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The Asian American Foundation announces heroes for second annual AAPI Heritage Heroes Special

The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) will debut its second annual AAPI Heritage Heroes special, highlighting seven incredible heroes.
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To close out Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and welcome National Immigrant Heritage Month in June, The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) will debut its second annual AAPI Heritage Heroes special, highlighting seven incredible AAPIs who inspire through unwavering displays of resilience, creativity, courage, and heart. This cohort of heroes include trailblazers in arts, education, fashion, food, public service, and sports. The special will be available to stream on Hulu beginning Wednesday, May 31, 2023.

This year’s AAPI Heritage Heroes will introduce a “Community Trailblazer” hero, a leader in the AAPI community who was nominated and selected by our audience. We are proud to announce our inaugural “Community Trailblazer” is Tony DelaRosa, an award-winning, Filipino American Anti-Bias & Anti-Racist Educator, spoken word poet, and author of the forthcoming book: “Teaching the Invisible Race: Embodying a Pro-Asian American Lens in Schools.”

“We are thrilled to bring AAPI Heritage Heroes back to celebrate diverse stories from our communities beyond AAPI Heritage Month,” said Norman Chen, CEO of TAAF. “We take pride in presenting a special that tells authentic AAPI stories on screen and behind the camera. When the creative teams behind the camera are as diverse as the stories they are telling, we will see genuine depictions of AAPIs. From an Iraq War Veteran’s commitment to public service to a college graduate who didn’t see other athletes like him on the field, the stories of this year’s heroes aren’t just Asian American and Pacific Islander stories. They are American stories.”

AAPI Heritage Heroes celebrates the AAPI community not only in front of the camera, but behind it. Seven AAPI directors and their mostly AAPI crews are each paired with an AAPI subject who resonates with their work and values. Each film is personally introduced with a heartfelt message from the directors. Learn more about our six films below: 

  • Who I am Inside” featuring Lea Salonga and directed by Yasmine Gomez: Filipina American Yasmine Gomez directs award-winning Broadway legend Lea Salonga in a vulnerable film about fear, courage, and reflections on how to show up authentically in each of life’s milestones. 
  • “Heart of Helen” featuring Helen Nguyen and directed by Bao Nguyen: Vietnamese American filmmaker Bao Nguyen follows Helen Nguyen, chef-owner of Saigon Social, and her journey of strengthening the local AAPI community through food and friendship amidst challenges to keep her restaurant afloat during the pandemic. 
  • “Phillip x Prabal” featuring Phillip Lim and Prabal Gurung and directed by Georgia Fu:  Taiwanese American Georgia Fu, a Sundance I TAAF Scholarship recipient, shares an intimate conversation between fashion designers and activists Phillip Lim and Prabal Gurung as they reflect on their friendship, work, how they turned their activism into The House of Slay, and the responsibility they feel to give voice to their community. 
  • “Amazingly Asian” featuring Pranav Iyer and directed by Alex Bocchieri: Alex Bocchieri, a Native Hawaiian filmmaker, dives into Indian American Pranav Iyer’s journey to create a space for AAPI athletes to inspire the next generation through AMAZN HQ.
  • “Duckworthy” featuring Senator Tammy Duckworth and directed by M.G. Evangelista: Thai American Senator Tammy Duckworth has reached the highest echelons of the U.S. Military and the U.S. Senate. Join Filipino American filmmaker M.G. Evangelista in a powerful story about how Senator Duckworth’s AAPI heritage shapes her identity. 
  • “Tony Speaks” featuring Community Trailblazer Tony DelaRosa and directed by filmmaking duo Julian Kim and Peter S. Lee: Korean American Filmmaking duo, Julian Kim and Peter S. Lee, share Filipino American Tony DelaRosa’s fight for inclusive education for the next generation. 

AAPI Heritage Heroes is available on Hulu here. AAPI Heritage Heroes is executive produced by Kristen Wong, Brad Jenkins, Melvin Mar, Saj Patel, Neha Patel, and Dan Mansour. The special is presented by TAAF, Enfranchisement Productions, and FutureFriends.

ABOUT AAPI HERITAGE HEROES

Heritage Heroes is a creative, inspiring program that centers heroes from AAPI communities to share the stories of their work, their world and their wish for the future for a better America. Directed by AAPI auteurs and artfully woven together, the TAAF AAPI Heritage Heroes special tells authentic tales of diverse leaders in our community. 

ABOUT THE ASIAN AMERICAN FOUNDATION (TAAF) 

TAAF serves the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in their pursuit of belonging and prosperity that is free from discrimination, slander, and violence. Founded in 2021 in response to the rise in anti-Asian hate and address the long standing underinvestment in AAPI communities, TAAF funds best in class organizations working to mobilize against hate and violence, educate communities, and reclaim our narratives through our core pillars of Anti-hate, Education, Narrative Change, and Resources & Representation. Through our grants, high-impact initiatives and events, we’re creating a permanent and irrevocable sense of belonging for millions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. For additional information about TAAF, please visit www.taaf.org.