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About Crossing East

Crossing East

Crossing East is eight one hour documentaries on the history of Asian American immigration, from pre-America to post-9/11.  Because of systematic exclusionary laws, Asians immigration has been restricted over the course of America's history; Asians are now a low four percent of the population in America.  Though many are third or fourth generation Americans, Asians are viewed as perpetual foreigners and their history has largely been untold.  Crossing East is the first comprehensive series on radio or television on Asian American history. Listen for it May 2006-May 2007 on public radio stations.

Along with the radio documentary, the producers of Crossing East are also collaborating with local public radio stations and community groups to bring Crossing East to a wider audience. There will be scholar talks, roundtable discussions, and musical events to correspond with the airing of the documentaries. Find out more...

Photo courtesy of the National Japanese American Historical Society, San Francisco

Crossing East serves the need to find a shared history and a starting point for a national discussion for all Americans. This website and the documentation, recordings, and photographs collected by the Crossing East producers will be an archive of the Asian American experience beyond any one individual Asian group. Please explore this site, listen to the documentaries in May 2006, and become involved in the Crossing East program, either by donating to its production or participating in a community event.

Above all, Crossing East is about realizing both that we must be open to the histories of the people around us, and that we must share our own histories with our communities. Crossing East is about all of our stories, our history, and our America.

Crossing East Reviews

These are reviews written by professional radio producers for The Public Radio Exchange, a nonprofit service for distribution, peer review, and licensing of radio pieces.

"Crossing East does for Asian American history what Ken Burns' PBS series did for the Civil War. The epic scale of the productions may be the same, but the big difference is that these fascinating stories have rarely been told outside their local settings, and I'm sure have never been brought together in this way in any medium before. They touch on every region of the United States, revealing ever more layers of the nation's complex multi-cultural heritage (to quote one of the many fine experts who participated in the series.) Interviews and readings of texts from the past are mixed with subtle, evocative sounds and music which give the production a cinematic feeling. The imagination fills in the pictures. The script is extremely well written - and George Takei is an excellent host."

David Swatling, Radio Netherlands and Public Radio Exchange, Amsterdam April 1, 2006

"This is historical documentary radio at its best, a program that adds considerable richness to our familiar picture of America's frontier West. It offers intimate storytelling about important Asian immigrants, people who helped build the West and held prominent places in their communities, but whom we haven't heard about before--at least I hadn't.  Their stories are placed in the context of sweeping history: the waves of Asian immigration and the far eastern events that prompted folks to leave Asia for America. Dmae Roberts uses all the tools: original writings by her historical characters read by actors; interviews with experts and historians; music; recorded sound; and narration by herself and George Takei. Dmae is a treasure and she's given us one here: an ambitious series of documentaries exploring and honoring the contributions of Asian-Americans. Stations everywhere should run the series. This hour in particular is a winner for any station from the high plains to the Pacific."

John Biewen, American Radioworks and Public Radio Exchange, May 1, 2006

"You hear about Driveway Moments, but do you ever hear about Naive Moments? That's when, while listening to a radio program, you face up to the fact that you don't know a whole lot about something all around you. For example, I know nothing very substantial about Hawaii as a place where people have forged a history. This program features so much dedicated scholarship, stories and colorful detail that it has required a multitude of voices, actors mixing gently in with interview material and other sound. And yes, this is one of those projects with lots of people to acknowledge at the end - but the beautiful variety of the names in the credits somehow themselves make up a kind of poem testifying to this important effort.

These moments - of a history hardly mentioned in school or few Hollywood movies - these are the moments that public broadcasting owes its audience, I feel."

Marjorie Van Halteren, Public Radio Exchange, Morbecque March 31, 2006


MediaRites Productions promotes understanding among diverse communities through the arts, education and media projects.  MediaRites Productions focuses on creating and distributing original work that tells true life stories and how those stories can, by increasing understanding across communities, ultimately improve society for us all.  Since 1984, MediaRites has produced award-winning national radio documentaries and community projects.

Primary Goals:
MediaRites creates radio programs that take an underrepresented population, such as recent immigrants, disabled youth, the homeless, or those with terminal illness, and tell their stories in a way that is accessible to the entire public radio audience.  When there is an outreach component of our programming, MediaRites collaborates with other local arts and public service groups, presents workshops free to participants and also hosts community events to publicize the issue at hand as well as the corresponding radio program.

Our artistic documentaries and projects have received the following awards: the Peabody, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters golden and silver reels, the Clarion (twice), the National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Award, the Writers Digest Award, a Webby Worthy Award, the Asian American Journalists Award (twice), the Heart of America award (twice), the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award, and the Casey Medal.

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