AAA cultural showcase presents ‘Kristina Wong Sweatshop Overload’


AAA hosts comedian, Kristina Wong, for cultural showcase week.

Suffolk University’s Asian American Association (AAA) hosted its annual cultural showcase last week, this year featuring comedian and elected representative Kristina Wong in a virtual event on March 12.

Wong performed her new show, “Kristina Wong Sweatshop Overload,” a solo performance discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic caused her to go from an out-of-work comedian to the leader of a face mask empire.

Wong’s performance is a day-by-day analysis of using her Hello Kitty sewing machine to make masks for her community, which grew into something larger than she could have imagined. 

“I’m an unemployed performing artist that makes masks,” Wong said. 

As the demand for masks became overwhelming, she began her group Auntie Sewing Squad. A Facebook group recruited more “Aunties,” the majority being Asain women, to help create masks; a responsibility Wong did not take lightly as it grew into what she referred to jokingly as a “sweatshop” of hundreds of volunteers.

These homemade face masks were donated to groups such as hospital workers, fire departments, grocery store workers and the Navajo Nation. 

Wong discussed her frustration about front line workers not getting the supplies they needed and the responsibility of public health falling on the Auntie Sewing Squad. 

She commented on the intensity of having to choose where to send masks because there weren’t enough for the number of requests she received. Wong referred to the burden of this decision as “playing God.”

As an Asian American woman, Wong also discussed how the term “China Virus” has hurt her community. She told the audience that she will never be able to take off her “mask”– as she used the term as a symbol for her Asian heritage – and commented on how masks became a partisan issue due to President Trump’s statements. 

After her monologue was an interactive panel discussion with the audience. 

AAA strives to make sure all of its members feel safe and comfortable in their community. The goal of this event was to bring awareness to the surge in racism directed at the Asian community since the beginning of COVID-19. 

More information on the Asian American Association can be found on their Instagram: @aaa.suffolk