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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
May 22, 2024

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals:

Creative Roots: Panel Discussion with Asian American Pacific Islander Artists (Thursday, May 30, 2024, at Noon)

In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the California Department of Education invites you, your staff, and your students to a webinar on Thursday, May 30, 2024, at noon celebrating Asian Pacific Islanders in the arts. With the passage of Proposition 28—Arts and Music in Schools, we see this as an opportunity to amplify and develop an overall understanding of the diversity of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California.

We have assembled a stellar panel who will discuss their paths to achieving success through the arts, why they chose their particular art forms, and how they use their art to connect to their culture, as well as share the importance of following dreams with the audience.

Panelists include writer and documentary filmmaker Curtis Chin; actress and singer Sisa Grey Uiagalelei; baker, designer, and cookbook author Stacey Mei Yan Fong; fine artist David Young Kim; and novelist Andrea Stewart.

Curtis Chin (Writer/Documentary Filmmaker)

A co-founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York City, Curtis Chin served as the nonprofit’s first Executive Director. He went on to write for network and cable television before transitioning to social justice documentaries. Chin has screened his films at over 600 venues in 20 countries. He has written for CNN, Bon Appetit, the Detroit Free Press, and the Emancipator/Boston Globe. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Chin has received awards from ABC/Disney Television, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and more. His memoir, Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant, will be published by Little, Brown in fall 2023. His essay in Bon Appetit was just selected for Best Food Writing in America 2023.

Sisa Grey Uiagalelei (Actress/Writer/Singer)

Polynesian actress, writer, and singer Sisa Grey grew up between Samoa and Hawaii. With a deep connection to her heritage and her people, she brings authenticity and diversity to her performances. Sisa has portrayed many different characters, most proudly playing Ida for Showtime, where she brought the Samoan culture to life on the American television screen and showcased her native tongue and love of the Samoan siva (dance). Sisa can be seen in Taika Waititi’s and Searchlight’s film Next Goal Wins. Upcoming projects include a series opposite Jude Law and Jason Momoa’s Chief of War.

Stacey Mei Yan Fong (Baker/Designer/Author)

Stacey Mei Yan Fong is a home baker and author living in Brooklyn, NY. She was born in Singapore, lived in Indonesia, grew up in Hong Kong, and moved to the States to pursue a degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She spent a decade designing in the fashion industry. During that time, she launched her “50 Pies, 50 States” project, which led to her slinging pies at Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Shop. Now, her pies and her cookbook, 50 Pies, 50 States, have been featured by Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, Eater, and beyond.

David Young Kim (Artist)

Dave Young Kim 김재권 (born 1979) is an artist who was born and raised in Los Angeles. He received a BA in Studio Art from the University of California, Davis, and an MFA in Studio Art from Mills College. His work engages with the intangible quality of home and explores themes of nostalgia, war, conflict, and displacement. By interpolating cultural motifs into personal and larger histories of struggle, Kim explores the unifying search for belonging across disparate conditions. He is a recipient of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Award, the Abbey Mural Prize, and various grants. His work has been exhibited at the Asian Art Museum, Pacific Asia Museum, Kang Collection, Reese Bullen Gallery, and Stuart Haaga Gallery. In 2020, he co-founded the Korean American Artist Collective (KAAC), a group of artists building community around work rooted in the Korean American experience.

Andrea Stewart (Author)

Andrea is the daughter of immigrants and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Stewart is a Sunday Times best-selling author whose short stories can be found in such venues as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, Galaxy’s Edge, and others. Her debut epic fantasy novel, The Bone Shard Daughter, was a finalist for the Locus Award for Best First Novel, the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel, the Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy and Debut Novel, and the BookNest Award for Best Traditionally Published Novel. She now lives in sunny California and, in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes.

Webinar Details

Date: Thursday, May 30, 2024

Time: Noon

Register via Zoom:

Please email with any questions or for further information. We look forward to you joining this event!


Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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