Asian Americans in the Heartland Celebrated in New Book

by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang /
Dr. Sook Wilkinson, Co-Editor with Victor Jew of “Asian Americans in Michigan—Voices from the Midwest” and former chair of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, at the Wayne State University Press book launch party last week in Detroit with book cover
Dr. Sook Wilkinson, Co-Editor with Victor Jew of “Asian Americans in Michigan—Voices from the Midwest” and former chair of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, at the Wayne State University Press book launch party last week in Detroit with book cover

A new book, Asian Americans in Michigan--Voices from the Midwest, is taking a closer look at Asian Americans in the heartland, where because of small numbers, the community's experience is vastly different from that on the coasts, and where cross-cultural multiethnic and multiracial coalitions and community groups have always been a reality. This is the first book to collect a large number of contemporary Asian American voices in Michigan and the Midwest.

“Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the state of Michigan. Yet, it’s also an often forgotten group in the discourse of black-white dichotomy,” former chair of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission Dr. H. Sook Wilkinson who co-edited the book with Victor Jew told NBC News. “With the increasing number of businesses owned by Asian Americans and their ever expanding buying power, the book can serve as a reference to all those who care to learn about their neighbors and customers.”

Dr. Sook Wilkinson, Co-Editor with Victor Jew of “Asian Americans in Michigan—Voices from the Midwest” and former chair of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, at the Wayne State University Press book launch party last week in Detroit
Dr. Sook Wilkinson, Co-Editor with Victor Jew of “Asian Americans in Michigan—Voices from the Midwest” and former chair of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, at the Wayne State University Press book launch party last week in DetroitFrances Kai-Hwa Wang for NBC News

According to the 2010 US Census, there were 289,607 Asians in Michigan, alone or in combination, making up 2.9 percent of Michigan’s population, an increase of 39 percent from 2000.

With a foreword by law professor Frank H. Wu and an afterword by author Bich Minh Nguyen, this book promises to be a significant text for Asian American Studies in the Midwest as it brings together 41 writers from across the wide range of Michigan’s Asian American population—people with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Cambodian, Laotian, Filipino, Thai, Vietnamese, and Hmong heritages—as well as differences in age, generation, and professions. These writers examine the history and legacies of Michigan’s Asian American communities, personal experiences of community culture and heritage, and prospects and hopes for the future.

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Note: Frances Kai-Hwa Wang has written a chapter in this book.

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