Seattle area high school students create all-digital magazine focused on AAPI issues

As we celebrate Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage month, Q13 News is highlighting two high school students in King County who are running an all-digital magazine called What We Experience.

Jeenah Gwak of Bellevue is 16-years-old and attends Newport High School. Hope Yu of Seattle is 17-years-old and attends Garfield High School.

Both of these young women are Korean-American and felt compelled to create What We Experience as a safe space following the rise in attacks against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

"There was a lot of violence happening against Asian-Americans, like a lot of anti-Asian sentiment," said Gwak. "I wanted to create a safe media platform to share those stories."

Gwak and Yu have been working together since last summer as co-founders and co-editors of the publication.

So far three issues have been published, and each one of them follows a theme that is expressed through poetry, art, personal anecdotes and media corners.

The last issue that was published in March focused on Asian-American women in film, politics and STEM for Women’s History and Empowerment Month.

"It’s a place to learn about new people and new experiences especially if you don’t have contact with a large Asian American community," said Yu. "No matter what race or ethnicity, and gender identity or sexual orientation you are, you will find somewhere in that writing and be like hey, I relate to that."

Nearly a year after publishing their first issue online, Gwak and Yu said What We Experience now has around 700 to 800 readers around the globe, including across the U.S. and some countries in Europe, Asia and even the Middle East.

The next issue of What We Experience will be published online at the end of June, and focus on gender and sexual identity. Watch the following video to hear an exclusive preview of the upcoming magazine and Gwak and Yu's hope for the future of the publication.

Magazine cover from the March 2021 issue that focused on Women's History and Empowerment Month

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