Passing the BALL we are in this together

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Campaign Materials

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New “Nile of the North” Initiative features
“Bicultural Healthy Living” framework

By: Ange Hwang

Asian Media Access (AMA) has joined forces with North Minneapolis’ community gardeners and other food sector leaders to start a new initiative – “Nile of the North,” which is a vision of creating a fertile green valley as a self-sufficient neighborhood in North Minneapolis. It is the result of years of community work and the BALL (Bicultural Active Living Lifestyle) Campaign, led by AMA and the Multi-Cultural Community Alliance (MCCA) committee, which have identified the most pressing food needs facing low-income immigrant/refugee, and African-American communities.

People of Color have experienced higher incidence of chronic diseases, higher mortality rates, and poorer overall health outcomes compared to Caucasians. MN is no exception, is even worse in many areas – MN has the highest disparity rate in education, employment, housing and in various health indicators through out the Nation between Blacks and Whites. The Food Trust released a report – “Food for Every Child (2012),” that painted a bleak picture of food access in MN. It found that Minnesota has fewer supermarkets per capita than most states, and that as a result the state’s residents—particularly those in lower-income and high-risk communities—face greater challenges finding fresh produce and other healthy foods. In order to solve these challenges, the Multi Cultural Community Alliance (MCCA) has planned together for the past few years, and proposed a new Initiative – Nile of the North – to expand the impact of our successful BALL campaign beyond physical exercise into community gardens and Vertical Farming, as well as geographic expansion to better serve targeted immigrant and refugee communities beyond Northside.

The Nile of the North project will build on MCCA’s success and extensive network of partnerships in the community. This Initiative will foster a unique cross-cultural, inter-generational approach to addressing these issues. The goals are to increase access to fresh, culturally-appropriate, and nutritious foods in a diverse low-income community, and to establish strong cross-cultural partnerships that can build on community assets to ensure sustainability and self-sufficiency within a “Bicultural Healthy Living” framework.

Asian Media Access will take the lead within MCCA to address these needs at the targeted low-income neighborhoods, with a special focus on immigrant and refugee members through a bicultural lens, with the below key tasks: 1) Expand existing urban farming and community gardening production, with a focus on culturallyspecific crops; 2) Pilot a Vertical Farming Lab as a demonstration site for efficient production with limited space; 3) Foster cross-cultural and inter-generational learning through incorporating both traditional and innovative growing methods; and 4) Engage diverse communities in developing a collective infrastructure to meet long-term food needs. “Nile of the North” will establish a new MCCA Advisory Committee with representation from community stakeholders to ensure sustainability. By working with cross-sector partners we will increase community cohesion around local food needs, avoid duplication of efforts, build on cultural assets and develop shared resources to ensure long-term food security for our most vulnerable populations.

As our community elder – Michael Chaney (Project Sweetie Pie) has indicated –

“Our strongest card is our collective cross cultural connection. It is unique, it is collaborative, it is transforming, and community building. We can’t continue to live in communities as strangers. We are a community of strangers not neighbors. We need to start learning from one another, communicating with one another, building with one another through Nile of the North.”

We welcome more partners and feedback to perfect the Nile of the North, please contact our ED Ange Hwang at for more info or you may call (612)-376-7715.

Download the PDF

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December BALL Announcements:


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1. AMA’s BALL Campaign Received High Remarks

Asian Media Access has launched the “Bicultural Active Living Lifestyle” (BALL)
Campaign, with a Guerrilla Marketing approach, heavily relying on street arts and “Surprising” elements through youth rap songs and hip hop dances to spread the messages. AMA youth has actively engaging in creating and choreographing to express the bicultural messages.

Although street arts has long been associated with gang culture, it also has a strong current of activism and subversion in such urban arts, and there is a calling to incorporate these elements into today’s youth activities, so youth can be effectively reached in their own communication styles. It takes the modus of Survival that exists on the Street (the aggressive, capitalist nature) merged with the ideas of Community (crew and posse code ethics), the use of painting, music, and dance as functional items to communicate (graffiti, hip hop, breakdancing respectively), in order to create a channel to give actual words to the cries of the youth. But more importantly through these social engagements, youth are empowered with the critical thinking, analytical, and marketing skills that they need to succeed in the future.

Additionally, AMA has been providing training throughout town about our above Storytelling Engagement methods. Using a nontraditional approach to data collection, AMA worked with diverse community groups to gather cultural
perspectives on the healthcare system in Minnesota. Last training we have done – MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITY HEALTH STORIES at Nov. 16 at MN Dept. of Health. AMA’s Training supports the participants to learn about new approach to data collection and community engagement, understand how to analyze the qualitative data from community members’ experiences with health and health care, and gain insight into engaging limited English audiences.

