by Nikki Xiong
Many do not know that the month of May is recognized as Asian and Pacific American Heritage month. APAH dedicates and celebrates Asian and Pacific American presence, culture and contributions in the United States.
The purpose of celebrating Asian and Pacific Heritage connects back to two significant times in history– the first Japanese to immigrate to the U.S. on May 7, 1849, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, whose main workforce were Chinese laborers.
Even with a month solely meant to celebrate cultural diversity, why does it still feel like representation is not representative?
Humboldt State University has had an extensive history with Asian and Pacific Islander student groups, such as the Asian Student Union and the Asian and Pacific American Student Alliance who have been forerunners for the advancement of these communities and predecessors for the current, Asian, Desi, Pacific Islander Collective (ADPIC) .
Yet, with such a historical presence in the HSU community, we are neglected and set on the sidelines. This is not to say that we have not received campus-wide support, it is more about receiving campus-wide support and nothing happening.
We have been recognized, acknowledged and commemorated for our cultural programming work, yet it feels like that is all we are here for.
We still face institutional challenges that restrict our advancement after years and years of student volunteer work and proven ability to support these communities.
It feels like our programming is being tokenized to showcase that the university supports diversity.
It has always felt like our traditions and cultures have been romanticized, glorified and appropriated because we are “exotic” and different from the norm.
This may be because of the “forever foreign” idea that we will always be the “other” because we do not look like the norm.
Our work becomes frustrating because no matter how hard we have worked and will continue to work, we will never receive what we deserve.
ADPIC asks for three things, financial stability to continue programming, that goes beyond cultural programs, and to give students professional experience, and a space where we can provide a community place for the Asian, Desi and Pacific Islander communities and resources for their future endeavors.
If this is too much to ask for, then why did all those students commit so many hours, days, months and years for nothing?