East students reflect upon AAPI Heritage Month

June 20, 2021

Organized+by+the+Asian+American+Alliance+in+South+Jersey%2C+community+members+congregated+at%0Athe+Cherry+Hill+Public+Library+to+march+against+anti-asian+violence.

Yena Son (‘22)/Eastside Photo Editor

Organized by the Asian American Alliance in South Jersey, community members congregated at the Cherry Hill Public Library to march against anti-asian violence.

From the red tassels that hang on my walls,to the calendar that is inscribed with “-good fortune.” From the homemade meals, its fragrance lingering in the air long after. To the morals and principles that makeup who I am.
“What does being AAPI mean to you, what importance does AAPI Month have for you?”
Such a question is hard for me to answer when every aspect of my life has been painted with the influence of being Asian. Is it my monolid eyes? My lack of a nose bridge? Perhaps it’s how I’ll say “Aiya!” when surprised or how that one bittersweet song reminds me of my childhood.
AAPI Heritage month helps to celebrate all those different aspects of me.However, some people see those differences and think we are outsiders. They spit on us. They attack us.
“Video shows stranger attacking Asian woman with a hammer in NYC”
“Man Arrested In San Francisco Stabbing Of 2 Asian Women.”
“EXCLUSIVE: Asian father brutally attacked while walking with a 1-year-old child in SF”
Each day comes with more articles, more Instagram posts, that fill up my feed. I feel jaded, I feel like escaping from the madness. But I had the honor to speak at the Anti-Asian Hate Rally in Cherry Hill.The strength that it took to reflect on what’s been going on, and to channel my emotions into words, it made me feel empowered to atleast try to do something.
And for many others as well, this time has been a time of hardship.Many feel as though we’re trapped— both hoping to do something to help, but not sure of what to do. We know we must acknowledge what’s been going on but,by doing so, we uncover immense pain. For some, even
a simple like, comment, or repost, can require over coming an insurmountable mental wall.
During this time, please acknowledge what has been happening to us and understand that this
isn’t the first time either.From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the keeping of indigenous Filipinos in zoos, the AAPI community has suffered injustices at the hands of America. As the AAPI community begins to awaken and realize this, we will and must drive the change that will ensure that our children and grandchildren will not experience the same discrimination that we do.
When you see our differences, don’t see us as outsiders. Celebrate those differences, and celebrate us as AAPI.

A young girl protests in the Stop Anti-Asian Hate
Rally on April 10th against anti-asian violence. (Yena Son (‘22)/Eastside Photo Editor)
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