Since childhood, Daisy Okazaki ’25 has told stories informed by their experience as an Asian American. After learning watercolor painting from their father, Okazaki depicted the two of them as Kiki and Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service as a Father’s Day card. In high school Okazaki wrote and illustrated a memoir about grappling with their Japanese American identity while living in Hiroshima.
Now a media studies major and Asian American studies minor at Pitzer College, Okazaki is exploring the complex narratives of young Asian women and women of color through film with support from the Margo Okazawa-Rey (MOR) Fellowship.
Offered by Pitzer’s Community Engagement Center and the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies at The Claremont Colleges, the MOR Fellowship encourages students to implement community-based projects that integrate social justice, multi-racial solidarity, and feminism, with an emphasis in Asian American and Pacific Islander studies.
“I am interested in telling stories through film and art that are relevant and uplifting towards Asian American communities and histories,” said Okazaki, who is a member of the Pasifika Asian Student Union at Pitzer.
A film made by and for Asian community members
For their project Okazaki is partnering with Banteay Srei, an Oakland-based organization that promotes community and leadership development for young Southeast Asian women at risk of or engaged in sexual exploitation. Okazaki is producing a short film about the women who are members of Banteay Srei.
“The film itself deals in the unique experiences of young Asian American women and women of color: violence, migration, sisterhood, healing from personal and generational trauma,” said Okazaki.
Okazaki also plans to work with Banteay Srei to create a curriculum for the film as an educational resource.
“Having worked at Banteay Srei for almost two years and as an Asian American woman born and raised in the East Bay myself, I find this piece very personal to me,” said Okazaki. “It is an honor to receive the Margo Okazawa-Rey Fellowship and to have the opportunity to work on a project that is rooted in the community and place that I hold so much love for.”