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Issue V2.1

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riksha Issue V2.1

From the early days of riksha, our mission was to create a space for Asian Americans to tell their stories. That space included print issues, performances, art exhibitions and collaborations with many creative Asian Americans in the Chicago community who were breaking new ground. As we thought about a relaunch of riksha, we wondered, does our community still need this space? What came to light after the election helped clarify things and we are pleased to say we put the call out and the work arrived. We invite you to join us on this next journey as we expand this space in the months ahead. Welcome!

Holy Thursday

A new story
by M. Evelina Galang
From the collection in progress, “Strength is the Woman”

At night, curled next to her brothers on a cot just outside the kitchen, Soledad dreamed of aswang creeping out from under the beds of the house, feeding on the blood of Mrs. Mayor. The wife had eyes that glowed Jello-green, she schemed with all the witches, found ways to make Lola E’s life miserable. Soledad hated her. Soledad wished her dead. She opened all the windows wider, she invited the moon to come in and drink all the evil out of the house. She asked the angels to hover over Lola E. “She is old,” Soledad said in her dream. “She can’t fight for herself, and Mrs. Mayor is an aswang.”

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A screenplay excerpt
by John Sun Lew


TITLE CARD: Topaz Internment Camp, Central Utah, September, 1942

A convoy of busses approaches a dusty compound, ten football fields broad, containing a grid of 42 identical blocks of 12 tar-paper barracks. As their bus passes under the main arch, Danny looks through razor wire and guard towers in the fore to the snow-capped Mount Topaz.


Seeking Refuge

An essay by Mary Grace Bertulfo

“’One is one’s own refuge, who else could be the refuge?’ said the Buddha.” – Walpola Rahula

Monday night. 6:10 p.m. Alone.

I drove down Lake Street in our worn, twelve-year old mini-van. Hot fury heaved in my chest and shoulders and transformed into a high-pitched scream that poured out of my throat for two whole blocks. I screamed until I had no more energy. I screamed until my voice was hoarse. Had I been a superhero, Wonder Woman say, the scream would have been a siren shattering every van window.

I remember my Chinese name

An essay by Mengnan/Mary Wu in response to Co Shi An’s essay “Remember heritage, imagine identity, stop believing”

I remember my Chinese name. I remember when it was my only name.

My grandfather wanted a son. My grandmother gave birth to three daughters. Each daughter gave birth in the same year in Beijing. My mother, the middle daughter, was supposed to give birth to me in the middle of her two sisters. But I was 2 weeks overdue, and I broke the order of things. My two cousins were both born female before me, and I was the last hope for my grandfather.