piece was “On Appearance, Identity, and Thanksgiving“. Our first biography in this series is that of Executive Editor Richard Chen.

Amanda Ong is currently an undergraduate student at Columbia University in the City of New York, and has recently joined the AAA-Fund team as the Mike Honda Writing Fellow. Amanda is a double major in Creative Writing and Ethnicity and Race Studies. At Columbia she works on the Daily Spectator as a member of the copy editing team and is also a member of Columbia’s Asian American Alliance.

For a long time, Amanda struggled with her national and ethnic identities. Amanda’s paternal grandparents had lived in America since the 1950s, when they moved to America in an effort to escape the tide of Communism in China and raise their children. Her maternal grandparents had lived in Hong Kong and moved to America when her mother was a child in order to provide their children with a better education. After meeting in New York and getting married, her parents lived in Hong Kong for a number of years, where Amanda was born.

They later moved to Connecticut, then Northern California, and then Southern California, where Amanda was predominantly raised. There, she attended an elementary and middle school where she was the one of two Asian American students in her grade. This often caused her to feel unintentionally, and sometimes intentionally, excluded, and thus for a long time she tried to reject her Asian American and Chinese American identities. She instead tried to define herself simply as American, until realizing what a large role her Asian American and Chinese American identities had played in her life and how intensely she identified with concepts of pan-Asian American struggle. This realization drove her to become increasingly interested in Asian America history, Asian American theory, and social justice across all lines of race, gender identity, and sexuality. Now she is fiercely dedicated to political activist causes. At the heart of her dedication is her belief that love, empathy, and hope are radical and powerful tools that we can use to seek equity and justice.

Since childhood she has been a passionate writer, and has always been interested in the art of storytelling as a mode for spreading compassion and understanding. She hopes to use her writing as a means to mobilize around Asian American causes and political action. She believes there is a lot of power in the projection of Asian American voices and in the representation of Asian American stories. By writing and speaking out about her experiences and beliefs, as an Asian American and a human being, she believes that she can help educate and empower others on the nuances of Asian American politics and existence.

She is very excited about her new position with AAA-Fund, using her position as our Mike Honda Writing Fellow to advance social justice for AAPI.

Note: The AAA-Fund welcomes a diversity of views and voices. In that spirit, the views expressed in this article are the author's own. Unless an article states that it was written by the AAA-Fund or its Board of Directors, it does not necessarily reflect the views of the AAA-Fund.

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