AAPI Herstory: New York State Assemblywoman, Yuh-Line Niou, the First Asian American to Represent Manhattan’s Chinatown District, in Conversation with Nadya Okamoto

Cases of Covid-19 and xenophobia have begun to surge again in NYC. Watch as Nadya Okamoto sits down and chats about that and more with New York State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou.

Yuh-Line Niou immigrated to the United States from Taiwan when she was 6 months old. She grew up in many different states from Idaho, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. Growing up, she was not surrounded by a large Asian community (especially in Texas) and had to define for herself what it meant to be Asian American. In our conversation, Yuh-Line and I discuss searching for and embracing our own identities as Asian American women.

Fast forward to today, and Yuh-Line is still the only Asian American woman in the New York State Legislator representing NYC’s Assembly District 65 as a New York State Assemblywoman. Her district includes SE Seaport, the financial district, Battery Park, The Statue of Liberty, and Chinatown. She is also the first Asian American Assemblywoman to ever represent this district, which used to be Alexander Hamilton’s district – so basically the birthplace of America.

With the global pandemic this year, her district has been hit the hardest by racism/xenophobia, and right now she’s hyper-focused on her community’s recovery.

Keep up with Yuh-Line Niou on Twitter to follow her well-blazed trail.

AAPI Herstory is a series hosted by Nadya Okamoto, inspired by her academic work at Harvard with Dr. Vivian Shaw. Nadya Okamoto is the Founder of PERIOD and author of PERIOD POWER. The series is produced in partnership with the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS). The APAICS, through its Women’s Collective, aims to build a community that inspires and supports AAPI women to become politically engaged by leading the national conversation on AAPI women representation in politics, uplifting AAPI women in politics, creating resources and tools for AAPI women to increase representation in public service, and to connect leaders and stakeholders.


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