Two Seattle area high schoolers, 16-year-old Jeenah Gwak and 17-year-old Hope Yu, have created What We Experience, an all-digital magazine highlighting AAPI issues, Q13 News reports.
Gwak because inspired to create the magazine after visiting New York City last year, according to the Seattle Times. While walking through Times Square, she and her mom walked past a show promoter without hearing his pitch. Gwak recalls that the promoter shouted after them “Don’t speak English, huh?”
“Growing up in my ‘Bellevue Bubble,’ I’ve never had anyone assume that about me,” Gwak told the Seattle Times.
After the incident, Gwak noticed hate crimes reported on Asian American website NextShark, but not reported in mainstream news.
A year later, Gwak teamed up with Yu and others to create What We Experience. Yu previously volunteered alongside Gwak at an Asian American youth mental health organization called YouthKAN. The team published their first issue titled What We Experience – NOW. The debut issue covered timely AAPI stories with themes such as women’s issues and immigration stories.
“It’s a place to learn about new people and new experiences especially if you don’t have contact with a large Asian American community,” Yu told Q13 News. “No matter what race or ethnicity, and gender identity or sexual orientation you are, you will find somewhere in that writing and be like hey, I relate to that.”
Q13 News reports that What We Experience has an audience of up to 800 readers worldwide. With the popularity of the magazine online, Gwak hopes to print physical issues in the future.
What We Experience is accessible at whatweexperiencemag.com. The online magazine’s third issue is the latest to be released its fourth issue set to be released in June. Issue four will focus on gender and sexuality issues in the AAPI community.
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