This week, the Feet in 2 Worlds team welcomes Quincy Surasmith, our 2021 Editing Fellow. Hear from Quincy in his own words:
When my predecessor Mia Warren began her Feet in 2 Worlds editing fellowship in 2020, it was shortly before a pandemic brought the world to a halt. I can’t imagine what it was like to drop all those plans and have to adjust to unignorable circumstances. The past year forced the hand of Feet in 2 Worlds and its team to cover an uncertain world — and the way a deadly disease impacted so many people, places, and communities.
The world is still uncertain, but I do have the benefit of at least knowing the situation I’m in. As we trek onward through that COVID fog, I find myself hoping that my time with Feet in 2 Worlds will allow me to witness the pandemic’s end. And along the way, while we carefully steer toward “recovery” and “normalcy,” I want to use my fellowship to ask: Who will get to actually experience that “recovery”? Who gets to return to “normal”? What changes will come, and what are the different ways they’ll impact different communities and lives across the country?
I want to learn the ways people are adjusting, and about the things preventing them from adjusting. I want to share the stories of those afraid to leave the country for fear of not being able to return, and those who have left and question whether they should come back. What’s going to happen to the Salvadoran graduate student who decided to finish their fieldwork outside the U.S. so that they’re not losing time on their student visa? Or the Nigerian worker whose long-term career opportunities froze with the lockdown? Or the Korean undocumented immigrant worried about whether their Temporary Protected Status will expire before they even have a chance to get immunized?
I want to know how communities are being informed or misinformed when it comes to their health, getting help, public policies, and who’s doing the fact-checking when information’s being distributed in local papers and social media in Spanish, Chinese, Urdu, or Tagalog.
With any luck, I’ll get to tell some of the first post-pandemic stories. I can’t wait to cover how legacy communities and businesses are adjusting to changing neighborhoods, how public arts and culture spaces return from digital shows and dormancy, and what it’ll be like for people at large to share meals again. I even dream of maybe getting to host and attend a Feet in 2 Worlds event.
Ultimately, I’m here to amplify the voices and stories of immigrant communities and communities of color, telling stories of food, art, culture, climate, voting — as Feet in 2 Worlds has always endeavored to do.
While doing all that, I hope to meet and work with writers and producers whose backgrounds and experiences might mirror my own. I’m a child of immigrants who didn’t attend journalism school, but found myself learning to become a journalist through a desire to share about my communities through the lens of my own experience, along with a healthy (and admittedly nerdy) love of public radio.
I’m Quincy Surasmith, the 2021 Feet in 2 Worlds Editing Fellow. I’m a Thai-Chinese American journalist and audio producer based in Los Angeles. I currently host and produce the podcast Asian Americana, a show highlighting stories of Asian American culture and history. I’ve worked at Southern California Public Radio/LAist, been a fellow with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, and was the producer-editor for podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. I’m heavily steeped in Los Angeles’ Asian American community. I love audio and podcasts, food, storytelling, and helping communities share their stories. And that’s what I hope to do with Feet in 2 Worlds this year.
At the very least, being based in L.A., I’m here to help make sure that Feet in 2 Worlds also has their feet on two coasts.
Fi2W is supported by The Ford Foundation, the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation, the Listening Post Collective, an anonymous donor and readers like you.