5 Iconic Asian American Women

Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month is a celebration of Asians, Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. While APIDA Heritage Month is in May, many colleges and universities celebrate it in April. To celebrate APIDA Heritage Month, I thought I would share 5 Asian American women who inspire me.

  1. 1. Anna May Wong (1905—1961), Actress

    Born in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles, CA, Anna May Wong was the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood. She left Hollywood due to the constant discrimination, but returned in the 1930s. In the 1950s, Wong became the first Asian-American to lead a U.S. television show. After her death, the Asian-American Arts Awards and the Asian Fashion Designers group named annual awards after her. 

  2. 2. Yuri Kochiyama (1921—2014), Activist

    Yuri Kochiyama was influenced by her Japanese American family's internment, her association with Malcolm X, and her Maoist beliefs. She advocated for many causes, including black separatism, the anti-war movement, reparations for Japanese American internees, and the rights of people imprisoned by the U.S. government for violent offenses whom she considered to be political prisoners.

  3. 3. Patsy Mink (1927—2002), Attorney and Politician

    Patsy Mink was a third-generation Japanese American, and she was born and raised on the island of Maui in HI. Mink was also the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first Asian American woman to serve in Congress, and the first Asian American to run for U.S. President. She wrote bills like Title IX, the Early Childhood Education Act, and the Women's Educational Equity Act.

  4. 4. Connie Chung (1946—), Broadcast Journalist and Writer

    Connie Chung was the first woman to co-anchor CBS Evening News. Chung was also the first Asian American and the second woman ever to be the most coveted post of nightly news anchor at a major network. She advocated, and continues to advocate, for women and women of color in male-dominated spaces.

  5. 5. Ally Maki (1986—), Actress and founder of Asian American Girl Club

    Ally Maki’s Asian American Girl Club is an apparel company set to redefine what it means to be a modern Asian American woman and dedicated to giving voice to and celebrating APIDA women and girls.

I would strongly encourage you to read more about these women if you like!