Gayle Isa


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Gayle Isa is a fourth generation Japanese American woman who was born in Los Angeles. She has family roots in Hawaii, Japan, and Okinawa. She has previously worked in many non-profit organizations, including the Asian Arts Initiative. She is a care coordinator for the Auntie Sewing Squad.

Thematic Summary

(00:00) Gayle Isa discusses her life in Philadelphia, her family’s immigration history and how she got involved in non-profit organizations through one summer experience in the Encampment for Citizenship. (10:52) She explains how her daughter initiated their involvement with the Auntie Sewing Squad. She explains why she identifies as Asian American more strongly than she does as Japanese American. (20:30) She describes the racial injustices she faced, including examples of racial microaggressions. (32:37) She shares why taiko drumming is an important tradition to her and some positive aspects she hopes will emerge in response to anti-Asian violence (39:28) Altogether, she offers advice to the younger generation on finding their own way to serve the community while ending on a note on how the Auntie Sewing Squad is shifting during the waxes and wanes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interview Date



Rimki Barua; Myra Harit

Interview with Gayle Isa



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