Another year, same pandemic.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020, no one would have guessed it would last another year. Yet here we are: closing in on year two, which really feels like an extension of year one. The visible violence against our Asian American communities continued, too, in the same way racism in the United States persists. Early 2021 brought us the Atlanta spa shootings that killed eight, including six Asian women. And in November, Kyle Rittenhouse, the man who fatally shot two men and wounded another in Kenosha, was acquitted on the homicide charges against him, highlighting the racial double standards in the American justice system. In short, the United States continued to be the United States and people of color were upset but not surprised.
Despite this, or perhaps because of this, artists continued to create. The act of creation can be many things. It can be a way to grieve and memorialize. It can be a way to think through what has happened in front of us. It can be an act of exploration of the unknown. But most importantly, it is an act of empowerment.
In 2021, diaCRITICS continued to empower our communities by highlighting the work of Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diasporic artists as they revisit personal histories, explore the issues facing us today, and imagine possibilities: the past, the present, and the futures of the diaspora.
As we go on our yearly publishing break (to return in the new year), I invite you explore our archive. Not sure where to start? Here are some pieces we published this year you may have missed:
- Darlena Chiem calls her mother after the Atlanta spa shootings.
- Contributing Editor H’Rina DeTroy creates a space to explore diasporic indigenous, Montagnard and Dega identities.
- James W. Goh talks with fashion writer Emma Do and illustrator Kim Lam about their book exploring the stories of Vietnamese outworkers in Australia.
- Bee Nguyen chats with Contributing Editor Ben Tran about the politician’s literary past, voting rights, and Vietnamese media.
- Alixen Pham witnesses of a final moment and the haunting fog of grief that comes after.
- Deputy Editor Sydney Van To reviews Hoa Nguyen’s A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure, a finalist for the National Book Award.
- Monique Truong examines the recipes refugees carry with them and the history of diasporic cookbooks.
If you enjoy our publication, consider making a gift to support not only our work but the work of our parent organization, the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network.
Eric Nguyen is the Editor-in-Chief of diaCRITICS.