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Asian American Pacific Islander Month!

May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the US in 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad by majority Chinese immigrant workers in 1869.


However, Asian American Pacific Islander's rich history also comes with experiences of discrimination and distrust of Asian Americans. (Some citizens looked at immigrants as a threat to their jobs and their way of life)


Over the past 200 years, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed to society in all aspects of life such as sports, entertainment, government, medicine, engineering and science. 



Meet some sisters who are celebrating AAPI Month:


Alex Pitts 🇨🇳


Share your roots:

My family is from a small village called Taishan in China.


Favorite dish/dessert:

So it's funny because my family speaks a sub-dialect of Cantonese, but most Chinese things are in Mandarin. My FAV dish is what everybody calls bao, the filled pastry buns, by my family/culture calls it bo.


A time you faced adversity:

One thing that I have learned as a member of the AAPI community is that some people don't believe that Asians face adversity due to their race. This really upset me because I try to be an advocate and ally for every minority. Asians and Asian Americans definitely DO face adversity and challenges due to their race, but much of it is so implicit that some do not even recognize it.

A perfect example of this is the stereotype of all asians being math nerds, or that all asians "eat dogs" or something. I've personally experienced this when sitting in my math class one day. The guy next to me leaned over to see my quiz grade and saw I got a better score than him. He just looked at me and said "okay, [insert asian slur]." I sat there in disbelief that he thought it was fine to call me that, i was barely able to tell him off.


I am so proud of my culture and the fact that it is an integral part of who I am. Growing up in a chinese-american household definitely gave me a different experience than some of my friends who were from strictly Chinese households. At first I felt disconnected from my culture because my experiences were different from theirs, but I quickly learned that to be Asian American is not one definition fits all, it is a personal experience that you learn to embrace and take pride in.



Amanda Chen 🇨🇳


Share your roots:

My family is from Fuzhou, China. My parents came to America in search of better opportunities for me and my siblings. My dad came to America first to find work and send money back to his family in China. Eventually, he was able to bring my mom to America permanently and they started a family.

Favorite tradition/memory:

Every year, around late May/early June, my grandma makes these sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves called, zongzi, for the Dragon Boat Festival. I loved watching her make them and would beg her to teach me how to make them, but I could never do them right. Even to this day, I still struggle to wrap them properly.


Favorite dish/dessert:

There are so many! Bubble tea, sushi, dumplings, and hot pot to name a few!


Role Model:

Melody Cheng, Helen Wu, & Janet Wang from ABG (a podcast)


A time you faced adversity:

The increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic. On social media, I'm seeing a lot of videos and stories where Asians are being targeted and attacked (both physically and verbally) due to prejudice, fear, or a myriad of other reasons. It makes me angry and heartbroken that this is happening and I just want to illustrate that these crimes are not okay and need to be stopped.


I'm proud to be an Asian American because it's a huge part of my identity. I love being able to embrace both my Asian culture as well as American culture simultaneously.



Ash Dacanay 🇵🇭


Share your roots:

My family and I are from the Philippines! I was born in Manila and we immigrated to the US when I was 3 years old.


Even though I am pretty Americanized, I still feel like my culture sets me apart. I am pretty fluid between the general community and the specific AAPI community, and I love educating people on my culture.


Favorite memory:

This is a really funny memory I have from not too long ago, but my best friend from high school all of a sudden took an interest in filipino through tik tok of all things. One day I bought a bunch of Filipino food and invited him over to try it. We filmed a video for YouTube to capture his reactions, and now he’s fully invested in learning about the culture. It’s really cool to watch him learn more about my heritage.

Favorite dish/dessert:

My absolute favorite filipino dish is lumpia! It’s a small spring roll stuffed with meat and veggies. It’s normal served as an appetizer/finger food at parties.

Role Model:

Lea Salonga! She is a filipino singer and voiced Princess Jasmine in Aladdin. She was one of the first filipino musicians that my mom showed me when I was younger and she really influenced me in my music.

A time you faced adversity:

While I can’t recall anything I’ve experienced personally, I do think the mistreatment of the AAPI community has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know some of my friends have been whispered about it public places, usually people saying that because they’re Asian, they have the virus and are infecting other people. There are also some videos online in which people face more drastic harassment related to the virus. Please be kind to everyone, and don’t base your assumptions solely on a person’s race. It’s unfair and discriminatory towards the Asian community.


