to those who need an ally
Letter From Exec Board
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
AZN Zine Exec Board
AZNZINE ON ALLYSHIP
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.
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
AZNZINE ON ALLYSHIP
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
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.
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
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.
“DECOLONIZATION IN RESEARCH … ISN’T
ABOUT BREAKING DOWN WESTERN THINKING.”
On Science and the
BY: AUBREY UNEMORI || IG: @AU_BRIE808
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
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,
KID WITH RAINCOAT
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
I spoke with Vancouver hip hop artist
Gerry Sung, who performed as Scope G,
about the topic of allyship.
on our site:
What role has hip-hop played in
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
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
opinions is super
important, but so
is being mindful
of the other
end and having
empathy for other
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
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
head of writing/editing:
head of design:
head of socials:
angelica marie bautista
fiona huang vuong