Asian Media Access has utilized below creative ways to engage with communities to promote BALL:

• Arts Collage
• Messages on the Sidewalk
• One Sentence Reflection Writing
• Photo Booth with an Attitude
• Sticky Notes on Van
• Story Circle – Community Gathering
• Storybird Poetry – web based postcard
• Video/Radio Interview[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][image alt=”39th Annual MN Hmong New Year Celebration” href=”” title=”39th Annual MN Hmong New Year Celebration” info_content=”” lightbox_caption=”” id=”” class=”” style=”” src=”3370″][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#4f6a35″]

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2. Successfully showcased the “Bicultural Healthy Living” concept through Asian Dances at the 39th Annual MN Hmong New Year Celebration at St. Paul RiverCentre

Asian Media Access’ Asian Dance Teams have done well at the 39th Annual MN Hmong New Year Celebration at St. Paul RiverCentre. Our sponsored Kia Xiong’s Younger Dance Team has won the 1 st place at the Division A. Our Older Dance Team – Ascending Venus has not placed, bur their new FUSION Style Dance – mixing with Acrobatic, Chinese, Hmong, and Modern Dance styles have won the hearts of the Audience.

Different than the traditional dance costume design, Ali has used Silk, and Satin with imprinted flower patterns – a very different kind of dance fabrics choices, than your regular chiffon. But the result is amazing, not only it showcases the grace of the movements, but it gives the elegance and layering effects other fabric won’t provide. Ali even designed each fairy separately with their unique flower features and dancer’s personality, instead seeing A flower fairy, you see – Lotus, Narcissus, Orchid, Peony, and Plum Blossom Fairies. Armed with such beautiful costumes, our Dance Choreographer Mintshis has brought the standard even higher, not like other staged works – taking other people’s choreographed pieces, she has designed the two dances with original music, unique movements and formations, adding on each dancer’s own characteristics, to create the breadth-taking pieces and make our dancers shine on the stage.

AMA has joined our partner – Iny Asian Dance Theater (IADT) to host a holiday show – Winter Wonder at Dec. 18, at Concordia College. Armed with newly won 1st place and 3rd place titles at the Hmong New Year Celebration. IADT put on a wonderful show with 20+ dances ranging from Children animal dances, to traditional Southeast Asian Dances to Tibetan Dance, with more than 120 dancers, as young as 6 years old. Special this year are 2 solo male dances – one is Elephant Dance (performed by Sean thai); and Qeej Dance (Performed by Yangchee Yang), both dances not only are choreographed by the dancers themselves, along with their own costume design and music mixing, a true reflection of IADY’s commitment to nurture the next generation.

Another fascinated performance is the Yi dance, creatively fusion with acrobatic movements, this dance has mixed complicated dance formations, with explosive physical power, successfully performed by the Dancing Mist Team. And the youngest group – Rainbow also puts up a happy dance – Gold Fish Fan Dance, not only the beautiful lighting effects highlighting the dance formations, the young dancers waiving the fans as their fins, and dressing in golden fish costume has won every audience’s heart.

If you missed this wonderful performance, check out Asian Media Access’ Flicker Album
or visit

Our strategy is to emphasis on arts involvement, cultural pride and parent involvement as motivations for youth to be proud of themselves, express themselves through arts, and participate and exercise more through cultural exercises. By wearing beautiful costume, 
listening to traditional music, stepping into ancient footsteps, it gives youth a sense of self- esteem, and cultural identity other arts/sports may not offer, along with strong parents’ 
support in preserving the cultural/arts traditions. SUP project not only supports the mission of National Arts and Humanities Awards, but also supports White House Initiative’s Let’s Move!: empowering parents, improving access to healthy foods, and increasing 
physical activity. AAPIs used to live in a culture that promotes self-sustaining, workout according to seasons, and simple living philosophies. Therefore, we support our youth with Asian dances and other enhancement classes, such as: Balanced Asian Cooking, to respect the traditional culture their parents held on to and rediscover the beauty of Asian arts and cultures, and live in a simple and positive lifestyle.

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Bi-Cultural Parenting Class: Not Too Late to Join!

Asian Media Access is hosting a series of classes on Bi-cultural parenting for Southeast Asian parents called: “Helping Youth Succeed: Bicultural Parenting for Southeast Asian Families” at Patrick Henry High School.

The curriculum was developed at the University of Minnesota by professor, Blong Xiong.

The class will be focusing on themes during the 7 weeks class and teaching the parents valuable ways to navigate the two different cultures that affect their relationship with their children.

They have already learned about Bi-cultural Active Living Lifestyle and how this initiative could benefit them as they examine how to enhance their understanding and find humor in it.

Using arts and reflection brought about the collage and the I statements: I am more than what you see & I am still under construction and much more.

The parents will continue to learn about topics like understanding and self-care through stories of other immigrants having to face the same issues. Story telling will be a powerful tool in their learning.

Our teacher and interpreter: Maya Park and Mina Thao have done an excellent job involving the parents and adding their own stories with their children as well.

Please contact Tie Oei at OR 612-376-7715.

Download the PDF

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