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Asian ingredients delivered to your home + ballroom dancing as therapy: Your AAPI newsletter

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It is Thursday, Oct. 31, and this is The Sacramento Bee’s AAPI weekly newsletter brought to you by yours truly.

Here’s a recap on the stories I recently covered and issues I’m following:

Ballroom dancing and tai chi classes for seniors can improve fitness, create communities and reduce isolation – factors that can lower the risks of suicide. The suicide rate for Asian American men and women 65 or older is the second highest among all age groups for that demographic, following those between the ages of 15 and 24, according to 2016 data from the Office of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Asian Pacific Community Counseling is a nonprofit that focuses on mental health services to improve well-being for Sacramento’s AAPI community. Counselors from APCC have been organizing classes for eight years. Here’s my story about the lovely afternoon I spent visiting and speaking with participants in the classes.

Want authentic Asian ingredients delivered? In Sacramento, there’s now an app for that. Weee is an Asian e-grocery store that now delivers to Sacramento, the Bay Area and Seattle. Founder Larry Liu, who was a student in Davis, decided to work on an e-commerce shipping fresh produce, seasoning and prepackaged products from China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong.

In other news, a mountain skeleton found in the high Sierra Nevada may be Giichi Matsumura, a Japanese American who set out with other men from the internment camp at Manzanar on a trip but got caught in a summer snowstorm, the Associated Press reports. The 46-year-old gardener from Santa Monica was one of 120,000 Japanese Americans who were accused to be a threat to national security and were incarcerated during WWII.

On Capitol Hill, five members of Congress now celebrate the Indian festival of lights with feasts and family gatherings, including Ami Bera and Ro Khanna of California, The New York Times reports. Diwali, which honors the triumph of good over evil, is technically a Hindu festival that has become more of a cultural event.

“It’s a symbolic holiday that unites us as a diaspora,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois.

The NBA-China fight is personal for some Houston Rockets’ Asian American fans, NBC News reports. Other immigrant communities also demonstrated by buying tickets to the Rockets season opener to show support for the team’s general manager, Daryl Morey, who sent a tweet earlier this month in support of Hong Kong.

“We appreciate Mr. Morey, who stands for democracy,” Tram Ho told NBC News. “I was born in Vietnam, came here when I was 14 years old with my family, and I know what communism is like. So even though we are not from Hong Kong, we stand with them and for freedom.”

Pacific Islanders from Palau, the Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia must often go to extremes to retrieve key immigration records that are essential to accessing jobs, housing and even driver’s licences, because they are restricted from accessing immigration documents online after five years. Some who are living on the streets in Hawaii have been unable to work because they lost their I-94 documents. The Honolulu Civil Beat provides tips on how to avoid I-94 problems in the story.

Read this very cool story on a very cool Berkeley-based documentary project that tells the stories of California’s “donut kids” – most of them second-generation Cambodian American immigrants helping out at their families’ donut store as they grew up. More than 90 percent of the estimated 3,000 donut shops in California are independently owned, and around 80 percent are owned by Cambodian immigrant families. Follow the volunteer-run “Pink Box Stories” here. If you are curious why donut boxes in Southern California are pink, read the story here.

Du Tu Le, beloved Vietnamese poet who came to the U.S. as a refugee, passed away at his home in Garden Grove on Oct. 7. Le is one of six 20th century Vietnamese poets whose work was chosen for the anthology “World Poetry from Ancient Times to Today,” the L.A. Time’s Ann Do reports. He published 77 volumes of poetry, mirroring his age.

“He was a being who lived intensely, who created intensely, who put his strength and vulnerability into his work, into family and community,” his wife Tuyen Phan said. “Our lives are deeper, more meaningful having spent it with him, in his aura.”

For things to do, the Crystal City Texas Pilgrimage runs from today through Sunday, where participants will visit the Crystal City Internment Camp where 4,000 Japanese Americans and 2,300 prisoners of Japanese ancestry kidnapped from Peru and other Latin American countries were held in exchange for U.S. Citizens held in Japan. More information can be found here.

It is Mochi Madness in December! Mark your calendar for a mochi pounding demonstration and tasting event on Dec. 14 at Buddhist Church of Florin, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mochi is a sweet rice cake that traditionally symbolizes strength and a prosperous New Year. More information here.

Finally: What do you want to read about on Sacramento or California’s AAPI population or newsletter? What are you curious about? What topics do you want to see more coverage of? Do you have any questions that have been on your mind for a while? Send them to tyu@sacbee.com. That’s what I am here for.

That’s it for this week’s newsletter. Thank you for reading!

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Theodora Yu covers Asian American issues for The Sacramento Bee. She is a Hong Kong native and a Columbia Journalism School alumna with an interest in immigration and climate change issues.
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