I want to raise awareness about...

Just be kind to others! Especially in these times we shouldn’t be pushing others away for unfounded reasons.

Being filipino has helped me make friends with other PHC women that share the same love for the culture! On bid day, I bonded with a sister about filipino culture, and we are still close! I look up to her a lot.


Audrey Lee 🇨🇳/🇰🇷


Share your roots:

My family is from Shandong in china but both of my parents are born in Korea. My great great grandparents moved to Korea to escape the war. My mom and dad were in the same school but it wasnt until they were both intoducrd by friends when they moved to california to finally have met.


I am my families story as well as I get to immerse myself in my culture. The language to cuisine is all unique depending where they are from. It encouraged me to be accepting to other cultures and views, because they are all beautiful in there own way.


Favorite memory:

Lunar New Year! It's a time to come together as a family to wish the end of the year. We will burn incense as well as fake money to our ancestor and it's a time to reflect on the year and wishing for a prosperous new year. My favorite is when we come to gather to eat. We handmade the dumpling and there are surprises in some of them. If you find the suprises you are awarded a gift and the one who finds the most is said to have the best luck that year.


Favorite dish/dessert:

Dim sum from mine, curry is my favorite dish. Dessert anything that has mango or Matcha in it


Role Model:

Hwasa - korean idol in the group Mamamoo. She breaks from the common asain beauty standard and embraces her curves and skin. Jay Park - singer. He is from seattle and made it big on his own after being im 2pm. He created a platform for all asian artists and the first asain to sign with Rock Nation.


A time you faced adversity:

When the Covid was happened, my friends told me horror story of people dumping water on people that were chinese. It was heartbreaking to hear that since I was brought up in America. I told them to always travel in pairs or more.

The line "go back to your country" is something my dad has heard many times even though he has been in the states for 20+ years. He would always say "how about we all go back to out countries" this would allow the individual think about it, because most of the time their ancestors also have immigrated. It's just that they moved earlier than some.

I want to raise awareness about...

We are all different and express our culture in our own unique way. It is okay for others to join and learn about the culture. Dont shut them out if they are interested.


I am able to bring my culture as well as different point of view when hanging with my sisters. I have been stereotyped, but it doesnt stop me from being the best version of myself.


Bianca Maginso 🇵🇭


Share your roots:

I was born in the Phillipines, but I was raised in the USA. I don't remember much about the Philippines because I moved here when I was only 10 months old.


Fav dish - Pancit

Fav desert - Halo Halo

Favorite memory:

I haven't been back to the Philippines since I was 5 years old, but the one thing that always connects me to my heritage is the food. My mom is an amazing cook, and she is slowly showing me how to cook like her. It's kinda hard when she doesn't really know the exact measurements, but one day, I will be able to cook like her and show everyone how good the food is in the Philippines.

The Phillippines is not one of the richest countries in the world. When my parents come to the USA to have a better life for my sister and I, I knew that it took so much hard work to be where we are today. Filipinos are very hard working and optimistic people. They always want to see the good in everything. I want to be that type of Filipina who will always work hard and make change. Because of that mentality, I will graduating in June as a FEMALE engineer and former President of PHC.



Faith Pon 🇮🇩/🇨🇳

Share your roots:

I am Indonesian-Chinese American. My mom is a first generation immigrant from Indonesia and my grandpa (on my dad's side) is from China.


Coming to college as a first-gen college student was terrifying and I was so happy to find a community that accepted me for me. I have been able to be myself and share my culture with my sorority family. My sisters have helped me grow into the person I am and grounded me to stay true to who I am, regardless of the color of my skin.


Role Model:

My biggest role model is my grandpa. He immigrated from China to America when he was 8 years old with my great-grandma in hopes of a better life. He has worked so hard and I could never repay him for the life he has helped build for me to be a first-gen college student studying something that I am passionate about and allowing me to pursue my dreams. He always offers life advice and constantly supports me.


Favorite dish/dessert:

One of my favorite Indonesian dishes is called Satay, skewered grilled meat topped with peanut sauce with Nasi Goreng, Indonesian fried rice. Ordering it is good, but I stand by my mom's cooking :P

Favorite memory:

One of my favorite holidays is Chinese New Year! I went to a bilingual K-8 school and every year we had a mass gathering to celebrate Chinese New Year. Each grade, even the teachers would perform a song or dance then after we would have a potluck with traditional Asian food to bring in the new year. In 5th grade, you got learn and perform the Lion Dance, a traditional dance that scares away the evil spirits and bring in good luck for the new year. In 5th grade, I was one of the three Buddas and I had a blast performing and being apart of the Lion Dance tradition. Since then, I have always tuned into the mass gathering live stream to keep up with my school and continue to celebrate Chinese New Year.


