Interview with Ting Ting Li

The Asian Articles
6 min readJun 7, 2021

conducted by Misthi Mishra

Q: Please Introduce yourself!

Hi, my name is Ting Ting, I am a sophomore in High School. My pronouns are she/her. I am the Co-Founder/CEO/Web Director of Asian Advocates.

Q: For our readers, could you please describe what your organization is and what you do?

Asian Advocates is a youth-led organization that was founded 1 year ago. Our mission is to provide a voice for the Asian community and shine light on all the culture and achievements that the community had brought forth to the world while also educating the public and bringing awareness to all the racism and xenophobia that has been targeted at the AAPI community. We do this through our motto of “Inform, Respond, and Empower”. This is to ensure that our community is no longer ignored or forgotten and all the issues surrounding the AAPI community are not continuously swept under the carpet.

Q: What inspired you to start Asian Advocates?

I will say I have had this idea of running an Asian Advocacy Organization for quite a long time but, what got me started in the process of building this organization was seeing the rise of all the Anti-Asian hate crimes and no one addressing it. It brought up my passion for advocacy and my love for the AAPI community. I just put the two together since I thought “no one else will bring this up, so I will”. As a person who has faced racism before and still am, it is really important to speak up and speak our minds and not be quelled by the “model minority” myth. So, I got in contact with a friend of mine who is the other co-founder, Francis, and we started a whole organization, Asian Advocates!

Q: How do you plan to expand your initiative?

Honestly, I just want this organization to continue growing, expanding, and working on this mission. Our mission is to fight for the Asian community and make sure we are amplifying the voices, we are not letting things go by unnoticed as they did in history, and I don’t think that it is a problem that can be easily solved in a year or two. We are still fighting, we have been fighting Anti-Asian Hate for centuries. But I plan on recruiting more members, adding more branches, like the Action Branch that we added recently (that is a branch to get the audience more engaged in the “taking action” part of being an ally). We want to expand and maintain our mission. We want to make sure we are still on the track of the mission and not going off track when we enter into a point where we are changing our mission because we have gotten off-topic. I have unfortunately seen that before. However, the goal now for expanding the initiative is just to recruit more members, add more branches, and hopefully just have everyone know more about the AAPI community and no longer let this topic be a passing-by topic.

Q: What’s a long-term goal you would like to achieve as CEO/Co-Founder?

Connecting back to the last question, I just want to see this organization grow bigger, having more members, and the biggest goal is to let more people know about our mission and the AAPI community beyond what they see in films and movies but rather understand what our culture is and help speak out for the AAPI community. As the pandemic continues and as vaccines are getting handed out, the hate is still around and it shouldn’t be shifted away just because the pandemic is going away or your story has taken up 24 hrs. My long-term goal is to have more people know about Asian Advocates but also about the whole mission and not just “oh there is an organization fighting for the AAPI community” but “hey! I will get involved with the organization, I will also speak out and be an advocate for the AAPI community.” If you are part of the AAPI community, you should be like “ I know my identity” or “ I want to know more about my identity and I won’t let what was known in the past (especially the “model minority” myth) get to me”.

Q: How has Covid inhibited or expanded your organization?

Our organization started during the pandemic. Because we are running virtually, there is no “headquarters” or club that’s tied to a school. I don’t think it has really inhibited, more so it has expanded because we are able to use the virtual platform. With people having more time because the pandemic has closed off some parts of people’s lives such as school, social lives, etc. It has allowed us to find and recruit so many more members across the world. As bad as COVID-19 is, it did provide us the time to start the organization, for one, and grow our community. If I had attempted to start this organization at school rather than the virtual platform, I don’t think I would have thought of the process until later.

Q: Regarding the current issues around the US, for example, Stop Asian Hate, how have Asian Advocates raised attention to these issues? How else would you like to spread more information?

The mission for Asian Advocates is to help bring awareness to these topics. We do this through our posts such as “News of the Week” or we will highlight everything that is going on and it will be expanded over a course of 2 weeks. With our amazing writing, editing, graphic designing, and researching team, we find the news and we try to write about it as soon as possible, and try to get the writing onto the website and have it be shared so people know. I think a huge part/problem in America, though the AAPI community is now getting attention, we don’t know if a month from now or once we reach the end of AAPI heritage month (this month) whether there will be as much spotlight on the AAPI community. A huge part is to get awareness about the AAPI community. At the beginning of Asian Advocates, I would reach out to my friends regarding posts that we have made, I’ll be like “oh could you share this post” or “did you know about this” and they would always be shocked like “oh I have never heard of this” or “wait, when did this happen?”. It is very heartbreaking and it’s even worse to think that it had to get to a point where 6 people had to die in a shooting to have so many topics along with AAPI hate into it that people go “oh this is a problem” and that’s why Asian Advocates is continuously writing and increasing awareness about the AAPI community. It is both history and current we talk about.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to young Asians everywhere who are struggling to cope with anti-Asian violence, biases, and stereotyping?

My advice would probably be that you are stronger and braver than all of the violence and hate that is occurring in the world and always remember that you are never alone. It is alright to be frightened or sad and all of us have been going through this mental breakdown stage. Just stand up from there and don’t sit down there and accept the violence. It will always be there if there is no change but if you take this experience and stand up and be more powerful than you ever were, you can step in and help whether you are seeing this yourself or you are hearing about it. It ranges from micro-aggressions to physical, verbal attacks you see on the news, don’t ever stay silent especially if they are occurring around you because the last thing you want is the continuing of these topics being swept under the carpet. It is so important to, especially as young Asians or the GenZ community, not stay silent. If we continue to stay silent, like what has occurred throughout history, this topic is going to be pushed aside and continue onto the next generation. As much as we want to stop AAPI hate, it starts with speaking up and not staying silent at all.

Q: Where can our followers find and follow your initiative? And is there anything else you want to say?

For those who want to follow Asian Advocates, you can find us at these Social Media websites:

  • Instagram: asian_advocates_
  • Facebook: @asianadvocates
  • Twitter: @asianadvocates
  • Tik Tok: @asianadvocates
  • Gmail:
  • Website: asianadvocates.or

For those who want to reach out to me personally, you can find me at:

  • Instagram: @ting_panda16

Always feel free to reach with anything such as questions, collaborations, or anything you want to share, we are very friendly!!