Note K. Suwanchote, 20’s
Current Role: Director
What racial, ethnic, cultural community or communities do you identify with?
Asian, and more specific, Thai.
When and how did your family come to the United States? Where were you born?
Via flight in 1995. I was born in Bangkok.
What are the strengths and challenges of being Asian, Asian American, and/or Pacific Islander?
Looking at being A/AA/PI as a general community, I think one of the greatest strengths also happens to be one of the most challenging and that revolves around tradition. How do you balance tradition while looking towards the future? I think tradition provides Asian/Asian American and/or Pacific Islander with unity across generations and boundaries while also creating an artificial barrier.
Externally a challenge that stands out in terms of being A/AA/PI in America revolves around being heard— we're invisible. We're rarely in the media that that carries pros/cons. I think other groups tend to look at Asians as a model minority but the lack of representation regulates us as being the perpetual other. It makes it harder to find roles that deal with representation and media, date, and essentially integrate.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I had gotten the Critic's choice in 2013 for a video I did about my parents and their business at Pike Place Market. When I was younger, I found it embarrassing to have parents who had their own small business and one at Pike Place Market. But as I grew older, I came to the realization of how special and unique that is. And that became something I was incredibly proud of, and often use as a source of inspiration and strength. Thus in some ways, that video was not only a representation and reflection of that belief.
What is one thing you learned or appreciate from your family growing up?
Compassion, integrity, and creativity.
Growing up, my brothers and I were instilled with a strong sense of compassion and integrity. Being an immigrant, you learn to appreciate what it's like to struggle from the bottom but throughout my experiences, it's unusual to meet people that are still compassionate about someone else's condition. I tend to see folks that regulate someone else's misfortune to a lack of this or that but in reality, you don't get the same opportunity across the board. Yes, you can be prepared for opportunities but sometimes it comes down to factors out of your control. I read an article about this once and that's reinforced that notion.
My childhood was unusual in the sense that my parents supported whatever endeavor my brothers and I chose. We were often asked: are you happy/content with what you're doing? From my experiences with talking to my other Asian friends—but not limited to just Asian parents—their parents or guardian often heavily guide their choices towards a path revolving around the medical, engineer, or lawyer field. My parents faced similar situations while growing up and vowed to not let that happen to their kids. And for that, I'm immensely proud and immeasurably grateful.
Do you speak your family's native language? Why or why not?
Yes. My parents wanted us to understand our heritage and spoke different languages between the two, to each of my brothers and I. I'm thankful for that because it provided us with a greater connection to our heritage while expanding our ability to have multifaceted perspectives.
What advice do you have for the younger generations in our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community?
Balance tradition with the future. Tradition doesn't matter if there's no one to observe it, yet one of the hallmarks of the human experience is the one drawn from our vast histories.
What gives you the greatest joy in life?
Are there any projects you have created that you'd like to share and promote?
It's a compilation of some works in general.
If you would like to share your voice as a person of color, please read the directions and fill out this form here. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome. Thank you!
Who are we?
Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander voices in our communities.
This is a section for AAPI specifically because, coming from our Khmer culture, we often feel invisible in various spaces from school to the media.
We want to show the ways in which we are the same and different, and that all of our backgrounds and experiences are valuable to learn and celebrate. Let's uplift each other!
Want to share your voice?
To be featured, read the directions and fill out this form. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome.
Charles Calvino Hang
Danielle Bopha Khleang
Emma S. Buchanan
Firda Amalia Herryanddhy
Grace Bora Kim
Justin Cardona (JCool)
Kaitlin Kamalei Brandon
Krystal M. Chuon
Lina (Spring Roll Fever)
Mei Mei Long
Melissa Khoeum Barnett
Note K. Suwanchote
Sam "Smushipig" Javier
Samrach Sar, Esq.
ចាប សាត Sath Chap