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As I See It: 1st Asian American Stories Award ceremony, a success!

During the First Asian American Stories Award Ceremony held Thursday night, Founder and President of Ding Ding TV, a Silicon Valley Community Media and Chairman of the Asian American Stories Video Contest for 2023-2024, Diana Ding thanked everyone who made and joined the affair a success which kicked off Asian American and Pacific Islander Month.

The event was held at HL Peninsula Restaurant, Ranch Drive, Milpitas, CA with Robert Handa, NBC Bay Area News Reporter & Asia Pacific America Host as emcee.

“Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Asian American Stories Award Ceremony! It was wonderful to see all of you, gather to celebrate Asian American storytellers, and kick off Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Congratulations to all of our winners – your stories touched and inspired us! Thank you and congratulations to every single person who participated in Asian American Stories contest – thank you for trusting us with your stories. Thank you to our committee, judges, volunteers, partners, and sponsors! Thank you to Brotherhood Cup Foundation for sponsoring the event! Your support and contributions have been pivotal in making this event a success. Special thanks to the elected officials and community leaders who support Asian American Stories and celebrate the AAPI Heritage Month with us.”

Diana Ding said: “We hope you will continue to advocate for representation and inclusion in all sectors, whether it’s in media, education, or policy making. By working together, we can create a more equitable and supportive environment for all members of the Asian American community. Please let us know how we can help you with such efforts.”

Narrating her experience as a young reformist in the US, Diana said Asian Americans need to tell their stories for others to follow. “Growing up in a Chinese family, I learned the importance of being humble and developed a tendency to keep my stories to myself. This sentiment is shared by many Asian American households where success is often met with modesty and struggles are silently endured.”

But with the challenges brought about by the pandemic and a surge in Asian hate crimes and misunderstandings, Diana said that these “prompted us to act to bring diverse communities together for this cause.”

As I See It, she was advocating for Asian Americans to speak out, come forward and tell their stories, so our community can hear their voices and learn from them.

So, as the founder of this initiative, she was “profoundly honored by our communities’ overwhelming participation in this empowering storytelling journey. We have received 72 remarkable stories, ranging from seasoned filmmakers to first-time storytellers.”

I agreed with her hundred percent when she said: “This contest transcends geographical boundaries and competition; it serves as a celebration of identity, culture, and community. By sharing our narratives, we honor our heritage and strive to bridge divides and foster a more inclusive society.”

As a closing statement, she commented: “As we celebrate diversity, unity, and the transformative power of storytelling, let’s ask, ‘What’s next?’ I invite you to join us in sharing your ideas in our ongoing mission to share our stories with the world and work together to be a strong voice in our nation.”

Congratulations to all the winners and the judges for their participation in making the event a success.

Romeo Morales, author of the book Time to Breathe (Confessions of an Alien) who came all the way from Alaska to attend the ceremony, was the recipient of the First Submission Award taking the lead and setting a powerful example being the first submitter among the participants, underscoring the significance of Asian American voices and demonstrating the impact of timely action.

The major winners are: Tim (Jian) Zheng, 1st Place, Adult category; Sylvie Nguyen 1st place, youth category; Min Zhou, 2nd place, adult category; Samantha Quynh Huong Tran, 2nd place, Youth category; Jiayi Li, 3rd place, Adult category; and Abby Wu, 3rd place, youth category.

Other winners are: Avalyn Wu, Judges’ Special Merit Award, Adult category; Cathy Chang, Judges’ Special Merit Award, Youth category; WeDance, Viewers’ Choice Award, Adult category; and Samantha Quynh Huong Tran, Judges Special Merit Award, Youth category.

For the Excellence Awards, the following are the winners of the Adult Excellence Awards: Victor William Chen, Long Jin, Min Zhou, Ann Chang & Yue Chang, and Dr. Arthur L. Jue.

For the Brotherhood Foundation Youth Excellence Awards: Ethan Guan, Kaihua Skyler Chong, William Chui, Lauryn Chew, and Sophia Cheng.

The Youth Ambassadors Winners (Awards presented by judge Elpidio R. Estioko) are: Sophia Cheng, a highs school senior at Pinewood School; Ethan Guan, president of the Harker School Film Club since 2019; and Michelle Ahl, a 10th grade student from Carlmont High School, and co-founder-president of the American Chinese Youth Performing Foundation (ACYPF).

The Legendary Story Teller winner was Gerrye Wong, a fourth generation Chinese American who has always been an avid story teller of Chinese-American history as an elementary school teacher for the Moreland San Jose School District (MSJSD).

Most Valuable Player was awarded to Amy Zhao, Liyan Zhao, Chin Lin, and Alex Lin, for their exceptional contributions to the team for the Asian American stories.

The members of the board of judges were: Joel Wong, contest co-chair, chairman; Sandy Close, Founder, Ethnic Media Services; Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gilmor, Milpitas Mayor Carmen Montano; Tony Shyu, Hollywood award-winning TV and Film director; Richard Flanders, Rotary District 5170 Governor, Attorney; Former Assembly Member of the state of California Kansen Chu; David Louie, Past editor, reporter, ABC-owned KGO-TV; Beverly Molina, Santa Clara firefighter and author; Maggie Liu, founder of Brotherhood Cup Foundation; Mattie Scariot, director of the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival; Don Orozco, Filipino American Media leader; Piyush Malik, Startup executive, entrepreneur, board advisor; David Mosby, CEO of e21 Academy; and Elpidio R. Estioko, Educator, PR pro, author, journalist and author of the  book Unlocking the Chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream which is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris Publishing.

Co-chairs for the Asian American Video Contest 2023 – 2024 were Diana Ding and Francis Espiritu, President/Publisher, Philippine News Today (PNT).

The Asian American Tell Your Stories Contest will continue its mission to share stories with the world and work together to be a strong voice in our nation!

Fellow Asian Americans, let’s be part of the advocacy – “All of Us Belong Here!”

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