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Charlene Buckles and Dan Wu

Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) get repeatedly asked, 'Where y'all really from?' Activists Charlene Buckles and Dan Wu talk about a new podcast that tackles the question, shares the experiences of AAPI community members and aims to break through barriers to understanding.
Season 17 Episode 2 Length 27:23 Premiere: 09/12/21

New Podcast Shares Stories from Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders Living in Kentucky

As Charlene Buckles explains it, it’s a conversation that unfolds with a new friend, a coworker, or even with someone in a checkout line at the grocery. The other person will ask where she’s from, and she will tell them she’s from Kentucky, where she was raised and has lived for more than 20 years.

Which usually elicits the follow-up question: No, where are you really from?

“I’m personally still trying to process how I feel when I get that question asked,” says the Filipina-Kentuckian. “It really puts an othering to the person that’s getting asked the question.”

Buckles says Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) like her face that conversation often during their lives. Some people ask out of a genuine curiosity, but others can attach racial or discriminatory overtones to the question.

That shared experience of AAPI Kentuckians is at the heart of a new podcast called Where Ya’ll Really From? that’s hosted by Buckles, an activist and fundraiser for the ACLU of Kentucky, along with Lexington chef and restaurateur Dan Wu.

The idea of a podcast came from immigration attorney and state Rep. Nima Kulkarni (D-Louisville) and Berea restauranteur Mae Suramek who appeared on KET earlier this year to discuss the sharp increase in violence against AAPI individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now Kulkarni and Suramek are co-producers of the podcast along with Buckles and Wu, who say they want to provide a way for AAPI Kentuckians to share their stories and feel less isolated.

“First and foremost, it’s for us,” says Wu, who immigrated to the United States from China with his parents when he was eight years old. “It’s for the folks that haven’t heard their own voices, much less people’s voices that sound like theirs that have similar experiences.”

Although she’s been busy adjusting to life with a new baby, Buckles says she felt compelled to join the podcast effort after the shootings of six women of Asian descent at Atlanta area massage parlors in March of 2021. She says about 1.9 percent of Kentuckians are of Asian or Pacific Island heritage. Many of them live in small communities where they may among the few if not the only AAPI people in town.

“I felt like I needed to do something to organize or to do this podcast where we could really connect all the AAPI Kentuckians and say you’re not alone,” says Buckles. “We’re having the same experiences and this is our Kentucky too.”

‘Universal Stories’ from Across the Commonwealth

The podcast launches on Sept. 21 with guest Neeli Bendapudi, a native of India who has been the president of the University of Louisville since 2018. Wu says he was interested in featuring an Asian-American woman in a position of power after reading a New York Times article about how Asian Americans are underrepresented in upper management jobs. He contends so-called “model minorities” have prescribed careers in which they are allowed to excel, such as medicine, engineering, and academics. But he says AAPI people often aren’t seen has having the social skills required for leadership and management positions.

“We never get to that the top rung where we’re making decisions and being the gatekeeper and setting the tone of what the institution is all about,” says Wu.

Not only is Bendapudi the first woman and the first person of color to lead U of L, but she arrived during a period of great turmoil. The university’s former president, athletic director, and men’s basketball coach had been forced out amid various allegations of misconduct.

“You’re not coming in when the ship is smooth sailing, you’re coming in to right the ship, and so your opportunity… to succeed is much harder,” says Wu. “She recognized that… and so she’s coming into it clear eyed and knowing what she’s up against.”

Even if the situation may appear to be a recipe for potential failure, Buckles says Bendapudi wants to open the door for another woman and/or person of color to follow in her footsteps. Buckles says that’s a revolutionary concept that has inspired her to think about the pathways she can provide.

“If I think about let’s bring as many people with me as possible, then they can’t say no to us, they can’t close the door on us,” says Buckles.

Eleven more episodes will follow in the first season of Where Ya’ll Really From? as Wu and Buckles speak with AAPI individuals from across the commonwealth. The duo say they feature many everyday stories of people working hard in their communities, like Angelika Weaver, who is a domestic violence victims’ advocate for the City of Williamsburg, population 5.260.

“They are really universal stories,” says Buckles. “I think that once you humanize a concept, people will come together and cheer you on.”

Although he hasn’t snagged the interview yet, Wu says his dream guests are 2021 Olympic gold medal fencer Lee Kiefer, who is of Filipina-American descent, and her Taiwanese-American husband Gerek Meindhart, who won bronze medals in fencing in the 2016 and 2021 Olympics. Both are medical students at the University of Kentucky.

But not everyone they approached agreed to be interviewed. Buckles says there was one LGBTQ person had not come out to their family yet, and several undocumented immigrants didn’t want to share their stories. She says she understands the reluctance people can have about going public.

“I also have a very big fear of being very open about my experience… I’m nervous of family members who might not accept me,” says Buckles. “But I think it’s an important time, it’s an important moment right now and that movement has to happen.”

