i04 Allies


to those who need an ally

Letter From Exec Board

Dear reader,

Welcome to our fourth issue Allies! We are extremely

thankful for the community that we have built and

created throughout this past year - thank you so much

for your constant support.

To those of you who are new: welcome to AZN zine! We

are an online magazine dedicated to bridging the gaps

between Asian communities around the world. We strive

to connect creatives from around the world and create a

space to showcase their work.

In this issue, we explore what it means to be an ally. The

following pages show our team’s interpretations of an

ally and ways to practice allyship. While our experiences

are not the same, the BIPOC community faces the same

issue: fighting the system of oppression. Our team stands

in solidarity with the BIPOC community and will continue

to fight for justice. We hope that this issue can contribute

to educating those around us and serving as a safe


Please remember that your feelings are valid and that you

are supported.


AZN Zine Exec Board


Allyship to me means being selfless, empathetic, and supportive. It

doesnt have to center you in the conversation but it demands that

you to listen to and uplift the voices of those around you. – Cami

To me, allyship is a coordinated effort amongst the people

to uplift and support one another without bringing anybody

down. When a group is marginalized by society,

or undergoing any sort of systemic or systematic oppression,

it is the duty of privileged people and non

oppressed people to stand up, and uplift the voices of

marginalized people. – Pranav

Allyship has personally opened my eyes to a lot of

grief and upset happening in the world, but without

this ongoing journey I don’t think I would be the

person I am today. Allyship is a journey of patience,

unlearning rhetoric and re-learning to stand in solidarity

with a marginalised group. Allyship is the act

of acknowledging one’s position of privilege and using

that as a platform to amplify the voices of those

who don’t necessarily have that access. Allyship can

be a frustrating journey to watch unfold and people

will still make mistakes - I am also guilty of this - but

if it’s one more person who is willing to push away the

knowledge that has been previously imposed on them,

whether it’s from a “Westernised” school curriculum

or from the upbringing of traditionalist family; then the

journey is actually far more valuable. – Dawn

To me, allyship is supporting BIPOC movements and small

businesses. Standing up for your BIPOC peers in school and

whenever you can :) It is also doing your own research about

how you can support others. – Anon

Being able to support others that feel like they have no say/ are

trapped. Having each other’s back during times of challenge.

– Anon

It is a lifelong learning process that requires you to recognize

your privilege and unlearn any implicit biases you may

have. Part of allyship is listening to the voices of marginalized

communities and standing by their side without

expecting anything in return. – Christina

Allyship is the unity of all peoples. Without it, humans

as a whole will have trouble advancing in a variety

of contexts. On a personal level, it is easier to be

an ally; when you try to translate this to the global

scale, it may be harder because of the nature of

large-scale action. When allyship expands past the

bounds of individuals, we bring humanity closer to a

higher order of peace. – Anon

Allies are people who stand up for you and with you

even when it means they could be put at a disadvantage

(eg at work, school, etc) – Rebecca

Allyship means to be supportive while also being

open-minded and listening to other people’s voices and

opinions. It means to remove yourself from the situation

and to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and to show

empathy towards them. – Anon

Allyship is respecting others existence. Being an ally means supporting

and uplifting other communities. – Anon


We just sat in silence

left to think about what

we had witnessed.

During my summer vacation, I went to

visit the Manzanar Relocation Center,

located (ironically) in Independence,

California, a visit sandwiched between a

stop in Yosemite National Park and Las

Vegas. Even though I live on the East

Coast, my family decided to drive cross

country from New Jersey to California

and back because my younger sister

wasn’t vaccinated.

The area where we drove had no service,

so we had to use the radio. This was the

first time I ever heard a radio channel

from the AM station. Over and over, the

monotone voice repeated “Welcome to

Manzanar Park, the home of a Japanese

Internment camp. This site is open from

dawn to dusk. The visitor’s center is

on the right. Barracks are on the left...”

The park was closing down because we

arrived at the edge of dusk, so that was

the only sound I heard in the area.

At the very edge of the park stood a

memorial to the hundreds of thousands

of people who were interred in the park,

surrounded with paper cranes, coins,

and the footsteps of the many visitors

before. Once we left the park, there was

no laughing or ogling at trees or wild

animals running about. We just sat in

silence left to think about what we had


degree weather of the Californian desert

as the mountains taunt you miles away.

It’s one thing to read that there were

36 different sections in the camp, it’s

another to see that the graves at the

memorial site were not much different

from the rock signifying former buildings.

I guess the rocks symbolized not only

the destruction of the buildings, but of

the dreams, businesses, and dignity of

the people interred.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have

places such as Manzanar as National

Parks. But as Mark Twain said, “History

never repeats itself, but it does often

rhyme.” Now more than ever, we need

to understand our history so that we

can stand in solidarity, and ensure that

nothing similar can repeat again.

Text + Photos - Kayla Kim

Compared to the breathtaking cliffs of

Yosemite I saw earlier in my travels, this

National Park could have easily been

mistaken for a ghost town, complete

with tumbleweeds and dust storms.

It’s one thing to read about Japanese

internment in a U.S History class. It’s

another to step on the soil below the

skeletons of barracks and chicken

coops; to stand and sweat in the 100

allyship is a love language.

it says:

tell me what you need. i don’t know what to do

or say but i am here. at the ready. willing. no

criticism. no judgement. if you tell me to do

nothing i will do nothing. if you tell me to speak

i will lift my voice even if the wrong things

come out. no more will i be idle. no more will i

watch you suffer. i am here with you. here to

listen. here to fight. here to shoulder and make

up for battles i have missed, i may be late but

that won’t happen again. standing. holding.

bleeding. mobilizing. unpacking my own biases.

my own privilege. full-time. i will learn. unlearn.

disrupt systems of power. if you will

have me. or not. i’m doing the work.

- a poem by adrian michael | ig: @adrianmichaelgreen

Dawn Liu


Illustrator & Graphic Designer

Dawn Liu is currently undertaking a Master

of Communication Design at RMIT University,

Naarm (Melbourne). Whilst her main creative

practice is graphic design, she has been

producing illustrations since 2017. Dawn’s

illustrations have always taken a mystic route.

Stemmed from her fascination with fantastical

landscapes and otherworldly creatures, Dawn

enjoys exploring the idea of “what if” in her

illustrations. The illustration series presented in

AZN Zine was inspired by ancient Japanese

folklore and stories of the samurai. By weaving

aspects of our modern world into these

narratives, Dawn aimed to create a visual

storyscape that was recognizable and realistic

whilst lying in the realm of the unknown.

Instagram: @dwncreative

Website: www.dawnliu.com



On Science and the



When we speak about decolonizing science, I often

hear it in tandem with discussions about creating

equity in industries like healthcare and research—

advocating for equal treatment between white

people and POC and debunking inherently

unbalanced systems of health measurement like BMI.

However, this is only one small part of decolonizing

our thinking about science.

In Decolonizing Social Work, Opaskwayak Cree

researcher Shawn Wilson says that “it is not possible

to decolonize Western ideas or research concepts”

because this is an approach inherent to Western

thinking. Decolonization in research, he argues, isn’t

about breaking down Western thinking. Instead, it’s

about understanding that other cultures’ views of

reality and knowledge may be inherently different

from Western thinking and accepting them as

equally credible in the world of science and


Now, accepting other cultures doesn’t mean

validating their practices using Western standards.

Acceptance is not America adopting “exotic” East

Asian herbs into their mainstream culture. Instead, it

means that other cultures have underlying

philosophies and practices in their research

methodology that one may not find in Western


Wilson describes philosophy as a “belief system which

is not open to debate, to be proven or disproven,

but only needs to be articulated or described… for

most people, they are their underlying assumptions

about the nature of reality and how it is known and


Centralization of


One philosophy Wilson describes is that “Indigenous

People are not in relationships; they are

relationships.” And, as a result of this different

philosophy, Indigenist research requires researchers

to “build theoretical frameworks and methods

congruent with Indigenous belief systems.” This type

of research may include performing ceremonies or

consulting specific Elders as a part of their procedure.

And, while it may seem unorthodox, it doesn’t mean

that these practices are wrong—it only means that

these practices aren’t Western.

The reason this is so important is the same reason

why having a diverse workplace is an essential

component in finding success. When we are allowed

to see the world from different perspectives and

allowed to learn openly from each other’s unique

philosophies and similar experiences, we can open

our mind to greater forms of knowledge.

Of course, it can feel scary to do this. It can be so

easy to feel overwhelmed by all the world’s

possibilities. After all, we tend to ground ourselves

in knowledge. And when the steady truth begins to

crumble beneath our feet, it can be terrifying,

disorienting and even painful sometimes.

