Sue Robinson may be the epitome of the saying “Turn your anger into something productive.”
Robinson, from East Brunswick, N.J., once decided to leave her town after a personal tragedy, but stayed because of the kindness others had shown to her, which she wanted to repay.
Thanks to that decision, today she is the host of a new show, “Asian America,” the first English-language television program devoted to Asian American issues.
The show, which started airing Sept. 13, broadcasts on WNYE/NYC-TV (Ch. 25), reaches 9 million households in the tri-state (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) area, and is syndicated nationally by PBS.
Robinson’s story is a touching one. Born in Manhattan’s Chinatown and raised in Brooklyn, she moved to East Brunswick to start a family with her high school sweetheart. Robinson gave birth to twins Jennifer and Mark, but Jennifer died of a terminal illness within the year.
After the tragedy the family originally planned to move away, but Robinson, remembering the thoughtfulness of the town during Jennifer’s illness, decided to stay. She vowed to give back to the community, first becoming a television reporter and now a host of “Asian America.”
“I want the community to understand each other, and not be in mystery of each other,” said Robinson.
The first show centered on “Feng Shui in America” and subsequent shows will focus on Asian community events. “Along with the culture, I will bring to the show health awareness topics, museum discussions, and something I do currently, providing coping support for those grieving after the loss of a loved one,” she said. “Many people are not aware that there is ‘good grief,’ and when to recognize and time to seek treatment for ‘bad grief.’ I plan to bring family topics that do face everyone in life.”
Robinson is an excellent example of taking a terrible experience and turning it into something better. It would have made sense for her to leave East Brunswick to escape the pain of Jennifer’s death, but through strength of spirit she decided to remain. Now her new television show is charting new ground for Asian Americans and bringing a community closer together.
Photo of Sue Robinson on her “Chinese Life Reading” show, courtesy of Asian America