Sponsored by:

The show hosts and the show logo.The show hosts and the show logo.

Season 17 Episodes

Lyle Roelofs - Berea College

S17 E32 Length 27:49 Premiere Date 06/26/22

Engaging Fathers; Improving Financial Literacy

S17 E31 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 06/19/22

Delanor Manson - Kentucky Nurses Association

S17 E30 Length 27:26 Premiere Date 06/12/22

School Safety in Kentucky

S17 E29 Length 29:06 Premiere Date 06/05/22

Gun Safety Advocate Whitney Austin

S17 E28 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 05/29/22

Ben Chandler - Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

S17 E27 Length 27:51 Premiere Date 05/22/22

Advancing Mental Health Awareness in Kentucky

S17 E26 Length 27:01 Premiere Date 05/15/22

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams

S17 E25 Length 27:36 Premiere Date 05/08/22

Brigitte Blom - Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

S17 E24 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 05/01/22

Jill Seyfred - Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky

S17 E23 Length 27:17 Premiere Date 04/18/22

Child Abuse Prevention in Kentucky

S17 E22 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 04/10/22

Kidney Health: Prevention, Treatment, and Organ Donation

S17 E21 Length 26:53 Premiere Date 04/03/22

Reporter Jonathan Bullington

S17 E20 Length 28:07 Premiere Date 02/27/22

Nikki Lanier - Harper Slade

S17 E19 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 02/20/22

WFPL's Stephanie Wolf and Jess Clark

S17 E18 Length 27:51 Premiere Date 02/13/22

Felicia C. Smith - National Center for Families Learning

S17 E17 Length 27:33 Premiere Date 02/06/22

Tom Shelton - Henry Clay Center

S17 E16 Length 27:33 Premiere Date 01/23/22

Cabinet for Health and Family Services Sec. Eric Friedlander

S17 E15 Length 28:10 Premiere Date 01/09/22

Exploring Solutions to the Healthcare Worker Shortage

S17 E14 Length 27:01 Premiere Date 12/12/21

William Turner on Black Life in Appalachia

S17 E13 Length 27:54 Premiere Date 11/21/21

Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson

S17 E12 Length 27:43 Premiere Date 11/14/21

Addressing Needs of Kentuckians with Disabilities

S17 E11 Length 27:36 Premiere Date 11/07/21

Chelsea Ellis-Hogan

S17 E9 Length 27:11 Premiere Date 10/31/21

2021 Kentucky Book Festival

S17 E8 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 10/24/21

Devine Carama

S17 E7 Length 27:41 Premiere Date 10/17/21

Rufus Friday

S17 E6 Length 27:56 Premiere Date 10/10/21

Aaron Thompson

S17 E5 Length 28:04 Premiere Date 10/03/21

Whitney Austin - Reducing Gun Violence

S17 E4 Length 27:01 Premiere Date 09/26/21

Filmmaker Sarah Burns

S17 E3 Length 28:11 Premiere Date 09/19/21

Charlene Buckles and Dan Wu

S17 E2 Length 27:23 Premiere Date 09/12/21

See All Episodes

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Renee Shaw speaks with University of Louisville alums OJ Oleka and Terrance Sullivan, co-founders of AntiRacism Kentucky, a coalition focused on eliminating institutional racism within state and local government policy.

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The Rise of Anti-Asian Violence

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Renee Shaw talks with Representative Nima Kulkarni, Kentucky's only Asian-American legislator and writer, activist, and social entrepreneur Mae Suramek about the increase of harassment and violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

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EKU Criminal Justice Professor Pete Kraska

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Renee Shaw talks with Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, about the increase in COVID-19 cases, vaccines, variants and if a change in mitigation recommendations is on the horizon.

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Restoring American Democracy

Carolyn Lukensmeyer and Stephen B. Heintz of the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship talk about the organization's bipartisan report, Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, which includes six strategies and 31 recommendations to help the country emerge a more resilient democracy by 2026, the nation's 250th anniversary.

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Premiered On: 09/19/2021

Renee Shaw talks with filmmaker Sarah Burns about her new documentary Muhammad Ali, a six-year project that offers viewers a multifaceted look at Louisville's most famous son who went on to become heavyweight champion of the world as well as one of the world's most charismatic and controversial figures.

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Whitney Austin - Reducing Gun Violence

Premiered On: 09/26/2021

Renee Shaw talks with Whitney Austin, who narrowly survived a shooting at a Cincinnati bank three years ago. Now, she's the founder of Whitney/Strong, an organization dedicated to forging common-sense, bipartisan solutions to reducing gun violence.

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After more than three decades in the newspaper industry, Rufus Friday talks about his new role as executive director of The Hope Center, Inc. and One Parent Scholar House, which provides comprehensive services to the homeless and those at risk. Friday is a former president and publisher of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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Renee Shaw speaks with hip hop artist, community activist, and motivational speaker Devine Carama about his appointment as director of One Lexington, a program that mobilizes city government and community resources against violence and other topics.

