Grant #174


January 4, 2016

Where is the dumpling emoji?

Seriously. Where is it? We have an emoji for pizza, hamburgers, tacos, and even shrimp. But one of the most beloved and universal, cross-cultural foods in the world is missing at our fingertips! Poland has pierogi. Nepal has momos. Russia has pelmeni, Japan has gyoza. Italy has ravioli. Georgia has khinkali. Korea has mandoo. Argentina has empanadas. China has potstickers. Yet, there is no dumpling emoji (gasp!). With virtual communication being so prominent in today’s society, the use of emojis have globally become overwhelmingly present in our day-to-day communication (an emoji is worth a thousand words, right?). Emojis are a global visual language, so the catalog of choices should be diverse and inclusive, right? Right.

Entrepreneur/filmmaker/writer extraordinaire Jennifer 8 Lee and dynamo designer Yiying Lu have started Emojination – a new campaign (and soon to be grassroots organization) – to not only submit the process for the dumpling emoji, but to open up the discussion of emoji policy and what it should look like moving forward. Their motto? “Emoji by the people, for the people.” They want to serve as the infrastructure to let normal requests for emoji build up. It turns out that the process to submit an emoji is complicated, bizarre, and moves at a glacial speed. In fact, it takes 18 months to two years for a single emoji to move through (just) the approval process. Emoji are currently controlled by the Unicode Consortium, which consist of 11 full voting members who are mostly male American engineers who pay for the privilege to serve on the committee. For such a rapidly evolving and diverse language, this isn’t exactly the best system. But don’t worry, Jennifer and Yiyung are on it.

The team at Emojination wants to join the Unicode Consortium as a non-voting member and our AWB grant will be put towards a one-year membership. Interested in helping determine the future of emoji, too? Click here. Want to join the conversation? Tweet at @dumplingemoji.

Category: Activism, Culture, Food



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders