AAPI Month Observance Highlights Achievements and Heritage of Asian-Identifying Students and Staff

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This past month of May was AAPI (Asian-American Pacific Islander) month, which is celebrated to recognize the cultural heritage of those who identify as Asian or Pacific Islander and what it means to be AAPI for students and teachers.

Senior Lily Oudommahavanh is Laotian-American. She said that being Asian in America is difficult, but the national pride she feels greatly empowers her.

“Being Asian has shaped me and especially being Laotian has shaped me into having a lot of pride in my country and being able to bring that over to America and I hope that in the future, I can learn more about my culture and my language.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a growth of hate crimes against people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent that led to an impact on those in the AAPI community.

According to math teacher Sue Oh, she has never faced any sort of hate crimes directed toward her because of her race from her experience growing up.

“At my elementary school, most of the kids were Asian because my parents wanted me to be around people who were similar to me,” she said. “So I was really lucky in a sense.”
Because of the recent wave of hate towards people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, there are many ways to spread awareness. Oh suggested that people should practice empathy as they make their way through life and encounter people different from them.
“I think it’s a really good exercise for everyone to try to tap into at least one aspect of their life where they are a minority or where they are not the biggest dog in the house,” she said.

Appreciating AAPI culture is important as well. Sophomore Elena Yamada, who identifies as Japanese-American, says that she is proud about how Japanese and Korean culture are trending in the media as of today. 

“Every time there’s an anime somewhere, I have national pride,” she said.

Freshman Russel Salasac said that he is just proud to be Filipino and his culture. 

“The environment I grew up in was great, he said. “The people around me were nice, people were giving and helping each other out.”