By Kelcie McKenney
Photos by Travis Young
For Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we teamed up with Catcall magazine to highlight the AAPI team members who make Kansas City’s first Vietnamese coffee shop Cafe Cà Phê possible. Read the intro here, and stick around this week to hear their stories.
What’s your title at Cafe Cà Phê?
Where is your family’s country of origin?
My father is from Malaysia (Kuching to be exact)
What brought you and/or your family to Kansas City?
My husband and I moved to Kansas City for school and work.
When did you start working at Cafe Cà Phê and how did you get connected?
I started at Café Cà Phê March 2021, I came by just to sit with Jackie and Madoka after the Atlanta shootings and just started volunteering.
Cafe Cà Phê is all about the culture. How do you see your culture fitting in?
With Malaysian culture being so diverse, it’s amazing to see so many similarities of my childhood with Cafe Cà Phê.
How has working at Cafe Cà Phê impacted your connection to the Kansas City AAPI community?
It has helped me make connections with others in the AAPI community and allows me to learn more about my culture.
Can you share something about your culture that maybe our readers wouldn’t know about?
Malaysia is one of the most multicultural countries in Southeast Asia. It’s comprised of Malays, Chinese, and Indians. The three main religions practiced are Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism to name a few.
What does AAPI Heritage Month mean to you?
It’s now a highlighted time that allows me to share with others about traditions of my culture and I get to share lots of yummy food!
What are three fun facts about you?
I’m obsessed with The Home Edit and organizing, I love congee, and I’m a huge Office fan.
What’s your Cafe Cà Phê drink order?
What’s your theme song?
“7 rings” by Ariana Grande.
How can we support your community/culture in Kansas City?
Show up to AAPI events, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and please please please speak up on behalf of the AAPI community. BECOME AN ADVOCATE!
Cafe Cà Phê’s brick and mortar is scheduled to open in mid-June. Learn more about their fundraising here.
Kelcie McKenney (she/her) is a writer, editor, and artist who is passionate about feminism, local activism, queer representation, and strengthening community. You can find Kelcie on Instagram with #kcdaddy, where she talks about her three-legged cat Luna, thrift finds, and ways to overthrow the patriarchy.
Travis Young (he/him) is a Kansas City based photographer with roots in photojournalism and visual storytelling. He enjoys using film cameras to help him process, celebrate, and challenge his understanding in topics of race, gender, status, and mental health. When not behind a camera, you can find him creating things in 3D, obsessing over your grandmother’s dope Volvo Wagon from the 80’s, or getting lost in some tedious cleaning activity because he is a relentless Virgo.