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Hey again, Laundroteers! A week after my keynote speech and moderating gig with Active Minds’ UCLA chapter, I wanted to update and thank you for your different encouragements.
As some of you may know, I was completely nervous, because I can’t remember the last time I had to give a SPEECH to people. Oh yes, I am charming and witty in Q&As (not really, but I’d like to advertise myself as such), but giving me 10min to freestyle on my movie and the API community and mental health sounds like a confusing train wreck of ideas. Kudos to Active Minds for their courage in asking!

Well, hopefully, my keynote bolstered by clips from the movie was more Union Station than an actual wreck, but it was a great opportunity to learn how to focus my ideas and tailor the VAST array of themes that are involved to a specific audience. What ended up out there in the atmosphere was a description of my own undergraduate experiences, a comparison of my journey with one of the interviewees in the film, and the idea of choice — what does it mean to choose to speak up or out? Oh yes, and for those still reading, I threw some Robert Frost and AP English Language references out there to seal the deal. Arcadia nerddom never dies.

But the MOST surprising and AMAZING part about this whole evening? The panel. I got to bear witness to some very brave college students discuss some of their history with taboo topics. Not only was I reminded of how many heart-breaking and empowering stories exist for every Asian Am/Pacific Islander, but with each word, I saw a laundromat get built. With each story and question, the panelists were able to create a safe space for themselves and those in the room. I couldn’t help but cheer and fist pump (on the inside so as not to cause alarm), because this is why I created The Laundromat – open dialogue, frank conversations. I’m not sure if I can measure the impact of my speech and film, but I know that much of the magic of that evening happened because a bunch of college students decided to be brave and honest with some of their peers.

Anyway, Laundroteers, this is hopefully the beginning of something amazing. I’ll keep you updated on where The Laundromat goes next.

the ol' wash & fold in berkeley