'Our Chicago: Asian Voices' highlights good coming from local AAPI community

Judy Hsu hosting with contributions from Ravi Baichwal, Cate Cauguiran and Eric Horng

Friday, May 21, 2021
'Our Chicago: Asian Voices': Part 1
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ABC7 Chicago shines a light on all of the good that is coming from the Windy City's Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, or AAPI, community in the half-hour special, "Our Chicago: Asian Voices."

CHICAGO (WLS) -- ABC7 Chicago shines a light on all of the good that is coming from the Windy City's Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, or AAPI, community in the half-hour special, "Our Chicago: Asian Voices."

We'll see how the community is truly coming together in the face of the surge of anti-Asian incidents, across the country. Meet a Chicago surgeon who is saving the sickest of patients from the ravages of COVID-19, with groundbreaking lung transplants. Then, find out how another physician's passion project is helping to protect her patients from the number one killer of women - heart disease. We meet a restauranteur who launched a grassroots project keeping food workers employed, while they prepare high-end meals for tens of thousands of those in-need. And tag along with a photographer whose perch, high above the city, helps him capture viral images of towering skyscrapers "peeking" through the clouds! The host of this ABC7 Chicago special is Judy Hsu, with contributions from Ravi Baichwal, Cate Cauguiran and Eric Horng.

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WATCH: 'Our Chicago: Asian Voices': Part 2

Dr. Ankit Bharat

Dr. Ankit Bharat had long been doing lung transplants at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, but as the pandemic worsened, he suspected the procedure might just help in patients left with severe lung damage, caused by COVID-19. As 28-year-old Mayra Ramirez, a paralegal here in Chicago, fought for her life late last spring, Dr. Bharat became more convinced he could help her survive. On June 5, 2020, Mayra became that first in the U.S. to receive a bilateral lung transplant, due to COVID. Mayra is working remotely once again, as her recovery continues but she hopes to mark the one-year anniversary of her transplant by going skydiving with Dr. Bharat. Dr. Bharat has now done at least 20 bilateral lung transplants on former COVID patients. He now helps other hospitals understand the proper protocols of the groundbreaking surgery.

Northwestern Medicine
251 E. Huron St.

Dr. Annabelle Volgman

Dr. Annabelle Volgman has made it her life's mission to fight the No. 1 killer of American women - heart disease. In 2003, she co-founded the Rush Heart Center for Women, and has been a leader of the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" campaign. She has also vowed to wear red every day to raise awareness! A native of the Philippines, Dr. Volgman attended an all-girl's school and then immigrated to New York with her family. She knew she wanted to be a doctor and help people ever since she was 12 years old!

For more on the Rush Heart Center for Women:



Ed Marszewski-Kimski/Community Kitchen

Ed Marszewski is a Bridgeport-based Korean-Polish restauranteur, who, despite the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, has launched a free meal distribution program he calls the Community Kitchen. Marszewski runs it out of his Korean/Polish fusion restaurant, Kimski. He hires others within the food industry to prepare quality meals to distribute to senior homes and other people in-need, who come by each Wednesday. Community Kitchen dispenses 2,000 meals a week to those who need food. Eight Chicago-area restaurants have joined him in the effort. Marszewski plans to keep offering the free Wednesday lunches through the summer but hopes to inspire lots more restauranteurs to develop similar community feeding programs.

WATCH: 'Our Chicago: Asian Voices': Part 3

960 W. 31st St.

Photographer Peter Tsai

Peter Tsai has captured memorable moments at A-List celebrity parties and hung out of airplanes to get amazing aerial shots, but his favorite "subject" is Chicago. And for a decade, he's been on a quest to "show off" our spectacular skyscrapers, shrouded in fog. He calls this passion project "Cloud Chicago." To capture these amazing meteorological moments, he will spend hours camped out high atop the Windy City's highest perches, like the Hancock's 360 Chicago. Follow him @petetsai.

360 Chicago

875 N. Michigan Ave., 94th Floor

Kokyo Taiko Drumming Troupe

Taiko drumming may have begun as a way to send military messages in Japan many centuries ago, but a Chicago group is making this ancient artform very much their own. The name Kokyo means "Echo of the Lake," in reference to their proximity to Lake Michigan. Kokyo Taiko Chicago was formed in 1987 and has performed all over the Chicagoland area. The troupe is headed by founding member Linda Tademoto and senior member Miriam Solon, and members range from young children all the way to seniors. The Buddhist Temple of Chicago hosts the group practices.

For more on the drumming troupe, visit https://buddhisttemplechicago.org/groups/kokyo-taiko/.

The ART Gallery

The ART Gallery, in the heart of Chinatown, served as the beautiful "backdrop" for "Our Chicago: Asian Voices." While the ART Gallery may have begun as a simple framing shop in 2017, it soon evolved into a full-blown Art Gallery, showcasing the works of emerging artists, both Asian and Non-Asian alike. Owner David Moy said he morphed his business into a gallery with the hope of letting Chinatown's many visitors see and experience other aspects of Chinese culture, when they make their way to the South Side neighborhood for the famous food.

WATCH: 'Our Chicago: Asian Voices': Part 4

The ART Gallery
211 West 23rd St.