"When I was in eighth grade, in Queens, in the early 2000s, I was often picked on by other children for my almond-shaped eyes, beige complexion and jet-black hair — essentially, my Chinese face,"An Rong Xu wrote Saturday for the New York Times. "They'd ask me if I ate vermin and felines and constantly mocked my native language. These adolescent experiences planted within me seeds of self-hatred, and for years I tried to rid myself of my cultural heritage.
"So it is interesting that the first real photos I ever took were in Manhattan's Chinatown, which I spent my adolescence avoiding. But it was in that neighborhood where I began to appreciate the hard work of immigrants and the sacrifices they made to be here.
"I then traveled west and saw the early Chinese-American settlements in Locke, Calif., and met relatives who traced their lives in this country to the Transcontinental Railroad. The more I experienced, the more I felt empowered to accept myself as a Chinese-American.
"My great-grandfather Gee Goon arrived in America in the early 1900s and traveled from Angel Island in San Francisco Bay to Quincy, Mass. I feel as if I made a similar journey. These photos explore what the Chinese-American identity is, a coming-of-age story about the merging of two, sometimes polarizing, cultures. . . ."
Rick Ramirez, a photojournalist at ABC affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix who was well-known as a house disc jockey in the Phoenix underground, died Wednesday in hospice care after battling colon cancer, his friend Mekahlo Medina said. Ramirez was 39.
"By day he [covered] consumer issues and by night he [would] tear up the dance floor with house beats," Medina, a reporter for KNBC-TV in Southern California and president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, emailed Journal-isms.
Medina wrote on Facebook, "Rick Ramirez will not only be [remembered] as [a] good news photographer, but [as] an everlasting spirit of hope. He always had a smile on his face no matter the situation and a good mix on his iPod. He [breathed] life everyday, until his last.
"He was my friend since college. Two [Latino] gay kids who found each other out of sheer fear of being found out. We were both passionate about journalism. He loved the visuals and sounds. I loved his energy. . . ." The two worked in Phoenix together from 2001 to 2004 when Medina was at KPNX-TV, the NBC affiliate.
Funeral services are tentatively set for April 10. Ramirez leaves Mark Parra, his partner of 15 years, his mother and father, three brothers "and his much beloved cats."(Updated April 3 to correct age, time with Mark Parra and number of brothers.)