Asian Heritage Month: The Story of Us – Origins [Part 1]

We asked Asian Millennials to share their origin stories of how they got to where they current call home.

We all have a story; a story of how it all began.

As Asian Millennials, our stories are unique snippets of history that intersect with more than just ourselves. For Asian Heritage Month, we’re diving into these stories and reflecting on our own backgrounds — and how they brought us to where we are today. It’s time to explore our origins, our traditions and what we hope for in the future.

Just like our favourite superheroes, an origin story shows the start of our personal journey. A call for submissions was made for Asian Millennials to share their origin stories of how they got to where they current call home.

Read some of their stories in Part 1 of our Asian Heritage Month Campaign – The Story of Us: Origins.

Sandra Nomoto – @sandranomoto

Photo Submitted by Sandra Nomoto

I was born in Montreal in 1982. At that time, my father’s parents and siblings had immigrated from the Philippines. Four months after I was born, my father was hired at a computer electronics company in Vancouver and we moved there.

Julie Tu – @julie.also & @umbrellafree

Photo Submitted by Julie Tu

My parents escaped the Khmer Rouge and moved to Indiana after being sponsored by a local church.

Matthew Federe@mefedere &

Photo Submitted by Matthew Federe

My family decided to move from the Castillejos, Zambales, Philippines, to find a better life. My Dad came to the States and served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, and my mom found work primarily in San Jose.

Jon Chiang – @jonchiang

Photo Submitted by Jon Chiang

My parents were born in Lima, Peru, to parents who were from Guangzhou. Because of terrorist attacks in the 80s, my paternal grandparents fled to Vancouver. On a visit from Peru to Vancouver, my mom reconnected with my dad and they got married!

Jacqueline Lee – @thejaquilee

Photo Submitted by Jacqueline Lee

My uncle was the first to come to Canada. He had five dollars in his pocket and worked at a gas station for twenty years. He gave us all the courage to come here after him. Now he’s a property manager and owns a charity, but he’s been through a lot.

Matthew Murtagh -Wu@therealdumplingking

Photo Submitted by Matthew Murtagh-Wu

My father was the second oldest (he had an older sister) and he was the oldest boy. He was sent to Canada to get a better education and have more opportunity for work and a new life. He was the second Chinese ever at a boarding school in Victoria, B.C.

Cecillia Huang – @huesthatgrl

Photo Submitted by Cecillia Huang

My parents felt like there were more job opportunities in North America and they wanted a good education for me.

Kittima Raksarat – @Kittrak

Photo Submitted by Kittima Raksarat

My mom met a Canadian man and we moved from Thailand to Canada for a brighter future for me.

Steven Ngo – @stevennogo

Photo Submitted by Steven Ngo

My parents left their countries to seek a better life in Canada for themselves and future generations. My dad was a refugee from Vietnam and my mom was an immigrant from China.

Tiffani Lee – @teefleee

Photo Submitted by Tiffani Lee

My mom immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong after her older brothers went first to find work and a place to live. She came to Canada and entered high school in Grade 10 barely knowing any English. My dad was a refugee from Laos and the oldest son of 9 siblings. Luckily, they received sponsorship from a local church that was willing to take them all. He worked extremely hard to help raise his siblings.

Each of these incredible snippets are different from one another. The experience of our families, friends, and relatives are all unique with challenges that they had to overcome. Exploring our origins helps us better understand and to discover something new about each other

Our stories may not be the same but they brought us to where we are now

Call To Action

We want to hear from you! What is your origin story? Share a photo of yourself or your family online with a caption about why your family decided to make the move to where you currently call home and tag @coldteacollective with the hashtag #coldteaAHM. We’d love to hear about your experiences.

Stay Tuned for The Story of Us: Traditions later this month. Follow us on social to stay up to date on when Part 2 will go live.

Making Asian American media

We believe that our stories matter – and we hope you do too. Support us with a monthly contribution to help ensure stories for us and by us are here to stay.


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People chatting at the Making It documentary screening.

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