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News Anchor creates The Very Asian Foundation to promote inclusivity

Michelle Li turned a disheartening voicemail left by a viewer calling her "too Asian" into a foundation that promotes acceptance and inclusivity.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Race and gender equality continue to make headlines. 

One woman who has been leading the conversation is Awarding Winning Anchor Michelle Li co-founder of the Very Asian Foundation

The inspiration for the non-profit came on New Year's Day 2022 after a viewer called to complain about a segment that aired the morning newscast she was anchoring. During the newscast, Michelle, a Korean American, was sharing that she eats dumplings on New Year's Day for good luck because that's a Korean tradition. 

The viewer left Michelle a voicemail that told her to "keep her Korean to herself". She recorded herself listening to the voicemail. 

The video went viral and, that's how the Very Asian Foundation was created.

Li says her foundation goes beyond being Asian but encourages people to take the time to realize there's more to a person than what they look like. 

"When you see someone there's so much more that you don't see and if you are allowed to bring your full self to a space then you can lead with empathy in so many other ways."

The Very Asian Foundation caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres who gave Li $15,000 to help continue spreading her message of inclusivity and acceptance. 

Li was in Grand Rapids speaking at the Inforum Capstone event. Inforum is an organization that provides the opportunity for women to build and strengthen professional networks. 

You can follow The Very Asian Foundation and keep up with Michelle Li on Instagram.

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