Arts

A Dragon Hugs the Corner: Wah Lum Academy Embraces Unity Amid a Pandemic

By Amanda DeRosa  Sifu Mai Du of the Wah Lum Academy in Malden often tells her students, “Under every roof there is a story.” So, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to close her martial arts studio on March 10, at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Ferry Street, and board up the windows, Mai Du knew she had to do something to continue to tell the story of Wah Lum. “A boarded-up corner didn’t sit well with me,” she says.    She and some of her artistically talented students hatched a plan to transform the more than 400 square feet of blank plywood into a radiant message of solidarity. Beginning on July 19, a group of artists and volunteers began painting a mural on the boarded-up windows. Today, a dragon snakes around the corner, embracing Guardian Foo Dogs, Lion dancers, and a community united. The work is ongoing.  Wah Lum Academy is not simply another school, Wah Lum is a communal space where members look forward to visiting on a regular basis; it’s an intimate place where […]

Education

Confronting the anti-Asian backlash in the wake of the pandemic

By Martha Bezzat Anti-Asian racism has been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, something that Dr. Jean Yu-wen Wu, a Tufts University professor and diversity leader, calls “a kind of terrorism.” “It’s about controlling us, telling us we’re not wanted, telling us we don’t belong,” said Dr. Wu during a virtual town hall meeting May 14 sponsored by the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition (GMAACC), an organization launched by Malden residents to dismantle historical bias and racism against Asians and Asian Americans. More than 250 people attended the meeting to hear three specialists and a college student speak about their experiences.    Dr. Wu called the current anti-Asian bias a “virulent strand” of racism in the United States. She said that while the pandemic didn’t create this racism, it revealed a racism “that’s been deeply embedded in U.S. history and U.S. nation-building.”  “It’s important to speak up about racist incidents to increase awareness because the history of Asians in the U.S. is not taught, and so newcomers in the community may not […]