Our Story

Red Envelope Stories was started in 2020 by three college students from Brown who want to create an online platform to collect and share stories grappling with the modern Asian diasporic identity. The idea behind the project came from the concept that stories are precious gifts that allow you to reflect and connect with others. We aim to highlight a wide array of Asian voices and deliver them straight to your inbox in short, digestible stories, an easy way to get your weekly dose of real Asian narratives in this world saturated with misrepresentation and stereotypes. 

 

Every Wednesday at 6 PM EST, our newsletter features three stories around a seasonal theme and central question. Later, select submissions will be published to our website archives. 

 
 

Meet the Curators

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Michelle: What parts of me do I count as “Asian?” From attending a private Christian elementary school to moving to a predominantly Indian township, I’ve tried to answer this question. Consistently, a place where I’ve found answers about my identity and culture is in books. Some of my favorites are Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong, American-born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, and The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. These writers have allowed me to connect to different worlds that feel so personal to my own. I hope our newsletter can bring you the same comfort and insights in an accessible reading format.

 

Caitlin: The one thing that has consistently connected me to my Asian heritage is food. Every celebration would feature my extended family gathered around a table filled with Asian cuisine. My favorite Asian dish is the Filipino rice dessert, suman. As someone who is multiethnic (Filipino, Chinese, Irish, Russian, Spanish, Welsh…), I exist in the amorphous gray space between being Asian and non-Asian. I’m learning to realize that being “Asian” transcends a single definition. I am Asian and —. And I hope this newsletter can showcase these intersectionalities. 

Alec: I was raised by traditional Chinese parents in an international community in Shanghai where race did not exist. I only became "Asian" when I came to America, a country that demands definitions and preys on hesitation. In the process of finding the words to explain my culture and upbringing, I gained a newfound sense of pride and belonging. Other times, however, I catch myself flaunting my “otherness,” bundling complex, nuanced aspects of my identity into more flavorful, digestible tropes. America insists that our narrative only exists once it has been told. I still grapple with the words to describe mine, and I hope RES gives you space to tell yours. 

Our purpose

We want to amplify Asian voices, of all backgrounds and perspectives. 

The Asian identity is frequently perceived as a monolith. East-Asian narratives often take up the most space in the room and are recognized as the homogenous Asian identity. We want to create a space for all Asian voices. 

 

We deserve a stronger community. 

Have you ever been in a room full of people, but singled out the only other Asian in the room as your sole competitor? Why do we often hold our fellow Asians to higher standards than we would to other races: as classmates, friends, SOs? 

 

We, as curators, recognize our limitations.

We are three college-educated Asians, with immigrant parents who attained some form of the American Dream. We have privileged voices, and we recognize that Asian activism as a whole is heavily skewed towards well-educated, wealthy, and successful voices. As curators then, it is our mission to highlight stories from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Email us at redenvelopestories@gmail.com for further inquiries!

Featured in The Boston Globe, CBS, Rhode Island Public Radio and more. 

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