Asian Americans: The Detroit Story

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May 8, 2020
12:00pm Eastern Time
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Detroit Public TV and APIAVote Michigan are presenting an interactive, multimedia celebration of Metro Detroit’s Asian American communities.

Please join us to learn about the contributions Asian Americans have made and the challenges they faced. Previews of upcoming PBS series, Asian Americans Reports from our One Detroit Team Panel discussion with key leaders Questions from the audience.

Video Descriptions

Asian Americans WETA Station Reel v02 - Unlisted

Asian Americans - From Vincent Chin to COVID-19 | One Detroit Clip

One Detroit takes a look at what some Asian Americans are experiencing and how it connects to the Vincent Chin murder, which took place in Detroit nearly 40 years ago. Now China is a target with the coronavirus crisis added to poor trade relations. Bill Kubota talks to journalist Ti-Hua Chang, San Francisco State University, Asian American Studies professor, Dr. Russell Jeung, and Michigan State Representative, Padma Kuppa from Troy in Oakland County. Ep. 238

120 minutes



  • Panelist Avatar
    Bill Kubota


    Moderator, Producer, One Detroit

  • Panelist Avatar
    Fred Nahhat


    Host, SVP, Production, Detroit Public TV

  • Panelist Avatar
    Helen Zia


    Helen Zia is a writer, activist and Fulbright Scholar whose journalism career began in Detroit. Her latest book, Last Boat out of Shanghai, chronicles the 70-year-old exodus from Shanghai to Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US and elsewhere. Her ground-breaking articles, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, books and anthologies. The daughter of immigrants from China, Helen's activism in the 1980s landmark civil rights case of anti-Asian violence is featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary, Who Killed Vincent Chin? In 2010, she was a witness in the federal marriage equality case decided by the Supreme Court. Helen is a graduate of Princeton University’s first coeducational class and holds honorary degrees from the University of San Francisco and the City University of New York Law School. She attended medical school for two years, worked as community organizer, a construction laborer, an autoworker in a Chrysler stamping plant, after which she discovered her life’s work as a writer.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Melissa Borja


    Melissa Borja is Assistant Professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan, where she is a core faculty member in the Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies Program. She researches migration, religion, politics, pluralism, and race in the United States and the Pacific World, with special attention to how religious beliefs and practices have developed in the context of the modern American state. A proud Michigander, she was born and raised in Saginaw and is particularly interested in understanding Asian American experiences in the Midwest. She earned a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and an A.B. from Harvard University. This coming year, she will be a fellow at the Charles Warren Center at Harvard.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Roland Hwang


    Roland Hwang is an attorney. He serves on the American Citizens for Justice board. He serves as OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates vice president for public affairs, and he teaches in Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, Department of American Culture at University of Michigan.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Richard Mui


    Richard attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he received his B.A. in History. Richard continued his education at Wayne State University where he earned a Masters in Education. Richard became actively involved in the Asian Pacific Islander American community during his time in Ann Arbor. After graduation, Richard continued his involvement in the community with the Association of Chinese Americans where he served as a tutor, board member and president. In addition, Richard serves as a APIA Scholars scholarship judge, AALDEF poll monitor as well as other projects regarding the Asian Pacific American community. Richard was elected as President of the Board of Directors for APIA-Vote MI. Under his guidance, APIA- Vote MI strives to increase civic engagement, develop young leaders and build coalitions within the APIA community. Richard Mui currently works at Canton High School in the Plymouth Canton Educational Park. He teaches in the Social Studies department where his current course load includes AP U.S. History and Civics. In addition to Richard’s instructional responsibilities, he serves as the Teacher Leader for the social studies department. Furthermore, Richard is engaged in the school community through his longtime tenure as the head freshmen football coach as well as the advisor for the student club, Asian Pacific American Club.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Anand Kumar


    Anand Kumar is the founder of a web portal that connects the Michigan Asian Indian community since 1999. Anand is a Certified Diversity Professional and is employed with AAA as the Director of Supplier Diversity. Anand served two terms as a Commissioner of MAPAAC (Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission) And currently serves on the Boards of local organizations as listed below: New Detroit The Coalition Community Advisory Board – Beaumont Hospital Wayne Council of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA) South Asian American Voices for Impact (SAAVI) Advisory Board – Michigan Diversity Council

  • Panelist Avatar
    Toshiki Masaki


    Toshiki Masaki is the Chair of Michigan Asia Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPPAC), designated by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in December 2019. He was originally appointed as a Commissioner in 2013 by Governor Snyder. The Commission, consisting of 21 Governor appointed members representing various Asian communities, was established in 2008 to communicate concerns and issues raised by respective communities to the state government (Governor, legislatures, agencies) and explain the various state services and resources available to them. Masaki is also the Governor of Midwest District, a member of National Board and the President of the Detroit Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), a Japanese American organization established in 1929 with nearly 8,500 members. He is currently working for Oakland County’s (Michigan) Economic Development Department as Project Advisor, interfacing with over 200 Japanese companies located in the County in order to ensure they are utilizing County’s resources available to them. He previously spent 31 years with Ford Motor Company (retired in 2018), working in Global Data Analytics as Transformation Manager; in Government Relations as PAC manager, public policy manager and global leader for its Learning and Development; and in Product Development as engineering supervisor. He earned his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, his MBA from the University of Michigan, and his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Jim Shimoura


    Mr. Shimoura’s career as an attorney has encompassed a variety of experiences. He has worked for legal aid, staff counsel for two major insurance carriers, and was a partner at a Detroit area law firm (KempKlein). Mr. Shimoura has represented Fortune 500 companies, including Wal-Mart, Georgia-Pacific, Chevron, and Federal Express. In addition to his private law practice (Law Offices of James W.Shimoura), he is currently general counsel to KCGI, LLC, a SanFrancisco based capital management and advisory services group, TechSquare Partners LLC, a Connecticut and Florida based early-stage capital investment fund, Workfolio LLC, a New York personal visibility software designer, and US counsel for Camtech Inc., a UK and Singapore based technology investment group. As a registered player agent with the PGA Tour, he representedShigeki Maruyama (3 time PGA Tour winner) and Hidemichi Tanaka. Mr.Shimoura is the US director for HAL Sports Production (Tokyo), a golf tournament player management and media group. Among his numerous civic and political activities, Mr. Shimourawas an adviser to the Clinton Presidential transition organization in1992-93, and appointed by President Bill Clinton to the White HouseCommission on Presidential Scholars, where he was a Commissioner from 1993 to 2000. Additionally, he has served as a board member of commissions and advisory panels for the State Bar of Michigan, SenatorCarl Levin, and numerous non-profit and civic organizations. Mr.Shimoura was a volunteer attorney advocating the Vincent Chin case in the 1980s. Mr. Shimoura has a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan StateUniversity, with honors, in Political Science and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University, School of Law. His general practice concentrates on business and commercial matters. Mr. Shimoura has been an attorney for over 40 years and is AV rated (highest peer-group recognition) by

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.