As the host of the arts interview podcast, “Keep the Channel Open,” Michael Sakasegawa understands the importance of literature to telling the stories of marginalized people. He now takes to Kickstarter to support “LikeWise Fiction,” a new podcast that focuses on short fiction from these communities.
The Kickstarter page describes ”LikeWise Fiction” as “an audio anthology of amazing short fiction written by women and nonbinary writers, writers of color and LGBTQ+ writers.” In an email, Sakasegawa tells Colorlines that the podcast’s intersectional focus reflects his own concern for communities that experience oppression differently than his own:
As a fifth-generation Japanese American, I am very familiar with what racism has looked like in my own life and in my own family’s experience. I grew up with stories of my family’s experiences during the Internment and of my grandfather’s heroism as part of the 442nd, [as well as] growing up in a majority-White town [where] I experienced a fair amount of personal racism.
But it wasn’t until I was older that I started learning more about how people in other communities experience bigotry and oppression—sometimes in ways that are similar to what I’m familiar with and sometimes in ways that are very different. It’s been very illuminating to understand the ways in which my own communities and even I have been complicit in other oppressions. How, for example, some Asian-American men engage in targeted misogynist harassment of Asian-American women for “dating out,” a subject that women like Celeste Ng, Jenn Fang and Nicole Chung have written about extensively. Or the ways that Asian Americans are often used as a wedge group to uphold White supremacy against other racial groups, particularly African Americans—and, indeed, how members of my own community sometimes directly engage in anti-Black and anti-Latinx racism. As my own education has continued, and [as] advocacy and activism have become a more prominent part of my life, it’s become very important to me to find ways not only to support my own communities, but also to advocate for and demonstrate solidarity with other communities.
To that end, Sakasegawa aims to produce a 10-episode season with authors such as José Pablo Iriarte and Esmé Weijun Wang. As of press time, he has raised just under $5,000 of the $11,250 that the campaign needs by February 28 to succeed. Money will go towards writer fees, website hosting, music licensing and other administrative costs. Those who donate at different levels can receive a print anthology of the season’s featured works and sponsor credits, depending on the amount.
Learn more at Kickstarter.com.