AANHPI Month celebrates diversity and inclusivity


Claire Kim

FLAVORFUL FUNDRAISER. Members of Asian Student Alliance run the bake sale table during the month of May to gather donations to Asian Media Access. In the end, a total of $319 was raised selling various Asian delights.

To many, May doesn’t just mark the last full month of school; it’s a time to celebrate communities, culture and forgotten history through Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. AANHPI Heritage Month was officially designated to May on Oct. 23, 1992 and has since been used to mark AANHPI contributions to American history.
Sophomore Serene Kalugdan shares what her AANHPI heritage means to her as an Asian American: “I think it’s important to have a month to recognize [the AANHPI community] because of the recent Asian hate crimes,” she said. “It’s important to note that Asian people are part of this country and that their history matters just as much as American history.”


— Serene Kalugdan

Freshman Shefali Meagher views her AANHPI heritage in a similar way. “I’m South Asian and we have [different cultures] that’s different from a lot of other countries in Asia. […] I think it’s a cool idea to represent everyone and have a celebration for each [AANHPI] culture and identity,” she said.
One way AANHPI heritage is acknowledged at SPA is through its only affinity group, Asian Student Alliance (ASA). “I love ASA because it’s super fun. I feel like I’m closer to Asian people because we relate and have the same struggles and interests,” Kalugdan said. This year, ASA held a bake sale in honor of AANHPI Heritage Month. They raised $319 and all proceeds went to Asian Media Access.
Other than at ASA, many students feel that AANHPI heritage isn’t thoroughly recognized at SPA. “I feel like other than this year, there hasn’t been much recognition for the month,” Kalugdan admitted. When asked about how SPA can better support the AANHPI community, Kalugdan said, “SPA should implement more cultures, especially in the World History curriculum. When we talk about the Vietnam War, we don’t talk about Hmong people. When we talk about Asia, we talk about Japan and China. I think they could do a better job at expanding [the curriculum] to different countries like the Philippines and Laos.”
Freshman Lani Ngonethong agrees that AANHPI heritage is often ignored. “Asia isn’t just one type. We also have Pacific Islanders, which I feel that we ignore a lot,” she said. “So I feel like we have to recognize that there are multiple parts to [AANHPI heritage] first. […] I think a way to portray and show Asian culture and history and have people visually see it is by having a day where we are all able to dress up and present ourselves.”
Use this month to make the AANHPI community at SPA feel appreciated and valued. May is the perfect time to take advantage of resources to learn about the history and cultures of different people. This can be done through supporting AANHPI-owned businesses and restaurants such as Suci’s Shop, Hmong Village and more. Most importantly, remember that AANHPI