Former KY3 anchor gets donation from Ellen DeGeneres to further 'Very Asian' movement
Former KY3 anchor Michelle Li appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" last week to discuss the #VeryAsian movement, which aims to eliminate hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Li served as a main evening anchor at KY3 in Springfield from 2003 to 2010, where she wrote, shot and edited stories, according to her LinkedIn profile. Today, Li is a reporter and anchor for KSDK, a television station in St. Louis.
Li and the “Very Asian” hashtag went viral after she posted a video on social media sharing a voicemail she received. The voicemail addressed a story Li did on New Year’s Day foods. To conclude the story, Li added what dish she enjoyed on New Year’s.
“I ate dumpling soup,” Li said. “That’s what a lot of Korean people do.”
The voicemail criticized Li’s comment and called her “very Asian.” The caller added that if a white anchor were to discuss foods they ate, “they would get fired.” Toward the end of the voicemail, the caller asked Li to “keep her Korean to herself.”
Li’s video has garnered more than 3 million views on Twitter and 25,600 views on Instagram.
On Jan. 12, Li appeared as a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to share her story.
“It just felt like the world saw it, and the world stood up to it,” Li said on the show. “Not just the St. Louis community — the St. Louis community came out very strong, but who gets to say the world stood up for you in a moment?”
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Inspired by Li’s story, DeGeneres presented her with a $15,000 check. Li is launching the Very Asian Foundation, which includes partners with Stop AAPI Hate and the Asian American Journalists Association. The check was presented in collaboration with Tisbest Philanthropy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to replacing material gifts with charitable contributions.
Stop AAPI Hate is a coalition, which tracks and responds to hate violence and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The coalition, established in 2020, is managed by the AAPI Equity Alliance, Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco University. Learn more about APPI Hate at stopaapihate.org/
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The Asian American Journalists Association, founded in 1981, is a nonprofit membership with a mission toward inclusion of Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists in newsroom leadership. Learn more about the association at www.aaja.org/
Support for the Very Asian Foundation can be shown through the purchase of a Very Asian T-shirt listed on the foundation’s website: https://very-asian.com/products/veryasian-logo-t-shirt