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Author Emily Bingham

Kentucky's state anthem, "My Old Kentucky Home," is both a celebratory ballad evoking a sentimental feeling while, for others, outrage for its glorification of chattel slavery in the pre-Civil war south. Author Emily Bingham explores how the melody about America's original sin has evolved to become quote "a living symbol of a happy past," which was never just a song.

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  • Thursday February 2, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday February 2, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Devine Carama; Marjorie Guyon and Barry Darnell Burton - S16 E2

  • Wednesday February 1, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday February 1, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday February 1, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday February 1, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday February 1, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday February 1, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Marsha Weinstein - S16 E1

  • Tuesday January 31, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 31, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 31, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 31, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 31, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 31, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Inclusivity in Fashion - Frankie Lewis; RaeShanda Johnson - S15 E13

  • Monday January 30, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 30, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday January 30, 2023 2:12 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 30, 2023 1:12 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday January 30, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 30, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Devine Carama - ONE Lexington - S18 E17

  • Sunday February 5, 2023 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday February 5, 2023 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday February 4, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday February 4, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday February 1, 2023 4:30 am ET on KET
  • Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday January 29, 2023 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday January 29, 2023 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday January 29, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday January 29, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday January 29, 2023 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday January 29, 2023 11:00 am CT on KET

Dayna Seelig - S15 E12

  • Friday January 27, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 27, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday January 27, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 27, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday January 27, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 27, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Rachael Denhollander - S15 E11

  • Thursday January 26, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 26, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday January 26, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 26, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday January 26, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 26, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland - S15 E10

  • Wednesday January 25, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 25, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 25, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 25, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Alice Allison Dunnigan - Pioneering Journalist - S15 E9

  • Tuesday January 24, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 24, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 24, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 24, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 24, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Terry Brooks - Kentucky Youth Advocates - S15 E6

  • Monday January 23, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 23, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday January 23, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 23, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday January 23, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 23, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Former Congressman John Yarmuth - S18 E16

  • Sunday January 29, 2023 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday January 29, 2023 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday January 28, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday January 28, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 25, 2023 4:30 am ET on KET
  • Wednesday January 25, 2023 3:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday January 22, 2023 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday January 22, 2023 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday January 22, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday January 22, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday January 22, 2023 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday January 22, 2023 11:00 am CT on KET

Pastor Edward Palmer - Racial Bias and Juvenile Justice Reform - S15 E2

  • Friday January 20, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 20, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday January 20, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 20, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday January 20, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 20, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Mike Runyon and Sherita Miller; Wendy Kobler - S14 E35

  • Thursday January 19, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 19, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday January 19, 2023 2:11 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 19, 2023 1:11 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday January 19, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 19, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Brent Hutchinson; Christine Thompson - Education - S14 E32

  • Wednesday January 18, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 18, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 18, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 18, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 18, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 18, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Education in Rural Eastern Kentucky - S14 E27

  • Tuesday January 17, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 17, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 17, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 17, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 17, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 17, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Joshua A. Douglas - Voting Rights Reform - S14 E25

  • Monday January 16, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 16, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday January 16, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 16, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday January 16, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 16, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Former State Rep. Joni Jenkins - S18 E15

  • Sunday January 22, 2023 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday January 22, 2023 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday January 21, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday January 21, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 18, 2023 4:30 am ET on KET
  • Wednesday January 18, 2023 3:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday January 15, 2023 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday January 15, 2023 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday January 15, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday January 15, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday January 15, 2023 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday January 15, 2023 11:00 am CT on KET

Colene Elridge - S14 E23

  • Friday January 13, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 13, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday January 13, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 13, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday January 13, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 13, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Marcie Timmerman - Mental Health and Wellness - S13 E43

  • Thursday January 12, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 12, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday January 12, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 12, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Tiffany Manuel - Affordable Housing - S13 E42

  • Wednesday January 11, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 11, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 11, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 11, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 11, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 11, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Shining a Spotlight on Epilepsy - S13 E35

  • Tuesday January 10, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 10, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 10, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 10, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 10, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday January 10, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Criminal Justice Reform - Cherise Fanno Burdeen - S13 E34

  • Monday January 9, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 9, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday January 9, 2023 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 9, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday January 9, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday January 9, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton - S18 E14

  • Sunday January 15, 2023 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday January 15, 2023 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday January 14, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday January 14, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 11, 2023 4:30 am ET on KET
  • Wednesday January 11, 2023 3:30 am CT on KET
  • Sunday January 8, 2023 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday January 8, 2023 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday January 8, 2023 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday January 8, 2023 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday January 8, 2023 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday January 8, 2023 11:00 am CT on KET

Bob Jackson - Murray State University - S18 E4

  • Sunday January 8, 2023 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday January 8, 2023 7:00 am CT on KETKY
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