Asian American Life Debuts on CUNY-TV

The monthly half-hour series Asian American Life debuted on CUNY-TV on Monday, June 10. The program, hosted by Ernabel Demillio, features stories about Asian Americans, the fastest-growing immigrant population in the country. Asian Americans in the tri-state area come from more than 40 countries and speak more than 150 different languages and dialects.

Each month Asian American Life will highlight an Asian enclave and neighborhood in the tri-state area, examining cutting-edge issues such as racial profiling and stereotyping. The news magazine puts the spotlight on successful Asian Americans who are forging new identities in business, politics, and the arts and making a difference in their communities.

Demillio interviews renowned Japanese American physicist Michio Kaku in the first installment of the series, which also includes profiles on Chinatown in Manhattan; Chinese American photographer Corky Lee, who has been documenting the Asian American experience in New York City for more than 40 years; and a roundtable discussion with prominent community leaders.

The first episode also included a few interesting Japanese-related tidbits:

  • Historian Yuji Ichioka coined the term “Asian American” in the late 1960s.
  • Japanese immigrant Hikozo Hamada is the first Asian to become a US citizen. Hamada, who came to the States in the 1850s and later changed his name to Joseph Heco, is also the first person to publish a Japanese-language newspaper in the US.
  • Fortune cookies were inspired by Japanese crackers.

Upcoming episodes of Asian American Life will focus on fashion, politics, and food. For more information about the series, please visit CUNY-TV’s website.