Two years ago, I lost both my maternal grandmother — a woman who had bested two rounds of cancer two decades ago yet unexpectedly departed one November day — and my paternal grandfather, a man who succumbed to a prolonged battle against cancer. But 2019 was also the year that I brought my son into this world, a sweet lookalike that immediately fit right in. Families grow, shift and change. In reflecting upon the past year, I want to recognize the great pain and grief experienced by families around the world due to the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each number and statistic is a mother, father, sister, brother, daughter or son. I truly believe that if more people saw others as members of a family, that we would live in a kinder, gentler and relational world.

Of course, nothing is that simple. What makes us family? I would argue that biology only takes us so far. Families are fluid. In the United States, we have a 2.5 children, white picket fence, nuclear understanding of family, a standard oftentimes vastly different from reality. What does an Asian American family look like? Popular culture and society seems to think that the Asian American family is the same 2.5 children, white picket fence, nuclear family — with the confusing addition of grandmas and grandpas who live and sleep wherever the family can find extra space. (But let’s face it, amas and angkongs, lolas and lolos, halmeonis and harabeojis are both figuratively and literally misunderstood by white people.)

In this issue, we scratch at the surface of what it means to be a part of an Asian American family, whether in terms of a community in light of the violence against our elders or as a transracial adoptee on a journey of anti-racism. I myself sit down with Joseph Lam, the founder of the card game Parents Are Human, to discuss the cultural and generational divides that exist within our families. And of course, we can’t forget that there are families that veer away from heteronormative couplings — from queer families to chosen families, which grow and change in their own ways.

In light of how families shift and change, I find myself in charge of what feels like someone else’s baby — ahem, teenager. Mochi magazine is a brilliant brainchild, created and nurtured by strong women who saw a need to amplify and uplift Asian American voices. Today, I am excited to share that I will be transitioning into the role of editor in chief.

With that, I want to welcome you to our family. Mochi is run by a mighty handful of Asian American women who volunteer their time, energy and writing in order to bring you thoughtful articles, deep and personal narratives and enlightening interviews with artists, activists and changemakers. At its core, Mochi is a family. (A family that is growing, by the way! Be sure to check out our open positions.) Needless to say, I don’t take the word family lightly — and Mochi is wholly deserving of this title.

The Summer 2021 issue centered on the theme of Family, scratching the surface of what it means to be an Asian American family, whether that’s from queer families growing to the ways our AAPI community comes together. Check it out here!


  • Giannina Ong is the Editor in Chief and Activism Editor of Mochi Magazine. During the day, she's a researcher, activist, and content creator. She holds a master's from University of Toronto's Women and Gender Studies Institute, and completed her bachelor's triple-majoring/triple-minoring at Santa Clara University. A spot-on Taurus (sun and rising), she is also a retired athlete, pasta-loving writer, and overeager editor.

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