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CUNY TV Digital Series Presents Asian American Hidden Communities

Beginning Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Asian American Life in collaboration with CUNY TV’s Digital Series presents “Asian American Hidden Communities,” a four-part series that features the untold stories of the invisible Asian American diaspora and population in the tri-state area.
When people think of Asian American communities, what immediately comes to mind are Chinatown’s in Manhattan and Brooklyn, or Koreatown and Little India in Queens —  Little is known about the hidden South Asian and Asian American communities that are off the beaten path, and not necessarily tourist attractions.  Some families have recently moved into these communities, while others have left and returned back to preserve their unique histories.  This 4-part series highlights the culture and personal stories of families who have formed these hidden communities, including Little Sri Lanka in Staten Island, Filipino Muslim's in the New York City tri-state area, Cambodian Community in the Bronx,  and the Japanese American community in that was formed during World War Two in Cumberland County, New Jersey.   Asian American Life correspondents Ernabel Demillo, Rayner Ramirez and Tinabeth Pina share their original and in-depth stories.
Seabrook Farms in New Jersey. August 7, 2018.
During World War Two, Executive Order 9066 was issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, forcing nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps on the Pacific coast. Many of the incarcerated families were given the opportunity to leave the camps and work as migrant farm workers on the Northeast. Charles Franklin of Seabrook Farms enlisted thousands of Japanese American internees to work as laborers on his farm and processing plant in Cumberland County, New Jersey. Many of these families settled in the area, and it became a hidden Japanese American community. Today only a few families remain behind, but their history is documented at the Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center. Asian American Life Correspondent Tinabeth Pina shares their untold stories and how these families rebuilt their lives against all odds.
Cambodian Community in the Bronx. August 14, 2018.
In the 1980’s, more than one million South Asians from Cambodia – victims of war and genocide - were granted asylum and resettled in the United States. It was the largest refugee resettlement program in our country’s history. Many of the Cambodians came to Bronx, New York, at a time when most people were leaving the borough. Their history and experience is documented in Eric Tang’s “Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in New York City Hyperghetto.” Asian American Life Host and Correspondent Ernabel Demillo shares their untold stories and how this hidden community is being rediscovered.
Filipino Muslim Community in New York. August 21, 2018.
Although most Flipinos are Christian born, there is a sizable population of Filipino Muslims that live in the tri-state area. One group Kinding Sindaw, which means “movement and light,” preserves the culture and tradition of their people through performance art, music and dance. Asian American Life host and correspondent Ernabel Demillo goes behind the scenes of Kinding Sindaw as they prepare for their show at La Mama Theater in New York City.
Sri Lankan Community in Staten Island. August 28, 2018.
Staten Island is the least populated borough in New York City, but did you know that it has one of the largest Sri Lankan population outside of the country of Sri Lanka? Nearly 5,000 Sri Lankan Americans have settled here since the late 1950’s. Walk down the Tompkinsville and St. George neighborhood, and you’ll see “Little Sri Lanka” with restaurants, stores, and it’s first Sri Lankan art museum. Asian American Life correspondent Rayner Ramirez meets the first Sri Lankan family who settled in Staten Island, and takes us on a tour of this rich community.

Asian American Life is an in-depth news magazine program that addresses topical issues affecting the Asian American communities nationwide and profiles Asian American leaders. 

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