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'We won't be equal until everyone is equal': Women of Asian Descent in Dallas come together to find solutions

On a Sunday morning over dumplings, three women sat down to discuss the issues in Asian American communities, and manageable ways to stop hate.

DALLAS — At June Chow's Dallas restaurant, Hello Dumpling, she loves how her food brings people together.

She often brings together a group called "Women of Asian Descent".

It was founded by Amy Tran-Calhoun. On a random Friday, she asked her members to meet for dumplings. That's how she met Chow, who immediately became engaged in the group.

Tran-Calhoun wanted to find a space for Asian women in the Dallas area to share experiences, find comfort and create change. 

"I feel like I've been living in Dallas for about seven years now, feeling really isolated in my Asian American identity," said Tran-Calhoun. 

Women of Asian Descent formed in a time of record violence against Asians in America.

On a Sunday morning in late-May, Chow, once again, brought people together with her food. Over dumplings, three women in the group sat down with WFAA's Tiffany Liou at Chow's restaurant to discuss the issues in the Asian American community.

One of the three women was Jin-Ya Huang. 

"It took the Atlanta shooting for us to realize we do need to galvanize and we do need to find a solution together and not let a crisis go to waste. I hate that we have to leverage on those notes, but sometimes that's what it takes," said Huang.

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"It has to be manageable solutions. What can we achieve?" asked Chow.

Together, they discussed the importance of elected officials. 

"Make sure that people who represent us in our legislature, in our government, are hearing, making and taking action," said Chow. 

They talked about awareness. 

"The awareness that everybody is coming to is a good thing. It's facing those ugly demons," said Huang. 

And with awareness, there needs to be a unified voice among the Asian community, and among all people. 

Tran-Calhoun said stopping racism can start with a conversation. 

She suggested, "Rather than asking 'Where are you from?', if you mean 'What is your ethnic background?', then ask me 'Is it okay if I ask you what your ethnic background is?'" 

She said it's important to ask mindful questions and come from a place of curiosity, rather than bias and judgement.

They also talked about education, starting with schools. At a young age, love and hate can both be taught. It trickles up to adults in corporations. 

"It's never too early, and it's never too late," said Huang.

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All three of these women are advocates and voices of change for Asian communities. 

Tran-Calhoun works for a company called Diversity Talks, but also independently consults to help people understand how race and racism impacts experiences in schools, workplaces, non-profit spaces and other organizations.

Huang founded an organization called Break Bread, Break Borders that empowers refugee women through cooking and catering. Her goal is to unite people and cultures through food.

And Chow welcomes people of all ethnic backgrounds to try dumplings that are rooted in her Taiwanese heritage. She encourages them to learn more about her culture that brings people together in Dallas.

Huang said, "We won't be equal until everyone is equal."

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