A time you faced adversity:

With everything going on in the world, it hurts that there are posts and videos that are bashing Asian people for COVID. It can be hurtful, but I have to remind myself that someone is just trying to blame someone/something. I don't think these people mean harm, but it is insensitive.


I want to raise awareness about...

More representation in the media! There are not enough Asians speaking up and raising their voices about being seen and sharing our culture. When I watched Crazy Rich Asians for the first time, I cried. I didn't know why, but I soon realized it was from seeing someone like me on the big screen for the first time - an all Asian-American cast that didn't have a funny accent or playing the villain, but rather being loving and caring. Growing up, I struggled with my identity being Asian. I wanted to have fair skin, colored eyes, taller, eat Lunchables like my friends instead of rice and veggies. I wanted to be like the people I saw on TV.

It may not seem like it is important, but seeing someone like you in the media allows you to be comfortable being yourself. With age and seeing more representation in media, I feel proud and comfortable to be Asian American. I want to raise awareness about being an Asian American, spread our culture, and break down stereotypes.


While it took me a lot of years to be proud of my heritage, I am very proud to be Asian American because I understand all the hard work, effort, and challenges AAPI people have/will face. With the media, there has been more representation throughout the years that help make me feel more comfortable and proud in my skin as an Asian American.



Isabel Min 🇰🇷


Share your roots:

My family is from South Korea. My dad immigrated to America when he was ten years old and was the first Asian American to attend my high school.


Role Model: Ali Wong

Favorite dish/dessert: Galbi Tang


Favorite memory:

My family and I went to Korea and visited the Min palace where my ancestors once lived.


I want to raise awareness about...

#NotTheSame Campaign aims to challenge Asian American stereotypes


I am proud to be Asian American because it has helped shape me into the person I am today.

Jocelyn Lui 🇨🇳


Share your roots:

My family is from Fujian, China


Role Model:

Probably Lucy Liu because she has a banging last name.


Favorite tradition:

My favorite tradition is eating hotpot for special holidays!


Favorite dish/dessert:

My favorite dish is definitely the Chinese pastries. It’s absolutely unbeatable. I would give up my left arm to get an egg tart for real for real.

A time you faced adversity:

There isn’t a single time I can pinpoint. Being an Asian American woman is a guaranty for a hard life in America. Personally, I believe it’s how I become as bold as I am today in the face of adversity. You just got to persevere.


I want to raise awareness about...

It’s unfortunate that there are not a lot of Asian Americans in Hollywood or in high fame communities, so the public perceptions of what “Asians are like” are specifically a certain few images.


I think despite the poor representation in American pop culture, Asian Americans continue to shatter stereotypes and promote their individuality while honoring what Asian pride means to them.


I feel like I have a community (greek life) of strong, diverse people who are ready to unite and support each other.



Mae Hacker 🇹🇼


Share your roots:

My mom was born and raised in Taiwan


Favorite dish/dessert:

Bubble tea and Taiwanese beef noodle soup!


Favorite memory:

One of my favorite parts about being Taiwanese is visiting Taiwan to see my family (especially my grandmother)!! I can’t wait to go back after quarantine!




Maggie Ho 🇻🇳/🇨🇳


Share your roots:

My dad was from Vietnam and my mom was from China. They wrote love letters for two years before meeting for the first time. They eventually got engaged and immigrated to America to start a new life!


I am proud of my heritage and being able to showcase the resilience, hope, and love with the PHC community is a blessing. I want to share with the PHC community my family's story because through my parent's story, I believe that I can do anything that I set my heart to.


Role Model:

Catriona Gray is a BOSS BABE. I hope to be as amazing and inspirational as her one day. She does amazing work for her country and her people.


Favorite dish/dessert:

I am obsessed with Egg tarts and pineapple buns!


Favorite tradition/memory:

My favorite time of year is always Lunar New Year because I get to see all of my family, eat amazing food, and receive red envelopes! I also LOVE boodle fight / kamayan in Filipino culture. It's always a good time!


