At Inaugural Partner Summit, TAAF Previewed its Upcoming Film “Heritage Heroes” featuring AAPI Stories from across the Country
The Asian American Foundation
WASHINGTON, DC, MAY 19, 2022 — The Asian American Foundation ("TAAF"), a convener, incubator, and funder for Asian American and Pacific Islander (“AAPI”) communities, today hosted its inaugural Partner Summit and Heritage Month Reception today in celebration of TAAF’s one year anniversary, as well as AAPI Heritage Month. The summit brought together TAAF’s grantees, corporate partners, policymakers, nonprofit leaders, and influencers from the cultural and media sectors to build community and foster collaboration across industries.
At the Summit’s evening reception, attendees were given an early preview of TAAF's “Heritage Heroes” special which will officially premiere on May 26. In six short films, “Heritage Heroes” spotlights six unsung AAPI heroes from across the country — everyday Americans who were nominated by friends or fellow community members to be featured in this special streaming event. The six heroes were publicly announced at TAAF’s Partner Summit, and some were even in attendance. This year’s 2022 Heritage Heroes are: Nurse-turned-chef Justin Foronda, Hawaii Police Major Mike Lambert, Paralympian Justin Phongsavanh, the high school students of Livingston Asian Youth Alliance (LAYA), Fisherman Thiện Nguyễn, and AAPI Activist Suki Terada Ports.
The stories of the Heroes are woven together in the special by celebrity presenters, and comedy and musical performances from stars like Japanese Breakfast and MC Jin. AAPI celebrities and allies such as gold medalist Nathan Chen, “Shang-Chi” star Simu Liu, and “Never Have I Ever” star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan are featured in the special discussing their own heritage. Some of the celebrities featured in the “Heritage Heroes” film attended TAAF’s Partner Summit, including TAAF Advisory Councilmember, Daniel Dae Kim. “Heritage Heroes” was directed, edited, and produced almost entirely by AAPI creatives — including the film crew and production and editing staff.
“TAAF was founded with the bold mission of achieving a permanent and irrevocable sense of belonging for AAPIs everywhere. But we’ve known from the very beginning that it’s going to take the full force of our communities — and our allies and partners — to ensure AAPIs finally feel that we belong,” said CEO of TAAF Norman Chen. “TAAF hosted this Partner Summit to honor our partners in this shared effort, and to honor the stories of our communities’ unsung heroes. We hope the ‘Heritage Heroes’ special brings much-needed attention to the experiences of everyday AAPIs who represent the very best of this nation. We look forward to unveiling the full film later this month, and we’re grateful to our production partners for bringing it to life.”
The Partner Summit began with a morning program of three special panels on combating anti-AAPI hate, advancing AAPI policy and leadership, and the importance of AAPI storytelling in combating misperceptions and stereotypes. The Summit’s evening reception began with the preview of “Heritage Heroes” which was followed by a fireside chat between professional basketball player and philanthropist Jeremy Lin and Norman Chen. On stage, Lin announced a new partnership with TAAF and LingoAce, an online language learning platform for K-12 students, to promote stories of belonging, including Jeremy’s upcoming documentary “38 at the Garden.”
The Partner Summit and Heritage Month Reception were made possible by TAAF Giving Challenge Partners LingoAce, Nike, P&G, United Airlines and Verizon. The event was catered by award-winning chefs from Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate, an organization created in response to escalating hate crimes and xenophobic attacks on AAPI communities across the country. Chefs Kevin Tien and Susan Bae of Moon Rabbit, Danny Lee and Yesoon Lee of Anju, Tim Ma of Lucky Danger, and Roren Choi of Magpie & Tiger prepared the evening’s food.
About The Asian American Foundation
The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) is a convener, incubator, and funder committed to accelerating opportunity and prosperity for AAPI communities. TAAF supports advocates and organizations committed to AAPI causes so that together we can more effectively take action against hate and violence, and build the infrastructure needed to improve AAPI advocacy, power, and representation across American society. We were founded to solve for the longstanding lack of investment and resources provided to AAPI communities and we strive to be a catalyzing force for creating a permanent and irrevocable sense of belonging for the 23 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in the United States. For additional information about TAAF, please visit www.taaf.org.
About Heritage Heroes
Heritage Heroes is a creative, inspiring program that centers on unsung heroes from the AAPI communities to share the stories of their work, their world and their wish for the future for a better America. Directed by AAPI auteurs and artfully woven together by celebrity presenters, the TAAF AAPI Heritage Heroes special tells the tales of leaders who rarely get the spotlight: educators, first responders, fishermen, healthcare workers, paralympians, mentors, and community advocates.