Angie Wong, Debbie Wang, Henry Nguyen
What does Asian Pacific American Heritage Month mean to us?
When we think about the importance of this month, it was difficult to think about just ourselves as when reflecting, we couldn’t help but think about what our parents and family have done to provide the life that we have today. We think this month represents the struggle that our families have overcome, and we’re reminded of how they immigrated here from another country with barely any money, no job or support, and learned English all on their own. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for their sacrifices and they truly gave up everything they’ve ever known to make sure we had a better life.
We also think this month stands for embracing your culture, accepting that this is part of our identity, and to not be ashamed of what comes with it. When dealing with ignorance, we need to be reminded that it’s not okay to constantly brush or laugh off. This is the time that we need to educate on what is not acceptable and stand up for what we represent.
What has your personal experience been as an Asian-American?
As an Asian-American, we felt that we’ve always been pushed really hard to be over achievers. We’re constantly being compared to others and growing up, we were not only competing against one another but our parents had these expectations that we felt like we had to live up to. There was a lot of pressure for us and the feeling of not disappointing our family was very real. It definitely wasn’t the easiest experience attempting to explain to your family that you just want to do whatever makes you happy even if that meant scooping ice cream for a living. To them, success and happiness meant the more money you make so it’s hard for them to understand how things work during our modern times. However, we felt like the older we got – the less this became an issue. Same with realizing that we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves with others (although it is difficult) but everyone moves at their own pace and instead of comparing + competing, we should be supporting one another and helping out our community anyway we can.