Excerpt from May 10 list by Good Morning America
Michelle Kwan nominates Sung Yeon Choimorrow
Sung Yeon Choimorrow fights for the dignity and rights of Asian American and Pacific Islander women and girls like no other activist I’ve seen. Her background in community organizing shines through in her commitment to building power with AAPI women and girls. As the executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, she has led the movement to build a grassroots base of AAPI women and girls nationwide, collectively working toward increased visibility, shattering stereotypes, and creating policy and structural change for our communities — building unprecedented power for us. NAPAWF’s motto is “Be seen. Be heard. Be fierce.” But, as I’ve worked with Sung Yeon in our efforts to end violence against AAPI women, I’ve come to see that those words are also a personal motto for her. When she learned about the killing of six AAPI women in Atlanta on March 16, Sung Yeon led NAPAWF into action. She publicly mourned and honored the victims. She ensured that NAPAWF’s members and staff had safe spaces to process the tragedy and support in responding to it. And she took her concerns to Washington, where the White House has responded with improved policies, including investments in the AAPI community, language access and tens of millions of dollars allocated to community-based services that center women. Sung Yeon has also taken care to correct the narrative about AAPI women — speaking out against racism and sexism. She made the devastating point that the AAPI women killed in Atlanta were victims not only of anti-Asian hate, but of a brand of racialized misogyny that’s been directed at AAPI women long before the pandemic. Her message has resonated with so many of us: 78% of AAPI women have been affected by anti-Asian racism in the past two years, according to a study released by NAPAWF. Sung Yeon has challenged all Americans to see AAPI women as our full, multilayered selves. As Sung Yeon says, she is not Asian today and a woman tomorrow, not an immigrant today and a mom tomorrow. She is all of those things, all the time. Sung Yeon is on a mission to ensure that all AAPI women and girls can thrive as the whole human beings that we are.