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Spoken Word Poetry 

Artist: Mike Cho, 28

Seoul, Korea

Ethnicity: Korean

For my project, I will be submitting a video of my Spoken Word Poem. My poem starts off by talking about the experience of a native Hawaiian from their perspective and transitions into the feeling of having to conform to society's standards as a result of colonization, and ends with a message of hope for the AANHPI community. Although I am not of Hawaiian decent, reading and researching about their stories and struggles broke my heart and helped me to empathize with their pain. From being occupied by the US, to the genocide of 1893, to their sovereignty and culture getting stolen, to barely surviving and stay afloat. The stories made me feel deep anguish and hurt for the native Hawaiian people. It led me to recall the painful experiences of my Korean parents and ancestors of when they were colonized by the Japanese and having to survive through the Korean War, revitalizing the country, and immigrating to the states for a better life. Many common issues regarding mental health and suicide tends to be considered taboo in Asian culture. Although our generation of people are speaking out about it more, culturally, it is still not spoken about as much as it should be. Writing and performing this poem is a way for me to be a voice, a story, an experience for the AANHPI community and to the world. My poem is also a message of healing for those who are hurt from cultural and societal pressures that lead to mental health issues and suicide. I hope that anybody that comes across my poem can come to a place where they accept who they are and own their roots. To not be ashamed of it despite the stereotypes and the misrepresentations of Asians in general in the media and society. But to proudly represent their heritage and ultimately love who they are. That is my message of hope.