Silent No More: VOICES Story Slam Finalists Light Up the Summit

By Jane Sujen Bock ‘81, VOICES Story Slam Chair


“Where are you from?  Where are you REALLY from?”


Six master storytellers – two alums, a grad student, and three College students whose graduation years span 45 years – captivated the H4A Summit on Oct. 27, 2018 with their lyrical, hilarious, and penetrating explorations of those questions. Brilliantly hosted by Asian American Studies professor and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña AB '80, the six finalists in the VOICES Story Slam delivered their six-minute personal, true stories live, from memory, to 130 H4A members and friends who laughed, cried, and cheered from start to end.


Watch their incredible performances linked below.


The three Slam judges, John Lian, Harvard Medical school PhD candidate and 2014 Story Slam prize winner; Sharmila Sen AB ’92, author and Harvard University Press editor; and Heidi Shin EdM ‘07, public radio and podcast producer, awarded thousands of dollars in prizes to the top winners:

FIRST PRIZE:  Kelsey Chen Col ’22, "An Anthology of Asian American Anxiety"

SECOND PRIZE:  Susan Lieu '07,  "She Was The One

THIRD PRIZE:  Emil Guillermo ’77, "Amok at Harvard: My Affirmative Action"

The judges and audience members were deeply moved by these performances as well:  

Abhijith Ravinutala MTS '19, "Time to Speak Up"

Julia Riew Col '21, ".008% Korean"

Xiadi Zhai Col '22,  "Erosion (A Mother’s Love)"

After a spirited vote, the Audience Prize was awarded to Kelsey.

Thank you to our preliminary Screening Jury (Jane Sujen Bock AB ’81, lawyer; David Chan AB '83, portfolio manager, former filmmaker; Linda Chin MS ‘84, Harvard OCS Arts Adviser, theater artist and producer; Pauline W. Chen AB '86, surgeon, author, columnist; Andrew Chow AB '14, journalist; Julie K.L. Dam AB '93, content and branding consultant; Tania James AB '03, novelist; Vivian Toy AB' 85, journalist), our Finalists Coach Sheila Traister,  and volunteers, David Chan, Linda Chin, Liana Chow ‘21,  Alex J. Lee ‘06 , and Jeannie Park ‘83.