Column: My story to tell

Students+gather+around+tables+in+the+courtyard+to+celebrate+Asian+American+and+Pacific+Islander+Heritage+Month.+Whether+they+were+eating+Asian+snacks+or+playing+games%2C+everyone+pitched+in+to+celebrate.

Photo credit: Sydney Frank

Students gather around tables in the courtyard to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Whether they were eating Asian snacks or playing games, everyone pitched in to celebrate.

By Sydney Frank , Columnist

Hi, it’s Sydney. It’s nice to see you again. 

I am now a 17yearold girl, still living in Los Angeles, California. I still enjoy video games and reading books that transport me to alternate universes. I’ve been to eight incredible concerts this year, and the chipped nail polish still hasn’t left my now extremely calloused hands (thanks to the AP Lang exam), and my favorite color is green.

Throughout this school year, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world around me. From mySquid Game” commentary to expressing my love for literature, sharing my thoughts through this column has allowed me to connect with my own identity as an Asian American girl.

With that in mind, it’s finally my favorite month of the year: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

If you don’t know already, according to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, each May is devoted to commemorating “the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.” We celebrate in May to honor the first Japanese people that immigrated to the United States May 7, 1843, and to remember the work of Chinese immigrants who finished building the transcontinental railroad May 10, 1869.

The Federal Asian Pacific American Council chose the theme “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration” for 2022, so in addition to remembering our history, this month also serves as a way to support Asians and Asian Americans. However, it is incredibly important that we continue to do this outside of this designated month. Yes, APAHM is designed to specifically commemorate Asian Americans, but who’s to say that we cannot continue to show our support throughout the year?

Fahmida Chhipa, FAPAC’s vice president, told NPR, “When you have diversity at the leadership table, the magnitude of what you can accomplish is enormous.” I could not agree with this statement more. When I reflect on this year for the Asian American community, I recognize that there was a lot of hate circulating throughout the United States in light of COVID-19, whether that be physical hate crimes or increased prejudices against us. But if we put diverse people with diverse perspectives in leadership positions, we can make real change and see results. 

This is my last column, so I leave you with this: this month is incredibly important to the Asian community around the world, so you should do your part to be curious and open to new cultures. During this month (and really the rest of the year), we should all strive to uplift Asian American leaders around the world, whether that be supporting Asian businesses, artists, restaurants, etc. 

In my first column, I asked if you ever wished you had a story to tell. I questioned who I was, and I didn’t know where I fit in.

And you know what?

I’ve realized now that I don’t need to have just one story to tell.

When writing this column, I have told so many stories. I have read books, watched movies, and spotlighted the stories of countless Asians and Asian Americans across the globe. And you know what? If I could give you one piece of advice from what I have learned this year, I would tell you not to be afraid to say what’s on your mind.

I have developed a new perspective of myself and my own identity this year, and I will continue to speak out about issues that are important to me. I know now that I don’t necessarily need to fit in, I just need to make my voice heard and share all of the diverse stories I come across. 

Hi, I’m Sydney. It’s nice to see you again. I’m just a normal, Korean American girl living in a world filled with so much hate, but I think I’ve finally found my place in it.