A time you faced adversity:

I grew up as the daughter of a nail technician. All my life, I had to deal with dumb ignorant jokes about Asian American nail salon owners. It was painful to hear people poke fun of my mom and her line of work. My mom is an amazing woman and forever my role model. She came to America without knowing ANY english, learned a new language after already knowing cantonese and mandarin! She learned to do nails, saved every penny she had, and opened her own business. She is incredible and I wish I could half as resilient as her. Going through this situation, I have a greater respect for small and family owned businesses, especially by immigrant families. The amount of resilience and determination to start a new life in a new country and actually successfully DOING THE DANG THING! I will forever be grateful to be an Asian American, daughter of an immigrant.


I want to raise awareness about...

Asian Americans are not "model minorities". There should not be a contest between which minority group is better or worse. We need to lift EVERYONE up and encourage each other if we want a more equal and hopeful future.

I am proud of the culture, the endless stories of resilience, and of course... the amazing food!


Marlee Muha 🇹🇭


Share your roots: Thailand

I am proud of the rich culture that we have and the yummy food!


Role Model: Lucy Liu


Favorite dish/dessert:

My favorite dish is pork fried rice and pork buns!


Greek life allows me to connect to other Asian Americans within the community and empowers me to always do my best



Safa Sikder 🇧🇩


Share your roots:

My mom and dad are from Bangladesh! I was born in New York.


Favorite dish/dessert:

Samosas and chicken tikka masala (very cliche but this SLAPS)


Favorite memory:

My family go to an annual picnic that celebrates families from a certain city in Bangladesh. The attendees are all family friends and there are games, food, music, speeches, and much more. I've been going to them for as long as I can remember. My cousins and I do not even participate in the picnic, we usually end up hiding away and fooling around on our own. But also eat the food. Every year, no matter how much older or mature I was, I can feel myself reverting to my childlike self at this picnic. I'm not sure if its because my cousins are all crazy or I'm secretly crazy like them, but its a tradition that is so dear to my heart because it is so nostalgic.


Role Model:

Priyanka Chopra. She dominated BOTH Bollywood and American TV. AND married Nick Jonas. Homegirl is living my dream of living the best of both worlds AND being married to NICK JONAS.


Within greek life, I am delighted to share my culture, stories, and values with my sisters, and I enjoy learning about them as well! I create strong connections with sisters that I know and understand through and through. This understanding makes me more aware of our PHC community and how to celebrate that diversity!


A time you faced adversity:

I had a lot of difficulty finding where I belonged. I was raised Bengali American. I did not really fit in with the kids who were born in BD and then moved here. I didn't really fit in with Americans either, and this goes beyond than just skin color. I often had issues making friends when I was younger, unsure of where I truly belonged or what path I should follow. Through lessons that I have learned through making and losing friendships, understanding both cultures, and prioritizing myself and my happiness, I learned to accept myself and make decisions for MYSELF. I made friends that I wanted - not that I was required to to fit in. I participated in activities that made me happy in BOTH cultures - and I also formed my own opinions about these cultures as well. Brewing my own blend of the two, I have decided a life of my own on my own accord and I feel strong and independent. I encourage people in the same boat as I am to do the same. We are not bound by traditions by chains, we are connected to them in spirit. We should not be obligated to follow the rules, rather, reasonate with them if they are spiritually connected to the individuals core values. The USA allows us all the right of freedom, and this includes an individuals ideals and beliefs.


I want to raise awareness about...

I would love to raise awareness about the gender biases in my culture. Bengali women ARE NOT treated equally as bengali men. And as I am a very deviant Bengali American myself, I plan to eliminate these biases and embrace my independence and successes in life. I wish to prove to our Bengali community that I can be successful and happy without a man and some misogynistic ideals not only in our sub-culture, but society as a whole. I would love to be an advocate for other young south asian women to no longer be restricted by outdated and sexist traditions.

I have been a Bengali American all my life. Balancing the two has been one of the most difficult tasks while growing up. I often questioned what group I truly belonged in. Through a lot of self-reflection, successful and failed friendships, and lessons from my parents, I learned that I can take control of my own life and make the best of both worlds. I learned that I didn't need to BELONG anywhere, I just needed to accept who I was and live my own path without following any specifc path. Basically just learned to walk to the beat of my own drum. This lesson was not learned without trouble, but just the instance of overcoming this insecurity and rising above it makes me extremely proud of both cultures within me.



   © 2020 Panhellenic Council at Drexel University.

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