Meet Alice Tsui: NowThis Next Honoree
Alice Tsui talks exclusively to NowThis about the importance of inclusivity and representation.
Throughout history, there have always been trailblazers and creatives from every generation who have led the world to the precipice of historical change through grassroots organization, self-expression, reclamation, and so much more. Youth have always been the leaders of our movements toward change, and here at NowThis, we give megaphones to the change-makers of the world.
Alice Tsui is among the 2021 class of NowThis honorees in the category of racial justice. Read Tsui's interview below.
What do you think is the biggest issue or challenge we face when it comes to racial justice right now?
The biggest challenge we face when it comes to racial justice is listening to and amplifying our YOUTH to build cross-cultural community coalitions and connections — brave spaces where young people can share their truths, listen to each other’s life stories, and freedom dream radical solutions together. We can collectively work towards our UNIFIED liberation through artistic mediums such as music, visual art and dance as modes of storytelling, community building, and healing from our oppression. We can continue to build relationships within our individual communities and between our global communities to truly Stop Asian Hate, ensure that All Black Lives Matter, give land back to Indigenous folx, and do this all in ways that are not just performative, but affect our daily lives and our futures. We can continue to fight for racial justice and we can celebrate our individual and communal joy for our communities.
What are the biggest things that people need to unlearn right now?
Unlearn history as you learned it in school. Unlearn the idea of "THE truth." Unlearn fighting for ONLY one issue at a time. Unlearn the whiteness you’ve inhaled in your existence. Unlearn truths that do not look, sounds, or feel like who YOU are.
How do you balance self-care with activism?
I balance self-care with activism by playing music. As a musician and a music educator, I am constantly listening to new music, playing when I can on the piano based on how I feel, and spending time both with fellow musicians, including my students, and alone, to reflect on music-making. Music-making is essential in my healing.
Who are some people that you've historically looked up to in this space?
I continue to look up to Yuri Kochiyama, Grace Lee Boggs, two Asian American activists who truly worked across cultural communities on behalf of many racial justice issues. The two are especially inspiring as I consider them to be unifiers of the Black and Asian communities in particular. Similarly, I personally continue working with both Black and Asian communities as an Asian American woman. Young voices I am continuously inspired by include Morgan Hurd, Ashlyn So, and Naomi Osaka, and my elementary school student musicians who are creating change through their music-making and by using their voices.
What's one resource you'd recommend (i.e. a book, Instagram page, etc.) for those who want to educate themselves on racial justice, and not put the burden on BIPOC folks to educate them?
I recommend "This Book is Anti-Racist" by Tiffany Jewell and encourage people of all ages to embark on the active, necessary work in anti-racism that is critical to racial justice. I also recommend Cathy Park Hong's "Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning" for a truly honest, resonant perspective from an Asian American woman. Finally, I recommend "The Hate U Give" and everything by Angie Thomas for insight into the thoughts and feelings of young Black and Brown people in our world. Our racially occupied minds stay occupied, but these three books are a start to understanding.