Harvard Asian Alumni Summit 2014

Storytellers Captivate Summit-goers at VOICES Finale. And the Winners Are…

by Jane Bock ’81

A stolen bike.  An Asian superhero.  A confrontation at a racist Hasty Pudding show.  The six VOICES finalists captivated a rapt crowd at the Summit’s Storytelling Slam with tales of the pain and tyranny of stereotypes, the love and hardships of Asian parents, and Asian American journeys both personal and profound.

Including an undergrad, a med student, College and Graduate School alums, and a faculty member, the storytellers brought the audience to tears and laughter and tears again with their “true stories, well told”. (Click on links below to view their stories.)

Connie Chung (“Daughters of Pyongyang”), John Lian (“Street Justice”), and Josephine Kim (“Asian Parents Love Differently”) won the top prizes of $5,000, $2,000, and $1,000, with John also earning the $500 audience prize.

The audience showed its love as well for Michael Hsieh (“My Coming of Age as a Warrior for Asian American Issues”click here to view historical documents related to Mike’s story), Min-Woo Park (“Captain Horizon”)and Vidya B.Viswanathan (“My Asian-American Rebellion”).

Host Ellie Lee AB ’92, acclaimed Moth storyteller and independent filmmaker, shared her own story with the audience during the deliberations of  the four distinguished judges: Michelle Chen AB ’99, Producer, Thirteen/WNET NY Public Media; Ju Yon Kim, Assistant Professor, English, Harvard; Darshak Sanghavi AB ’92, physician, healthcare columnist, bestselling author; and Julie Wu AB ’88, author, The Third Son, and physician.  Ellie and the judges praised the courage and literary skill of each of the storytellers.

Additional contributors to VOICES included the 34 entrants who submitted written and taped stories, 14 first-round and semifinal judges, a committee chaired by Jane Sujen Bock ’81 and Xiao Yu ’15, event chairs Dana Wang, HMS, and Franklin Zhao ’09, and sponsors The Tannery, Cambridge Trust Company, The Coop, Dumpling House and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

Watch the videos of each speaker tell their story on Youtube!

Thank you to all for an astonishingly moving event!