Nox Yang is an LA-based filmmaker, a current undergraduate student in UCLA’s film and sociology departments. Growing up in China and receiving higher education in the United States, she has a focus on racial, gender, sexual, social justice issues, and has participated in making documentaries that feature Japanese American WWII internment camp survivors, formerly incarcerated African American women, sexual trafficking survivors in Hollywood #Metoo movement, etc.
This current film The Story of Lily Lee Chen, a story about a minority woman breaking into American mainstream politics in the 1980s, is her directorial debut. Her goal is to use storytelling to amplify the voice of the minority, empower the marginalized, promote justice and a greater understanding across different cultures and communities.
In early 2020, I started a campaign to run for International Student Representative as the first Chinese candidate in UCLA’s history.
As you can see, I came to the United States in 2018 dreaming to live in “the land of the free” but only found myself, an Asian female at the age of 18, become the minority here, along with many other people who have also been disappointed and alienated by this land – especially with the COVID-19 and the exacerbated anti-Asian sentiment, racism, and xenophobia.
Driven by the urge to speak for my community, I decided to run for that position. But it was not easy for a foreign student and a novice in political campaigns. Crippled by my lack of knowledge and experience in this American game, I lost.
A few weeks after my failed attempt, I was introduced to Lily Lee Chen through a mutual friend and was shocked to hear about her story – another foreign student who came to this country almost 60 years ahead of me, worked hard to become a US citizen, ran for office, and actually WON. However, despite having achieved incredible success as a minority woman, she experienced racial and gender prejudice no differently than I did, and fought relentlessly to combat it.
It was then I knew I wanted to tell Lily’s story.
I want her story to be a reminder: what America used to be, how it has attracted countless people like Lily and me with its promises, how much the generations before us have done to get closer to those ideals, and how it is our responsibility, as the younger generation, not to let them down.