But, in adopting the thoughts of Mr. Wilson, people

are their relationships. When we refuse to move

forward and refuse to have anything but a narrowminded

view of the world, it’ll always find a way to

hurt the people we care about most. It’s difficult, but

no matter what, we owe it to the people we love to

approach ideas and live with a willing heart and an

accepting mind. And once we’re able to accept

that there are multiple truths, only then can we truly

open our hearts and stand by others’ sides.


Gray, M., Coates, J., Yellow, B. M., & Hetherington, T. (Eds.).

(2013). Decolonizing social work. ProQuest Ebook Central,




fiona h vuong

How can Asians show

solidarity with the Black community

as they fight against racism?

What does our community need when

we face discrimination?


with Scope G

[Gerry Sung]

I spoke with Vancouver hip hop artist

Gerry Sung, who performed as Scope G,

about the topic of allyship.

Interview by

Steve Zhang

Transcribed by

Christina Pan

Full podcast

on our site:




What role has hip-hop played in

your life?

Hip-hop has been my armor.

Growing up in the North Shore of

Vancouver, I was the only Asian

kid in my group. Hip-hop was

always an internal thing for me.

Everything I bottled up inside was

channeled out through hip-hop.

The combination of the music, the

beats, and just the basic tools used

to create it was always something I

was into.





I started having a speech

impediment around grade 6;

although it wasn’t something too

debilitating, I had a small stutter.

Hip-hop helped me speak on

things smoothly and freely.

Why do you think that so many

Asian people growing up out here

in the west, whether that’s in the

US or Canada, end up identifying

with something like hip-hop?

Because hip-hop is powerful, and

it comes from people who are

considered “others.” Asians have

always been oppressed because

we’re seen in submissive positions.

I think [Asians] saw the immense

strength in Black people and felt it

through their music. Hip-hop has

always been about power to the


Right, it’s a slow process, but this

transition, this journey of Asian

people slowly becoming more in

tune with what hip-hop culture really

is leads to the next question.

Given this day and age that we live

in right now, where do you think the

conversation on allyship falls?

Conversation has to happen. It has

to happen in order for people to

coexist. It is about being exposed

to other cultures, other people,

other stories. Our Black brothers

and sisters are in pole position in

terms of going up against the powers

that be, and I think Asians have

to support that and carve out our

own path too.

“It takes a pretty

long time to get

past that initial

stage of being


It takes a lot of

open discussions.

Having heavy

opinions is super

important, but so

is being mindful

of the other

end and having

empathy for other

people’s customs

and beliefs and



- Gerry Sung

I made this piece in the middle of a conversation

with an elementary school friend. We were

talking about our experiences as children of

Asian immigrants.

This is just a brain dump (hence the title), but it

has most—if not all—of my thoughts on the experiences

of immigrant children and the nature of


From the BTS lyrics to the text messages to the

Pinterest board imagery, this piece highlights

what I like to call the “child of Asian immigrants

arc”—that progression from shame and silence

regarding “Asian-ness” to pride and acceptance

that all children of Asian immigrants seem to experience

at some point.

It started in seventh grade. I wanted to change

my handwriting and start bullet journaling. I

wanted to wear Uggs and shop at Vineyard Vines

to match my prep school peers. Since then, I’ve

traded the Vineyard Vines for Uniqlo and have retired

my bullet journal in favor of a Notion page.

But I’ve held onto those parts of my identity and

have used them to help me grow.

I think the basis of allyship is understanding that

this type of growth exists within all members of

marginalized communities. As an ally, you make

room so that people can grow in such ways. I

don’t think I resent any part of my identity, but

the parts that I’ve since let go of in pursuit of new

things always seem to show up in my art later on.

“BRAIN DUMP” emma yang

acrylic on canvas, 2021

azn team


head of writing/editing:

head of design:

head of socials:





christina pan

clarisse lee

haneul ryou

cami kuruma

angelica marie bautista

aubrey unemori

claire wang

esther kim

kayla kim

nadya azzahra

pranav brahmbhatt

rebecca yong

steve zhang

adeline yu

brenda nguyen

dawn liu

emma yang

fiona huang vuong

sara lowe

theresa lee

brandon eng

ryan sun

anjali patel

elan you

erica dionara

hikaru tamashiro

ira swatimanish


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