ADVOCATE for INCLUSION
As an Asian American woman who grew up not seeing myself represented in the media, when I started to realize how much I had been internalizing that kind of exclusion (and/or one-dimensional renderings of Asian American people), I also realized how much it had shaped my perspective on my place in the world. This realization has been the bedrock of my advocacy work over the past 35 years; providing unwavering motivation to fight for theatre, film and television to hold up and reflect a more full-length mirror to society.
I think one of the most powerful things about the arts is that we have a unique opportunity to shift perceptions of who we are and what we can do, both for ourselves and for each other. But in order to do this, we must reflect the world as it really is, inclusive of all of us. I truly believe that expanding the American landscape of storytelling to include more equal representation of all the different types of people who live and thrive here has the ability to provide a wider worldview for all of us, which can lead to fuller compassion for others – and for ourselves, too. I have seen positive change, especially in the past 5 years or so, but there certainly is a lot more room to grow!
In general, actors from historically excluded and under considered communities are still not being routinely cast in leading roles and are still vastly underrepresented. And the rumor that I want to dispel the most is that there aren’t enough parts or scripts for us being written. That isn’t true! There aren’t enough being produced! We’re ready. Let’s go!