Asian Americans: Tell Your Story
VPM wants you to deepen your engagement with the PBS docuseries Asian Americans by stepping into your own family's story and by recording key events in your life.
Below are prompts and activities, created by our partners at Richmond Story House, to empower the local Asian Pacific American community to share diverse, true life stories. Use these prompts as a starting point to unearth your own stories and those in your family and wider community.
Be creative. Write poetry, haikus, essays, short plays, fairy tales or another genre--as long as they are based upon your lived experiences. Draw, doodle, or cartoon. Think outside of written formats, like spoken word, animations, and recorded interviews. Maybe even pair up with a family member or friends to work on stories together. It’s up to you!
Select a prompt below (or develop your own) and write or tell a “flash memoir,” like a mini memoir - one episode or very specific event or time in your life. You can use this guide to the structure of a flash memoir, or just follow your own instincts. Tell a story about....
- Your family’s/ancestors’ journey to the U.S.
- Memories or stories your parents and/or grand-relatives passed down to you
- A cultural tradition that has been passed down in your family
- A time when you were separated from your family or family member (for any length of time)
- Your best friend growing up
- A food that was cooked in your house growing up - maybe include a recipe, images, or video
- A holiday memory
- A nickname you had as a child, or a nickname you currently have
- A time when you felt excluded and/or a time when you felt a strong sense of belonging
Need help getting started? Here are some tips for telling your personal stories.
- Write a poem using the following “fill-in-the-blank” format: “I used to _________. Now I ___________.” Repeat these lines 3-10 times, inserting ways you or your life has changed from then to now.
- Write a love letter to yourself, a family member, or friend
- Write a letter to someone you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while (alive or deceased)
- Using a comic strip format visualize your family’s/ancestors’ journey to the US. You could also apply a comic strip format to any of the themes or prompts listed above.
- Hairvolution: a fun, reflective drawing prompt highlighting “hairstories.”
- Use photos of you and/or your family, elders, or ancestors in their birth country, whether it’s in Asia, the U.S., or another place. When you look at a particular photo, what thoughts or memories come up?
Share your story!
Once you've got your story down, share it! Family or friends or even online!
VPM would love to hear your stories! Feel free to share share them with us via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #myvpm and #AsianAmPBS.
You can also share your stories with us at [email protected]. We’ll choose a few meaningful ones to share with our entire community!
Please keep in mind that we cannot receive files larger than 10MG at this email. If you have images or videos larger than 10MG, please upload your story to a cloud source and send us the link. By sharing your stories with VPM, you are granting the station the right to use any submitted story, video, audio, and your likeness on television and social media in perpetuity.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Many thanks to Richmond Story House for creating these rich story prompts!