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Mike Keo #IAMNOTAVIRUS founder inspired by Yellow by Stanford's Frank Wu

The #IAMNOTAVIRUS campaign began because I wanted my children to understand that they belonged and were as American as anyone else. My university in 2005 did not have an Asian American center or club. Instead I was dependent on the limited books on Asian Americans that were available in the early 2000s including Yellow by Stanford’s Frank Wu. I can remember the electricity I felt when I first saw the photographs from the 1989 student-led protest. At that time, I had not seen Asian American resistance and it was captivating. I would later discover Corky Lee’s work in the Miss Saigon protest. This empowered me to be more vocal and helped shape who I became. Over the years I have found community in local AA bookstores, writing retreats, and with student organizers. While I have no direct relationship to the university, my work is guided by those who came before.

In the last year, we have passed AAPI studies in CT, developed a mental health workbook for AA that is used inover two dozen universities, and created #HistoryIsColorful, a coloring book of AA heroes, with Admerasia. Anti-Asian hate was never new but the lessons of Stanford taught us that we must relentlessly advocate for ourselves.The Stanford organizers inspired me to love myself when I saw myself as invisible. Anti Asian hate happens every few years and Stanford has an opportunity to inspire a future generation to be in front of it. My hope is that the continued work being done will allow my children and the next generation to no longer wonder if they will be scapegoats.


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