Ryan Takemiya

Meet Ryan Takemiya

Founder & Executive Director, RAMA: www.gostudiorama.com

Representing National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum

"NAPAWF is the only national, multi-issue Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women's organization in the country. NAPAWF's mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for API women and girls."

If you win the title of Mr. Hyphen, what do you hope to accomplish in your year-long reign?

By supporting artists and performers through my organization Rama, by giving inspirational lectures, and by collaboration with API orgs all across the bay, I seek to inspire Asian
Americans everywhere to WALK TALL. It's my mission to create an Asian American Arts Movement that will create a new artistic identity for our community and that will give us the dignity and self-respect to hold our heads high and join together to fight for what we deserve. It's time we stopped envying those who walk with a purpose, and started doing so ourselves!

In my year-long reign as Mr. Hyphen, I would use the title to draw attention to numerous causes, most notably the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), the Rama Arts Movement, and find ways to connect these and other organizations in the Bay to make them stronger. I feel that many API orgs are suffering due to low turnout, low donations, low interest from young Asian Americans, and just low involvement in general. In my opinion this problem is due to the dichotomy between concerned Asian Americans and activists who are willing to fight for their community, and Asian Americans who are more concerned with participating in mainstream American society rather than fighting against it.

Those who participate in mainstream American society are doing so for a number of reasons, but I feel that the most pervasive of these is acceptance. Activists fight the system for rights, but the rest of the community supports the system because they think they will be accepted by it (which has proven false time and again throughout history). But what they really want (and what everyone is fighting for) is FREEDOM. The freedom to be whoever they want to be, the freedom to do whatever they want to do. Young Asian Americans don't feel that they can find that freedom within the Asian American community (and within Asian American culture), and have been duped into thinking that they can find it within mainstream American culture.

All we have to do then, is to show Asian Americans that they can find the freedom, the acceptance, and the coolness they seek WITHIN the Asian American community and culture, WITHIN Asian American activism, and WITHIN Asian American causes and movements. If we can do this, then Asian Americans will mobilize, donate, and join in droves and we will be an unstoppable force for good.