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Asian-American Culture Day shines a light on student experiences


Students had the opportunity to attend panels, hear poetry, and listen to alumni during a virtual Asian-American Culture Day Wednesday, Feb. 10. 

Each block had different speakers who offered personal experiences on how being Asian-American has affected them and their identity. Speakers also discussed how the rise of anti-Asian racism due to COVID-19 has affected them.

Throughout the day, students and alumni of North talked about growing up Asian-American. D-block speaker Jenny Huang, an alumna, shared a video that she wrote and directed about Chinese-American identity. The video had students and faculty from Huang’s university, Smith college, share what their Chinese-American identity means to them. 

Stephanie Choi, a student in the video, answered the question what does it mean to be Chinese-American in 2020, “Courageously stepping out of silence, and inviting others in our community to do the same and stepping into radical solidarity” said Choi. 

North alumni e-block, reflected on their experiences coming to terms with their identity in a predominantly white school. Panelist Sheil Mehta responded to a question about how he has understood his identity, “I wanted to rebel against these stereotypes,” said Mehta. and “Just grappling with what parts of my stereotype that are a part of me and what aren’t.”

Asian-American Culture Day also addressed racism in the pandemic, with members of the Asian Culture Club sharing personal experiences of racism they experienced. Sophomore Cathy Zhao said, “Me and my sister were going on a walk and this guy drove past us in a car and yelled, ‘Go back to China!’ at us.”

Rose Giroux, a junior shared a similar personal experience to Zhao, who said, “My eleven year old brother was on a bike ride and he was approached by an adult who started screaming in his face, about how he would spread the virus and the man referred to him like as ‘a Chinese’ and it’s just really horrible that he’s in sixth grade and he’s experiencing this.” 

Asian-American Culture Day also took some time to focus on the increase of hate crimes against Asian-Americans due to COVID-19. They played a video discussing bullying in schools, and  people calling COVID-19 the “China virus.” 

The f-block student panel ended with a video poem named, “Call it COVID-19,” it said “this virus does not discriminate, people do.” The poem highlighted recent acts of racism towards Asian-American people with a call to action at the end, saying “How could you know what a word could do unless it was said about you unless you were me then maybe you’d call it COVID-19.” 

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About the Contributor
Grace Beecher, Editor-in-chief
Grace Beecher is currently a senior at Newton North High School. Outside of school she dances at All That Jazz, and is involved in Theatre Ink’s shows. In her free time she loves to read. Some of her favorite books are Educated and The Hate U Give. Other than reading, Grace also enjoys skiing, spending time with family and friends, and listening to music. Some of her favorite artists are Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish. Her favorite movie styles are comedy and action, and her favorite movie of all time is Singin’ in the Rain. Her favorite subjects in school are math and chemistry. She is looking forward to a great year on Volume 101.
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