kartika review: the 500 project

Kartika Review, a national Asian American literary arts journal, has partnered up with award-winning poet Bryan Thao Worra to launch The 500 Project, an initiative to answer the question: Does Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) literature matter to you?

The correct answer is yes.

They're on a mission to find at least ten APIA individuals from each of the fifty states -- 500 total -- to be featured on on Kartika's 500 Project website. The project was born out of a conversation on whether APA literature is still relevant today, and not just on the coasts, but across the United States:
We are in a time when there is a vocal demand for diverse voices, and yet APIA writers are hard-pressed to find the same passionate, sustaining demand that mainstream writers or genre fiction enjoy. That presents a contradiction, one we writer activists cannot ignore, and one that we should respond to loudly, proudly, from every storied corner of Earth.

In Thao Worra's home state of Minnesota, there are over 60 ethnic communities tracing their heritage to Asia or the Pacific Islands. These communities thrive across the United States, coast to coast. For each of these communities, writers must ask: Can't we find, among all of those thousands, 10 individuals who are passionate about Asian American literature, writer activists who will express without equivocation that Asian American literature matters?

For each of the 50 states, there must be at least 10 Asian / Pacific Islander Americans that answer yes. And thus Thao Worra, joined by Kartika Review seek out those 500. Why should it be so hard to identify them and build a vibrant, amazing network of readers and writers? How can a canon of contemporary Asian American literature be built if we cannot even find these 500?

And so our quest begins.
So they're putting the call out. I'm sure they'll have no problem finding respondents from California and New York... But what about everywhere in the middle? Will they find at least ten APA writer activists in Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, etc.?

I say yes. Why the hell not? For more information, and to find out how to submit your profile to The 500 Project, go to the Kartika Review website here. They'll be keeping an updated running tally of profiles received from all fifty states. Represent!

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