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Hao Huang’s NEA Project Will Highlight the Realities of Anti-Asian American Racism

Scripps College received a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grants for Arts Project, Music Division, to support the creation of a three-part performance by Hao Huang, Bessie and Cecil Frankel Chair in Music and professor of music at Scripps, who will serve as the project director in collaboration with artistic director Yan-jie Micah Huang. The project, titled The LA Chinatown Massacre and Beyond, will use the 1871 LA Chinatown Massacre as an entry point into the rich and sometimes tragic Asian American experience in California. It will be performed in October 2022 at Scripps College and the University of Southern California Asia Pacific Museum in Pasadena, and a webinar addressing the histories of anti-Asian violence in California will introduce the performances. 

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Americans have faced a tsunami of anti-Asian racism and hate incidents, fueled by rhetoric from prominent national politicians,” Huang says, adding that the organization Stop AAPI Hate has documented more than 10,300 anti-Asian hate incidents since the start of the pandemic. “Nearly one in five Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have experienced a hate incident in the past year. When a federal bill intended to counter a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes was passed in May 2021, 164 GOP members of Congress voted against it. This project proposes to expose the realities of anti-Asian American racism that have been neglected and ignored for over a century and a half.” 

Beginning in 2019, Huang and his collaborators have given annual performances reflecting on the LA Chinatown Massacre and engaging with its contemporary reverberations, culminating with a performance at Scripps College in October 2021 that commemorated the massacre’s 150th anniversary. Huang is also the co-creator, again with Yan-jie Micah Huang, of the popular podcast Blood on Gold Mountain.

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