Remember the “What’s your story?” video challenge launched by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders last fall? Well now, its time to vote for “a group of these exceptional AAPI leaders to share their stories at the White House as special guests at a White House Initiative event in March”!
I just watched all these videos, and what’s so exciting for me is that these are stories that would not usually reach the big old White House.
These are stories of Khmer Exiled Americans who were deported to a country they had never seen, of a proud Asian American activist with a disability, of an adopted Korean-American teacher raised in Western Kentucky, of Chinese Immigrant Student Leadership members, and of the Waiʻanae community on the island of Oʻahu. There is a spoken word video by “a 1st generation, working class, queer Samoan woman/activist of color”, and a submission from the Asian Pride Project, which advocates for “heightened visibility, acceptance and community for API gender minorities and their families by sharing their stories.” The selection also features the Philadelphia Suns working with underprivileged youth in the city, a stand up comedian, an artist who is influenced by her mixed marriage, and a first generation Filipina who is also the granddaughter of a WWII Prisoner of War.
“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” are too often grouped into a category, and while there’s strength and beauty in the solidarity, the diversity within our communities is underrepresented. Jeremy Lin is awesome, but not all of us can make it to Harvard, or play basketball at the NBA level. And not all of us want to. Some of us want to be comedians instead. And some of us are undocumented, deported, and waiting to be able to come home. Whoever you are, vote for a story that speaks to you – because if we vote in big numbers, we can show the White House that yeah, we matter, and there’s many of us who care about being represented in the political decisions being made about our lives.