Celebrating the Influence of Asian American and Pacific Islander Culture

Celebrating the Influence of Asian American and Pacific Islander Culture

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we asked some of our Girls Inc. participants to share how they celebrate, embrace or show appreciation for the AAPI cultural heritage. These thoughtful reflections highlight the diversity within the AAPI community, from discussing Filipino and Indian traditions, to an ally’s appreciation for her Polynesian friend’s culture. Through their voices, we gain insight into the multifaceted AAPI experience and the importance of fostering inclusivity, understanding, and cross-cultural appreciation.

In high school, I celebrated my AAPI heritage by co-founding the Asian American Alliance, where we educated the community about Asian holidays and traditions, fostering cultural understanding and pride in a predominantly white and Hispanic town. As a Filipina, I always wished more people understood the diverse histories within Asian communities. I was inspired by my Lola and Lolo who created a Filipino convenience store called Philippine Imports. Their legacy of celebrating their culture inspired me to advocate for accurate representation in history. I aim to ensure no culture’s past is erased, fostering inclusivity and empathy.

On Diwali, my favorite Hindu holiday to celebrate, I help my family cook amazing Indian food and desserts after doing a prayer to celebrate our Festival of Lights. This celebration is so beautiful and is filled with color, fireworks, music, dancing, and love.

I embrace my cultural heritage by performing traditional Bollywood dances and sharing my love for Bollywood movies with my friends!

I wish AAPI holidays would be more recognized in America so that students like me can have time off from school to spend time with our families and partake in traditions.

Although I am not a member of the AAPI community, I have benefited from the culture of this community through the love of my best friend, Eva! Growing up, I had the privilege of being around Eva and her family as they celebrated their Polynesian culture. Whenever I was sad or
going through a tough time, her mother was always there to bring me up with her kind words and fill my belly with spam musubi. Eva’s closeness to her family and heritage influenced me to embrace my own with pride and to celebrate cultures that, although different, were beautiful in their own special way. I am happy to celebrate AAPI Month as a grateful ally!