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5 part Documentary Asian Americans wins Peabody

Arguably the most comprehensive documentary ever produced on the history of Asian Americans has been awarded the prestigious Peabody in the documentary category.

The five part series Asian Americans aired on PBS in May 2020 and is produced by Renee Tajima-Pena in association with the Center for Asian American Media, ITVS and WETA.

“Renee Tajima-Peña’s five-part documentary series is an ambitious start toward the push for a deeper racial consciousness around the fastest growing group in the United States,” the jurors said in its announcement. “From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the internment of Japanese Americans, from the murder of Vincent Chin in 1982 to the targeting of South Asian Americans after 9/11, and from hostilities toward Vietnamese refugees to the burning of Koreatown after the L.A. riots, Asian Americans have long been regarded as America’s perpetual immigrants and foreigners within.

“The series asks us to consider who gets to be at the center of these American stories, offering the requisite national, ethnic, religious, political, linguistic, and cultural diversity that make up Asian American communities across the country today. For its revelatory storytelling as a demonstration of activism and solidarity in the American story and fight for justice and dignity, Asian Americans wins a Peabody.”

AsAmNews Coverage of Asian Americans:

Pt 1: PBS Breaking Ground with Asian Americans

Pt 2: Where do Asian Americans fit in? A Question of Loyalty

Pt 3: Good Americans

Pt 4: Asian Americans were a generation rising in new PBS documentary

Pt 5: Asian Americans break through

The film follows the personal stories of Asian American trailblazers and focuses a new lens on the role Asian Americans have played in U.S. history. It begins with the first wave of Asian immigrants in the 1850s and takes viewers all the way through the social and cultural turmoil of the twentieth century.

“In this most challenging of years for Asian Americans and all Americans, our partnership shone bright the very best of PBS and the public television community, at a time needed most,” said Stephen Gong, CAAM Executive Director.

The series executive producers are Jeff Bieber for WETA; Stephen Gong and Donald Young for CAAM; Sally Jo Fifer for ITVS; and Jean Tsien. The producer for Flash Cuts is Eurie Chung. The episode producers are S. Leo Chiang, Geeta Gandbhir and Grace Lee. 

“We are so proud to support Asian Americans in a time of escalating xenophobia and urgent need to shift the narrative,” said Sally Jo Fifer, ITVS President & CEO.

“It is an honor to amplify and encourage a positive message of equality and demonstrate support for the Asian American communities,” said said Jeff Bieber, executive producer for WETA.

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