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Linda Lee is Korean American. Her parents immigrated here from Seoul, South Korea in the late 60’s. She was born in Las Vegas, grew up mostly in Orange County, went to school in San Diego, went to graduate school in New York City, and now she currently resides in Santa Monica, CA. Growing up, Lee’s parents owned a business in LA in the middle of Koreatown. Lee became an Optometrist & works at her family’s optical business with her mother and uncle. When she was 17 y/o, she and her friend volunteered for the Dikakis campaign in Orange County, and demonstrated with the pro-life movement. She has worked in the Biden campaign as part of a volunteer leader crew for phone banking to swing states. Lee sews Face Masks for marginalized, low-income, & people in need, and she discovered the Auntie Sewing Squad on Facebook.
(00:02:00) Lee began volunteering in high school, she worked for the Democratic Party & the pro-choice movement. In college, she also did a lot of community service within her sorority and later got involved with the Biden campaign. After that, she had kids & Lee started doing community service through her children’s school. When the pandemic hit, the Auntie Sewing Squad popped up on her Facebook feed, and decided to do what she could to help communities in need. (00:19:33) The George Floyd incident opened Lee’s eyes and mind, and was first informed about the incident through her daughter. She goes into detail about why her daughter was frustrated and wanted to be a part of the movement. Lee wanted to keep her daughter safe and learn as well, so she began to understand and research more of the incident. She has learned a lot from her daughter and by participating online, she is aware of what is going on in the world around her. (00:30:10) Influencers like Billie Eilish are influencing her daughter in a positive way to speak out peacefully and with your words to invoke change. It caused Lee to begin understanding what was going on and the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. She attended a rally, not just because of her daughter’s safety, but she was able to gain knowledge of the movement and the statement behind BLM. (00:39:00) President Donald Trump’s statements and racial incentives like “Yellow-Peril”, “Chinese Virus”, and “Kung-Flu” infuriated Lee. She finds it shocking and bizarre that people don’t see this as a real issue with real consequences. Linda feels like this can actually empower people and motivate them to speak up. She talks about an incident she experienced at a grocery store where she felt prejudice and intimidation by men due to a sneer comment. Lee gets a perspective on why people behave the way they do, and was disappointed that not many people are better and kinder. (00:43:06) Auntie Linda Lee wishes that the Asian American community are able to speak up more about the treatment that they are given, and that people are unaware of their own biases. She wants people to stop thinking only of themselves and to treat people with kindness and respect.
Karen Koji; Delia Jimenez; Mhongzoong Yang
Lee, Linda, "Interview with Linda Lee" (2020). Auntie Sewing Squad Interviews. 9.