drawings from 2021; on being an asian american woman

Illustrations reflecting on being Asian American Woman, drawn after the Atlanta Spa Shootings in 2021.

drawings from 2021; on being an asian american woman
Part 2 of Version 1 of the drawing "I think those ask everyday 'Am I taking up too much space?' are the ones who should take up space unapologetically".

Below illustration series drawn after the Atlanta spa shootings in March of 2021 (Vox). Also recommend reading The Roots of Violence Against Asian Women (The Nation).

I remember feeling so upset after the news. It was a work day and I was still trying my best to take client calls and pretend everything was okay. But I was sitting in the corner of my room in Chicago at the time, scrolling the news sharing this and then the social media reactions from Asian American communities I am part of or follow online. I recall feeling so upset that I didn't know how to let it out and I wasn't feeling okay to just go have dinner as if it was a normal day. I grabbed my iPad and immediately sketched out what I was feeling and thinking. I posted it on Instagram and spent the next couple of days connecting with people who saw, commented, or shared it. It helped me feel a little less alone, knowing that there were many out there who felt similarly to me.

I remember feeling even scared to post these images. Like, "oh, I can't post this" because other mass shootings happen and other marginalized groups get targeted and they "have it worse". It was just my inner brain telling me this, but that inner brain was also shaped by media narratives over the years. The truth is, Asian immigrant women have historically been made invisible and taught to also not speak up or advocate for themselves. A lot of factors compound together resulting in this. I see it up close in my Asian women, including queer and trans & non-binary, friends...the tendency to suppress oneself and put other people first, above themselves. Plus the world's tendency to not see Asian women as full human beings, invisibility results. These reflections led me to draw the comic:

The first version of the image --

3 years later, I am still reminding myself to take up space. That it's okay to take up space.