2015.048.010 The Family Journey of June Jee

Long-time MOCA supporter and board member June Jee talks about her grandparents and her early life growing up in Hong Kong. After moving to the US in 1964 she discusses growing up in New York’s Chinatown and her family life in the US. She explores instances of racism and her brushes with the Chinatown gangs. She also talks about her career working at Verizon and her community engagement efforts. The conversation is concluded with her discussing her philanthropic efforts and how she sees the Asian American youth involvement in politics.

0:00 - Introductions, involvement with MOCA, grandfather’s journey from Hong Kong to NY in the 1940s, moving to the US with her family in April 1964, life in New York in the 60s, her mother working at a garment factory, activism with her older sister (Vietnam war), meeting her future husband as a teenager, engaging in volunteerism in Chinatown, getting married (19) having a son at (21), getting a job at Verizon.

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17:55 - Her exposure to the English language in Hong Kong, her maternal grandmother, mother and father’s relationship, talking about her father and mother, talking about her 4 siblings, instances of racism during her youth in NY.

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29:54 - The story of her maiden surname “Low,” the story of her last name “Jee,” desire to see her parents ancestral homes, her mother’s siblings and her grandfather’s other wives, interaction with Chinatown gangs in the 70s.

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41:47 - Her friend groups while in school, what cemented her connection to New York’s Chinatown (junior high school), her career working at Verizon.

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53:00 - Her religious faith, dichotomy of working for a large corporation and being a community activist, the effects on gender on her career trajectory, what makes a successful nonprofit, philanthropic efforts.

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70:32 - Thoughts on Asian American youth involvement in politics, intersection of art and civic engagement, how does she identify herself, involvement with “Second Generation (2G)” non-profit.

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