The 2020 elections proved beyond a doubt to any disbelievers that despite the immense near-decimating impact technology has had on traditional forms of communication, the postal system remains one of the pillars of a well-oiled society. There have been recent moves by US Postal Service to inaugurate three new stamps in 2021, celebrating Asian history and culture, creating a wonderful gesture against the ongoing rise in xenophobic acts of violence against Asian Americans.
The first of the three acknowledges feminine power in the 20th century through an ode to Chien Shiung Wu, one of the top nuclear physicists of the 20th century: Chinese by birth and one of the only women in a field dominated by men. She immigrated to gain a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley and set a blazing trail of inspiration by proceeding to teach at Columbia University. Her granddaughter, Jada Yuan, used the spotlight to make the posthumously honoured Wu proud. “She would’ve been upset with the terminology ‘China virus’ and the rising violence against Asian Americans due to xenophobia,” she said. “I think my grandma would be happy to be seen in this manner and for young girls to see this stamp and see something of themselves in it, whether it’s women interested in STEM, Asian American women and also Chinese immigrants.”
Second, a stamp marking the Lunar New Year is the second in a series of 12 corresponding with the Chinese zodiac, with this particular one commemorating the Year of the Ox. The design of the stamp stays true to its roots, with original art by Camille Chew, working in collaboration with art director Antonio Alcala.
The final one features a photograph of a Japanese American soldier who served in the US Army during WWII with nearly 33,000 others. It carries the words “Go for Broke”, the motto of an all-Japanese American battalion and regiment that defended their country in Italy.