With the month of May ending soon...this is the first time that I've truly been celebrating and learning the meaning of what Asian Pacific American Heritage Month means to me, as an Asian-American.
All month long I've been attending various events put on by ADPI (Asian, Desi & Pacific Islander) student organizations on campus. It's incredible to see the hard work that student leaders and members dedicate to honor leaders in our community and our identity. Some of these leaders and outstanding students I have the honor of calling my friends. This month has been eye-opening in seeing the leaders and creatives that have come to speak at our school about their experiences. Growing up, I never saw any hero on television that looked like me.
I recently transferred here this fall, and I struggled to find my sense of community. I can say with confidence that joining the Vietnamese Student Association was the best decision I've made in my college career. The individuals that I've been able to meet and surround myself by have inspired me to become a better student and leader. Some of these individuals work part time, take full-time course loads, and are involved in multiple organizations. They work tirelessly and fight tenaciously for what they believe in.
As a member of VSA, it opened my eyes to a world of not just our organization, but the many other ADPI and multicultural organizations on campus. It's incredible to see all of the hard work and dedication student leaders have to teaching others and most importantly, to see these organizations collaborate and host events that promote unity. As a collective identity, ADPI covers a lot of ground. It's important that we keep progressing in this direction of unity and supporting each other. Being in these organizations has reinforced my idea that empathy and humility above all is critical.
For this Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I'm celebrating representation, visibility and those who came before me. Most of all, I'm celebrating my friends who are leaders and make differences even in our small, tight-knit ADPI community here at the University of Oregon.