Op-ed: We couldn’t stay quiet—Why we founded the Asian Student Alliance
Alpha Cindy Avitia High School. Photo courtesy of the school.

Due to the recent hate crimes in America, it is important that we remember those suffering and advocate for those who can’t speak up for themselves. Although crimes against the Asian community have been put into the spotlight recently, we must remember that our pain has gone unheard for decades.

As Asian students we know that we do not fit narratives and stereotypes that various political parties have set on us. This is why we want to give Asian students at our school—the minority—a chance to speak up and stand up for our community. This is why we created the Asian Student Alliance (ASA).

Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate crimes are rapidly increasing throughout the United States, and our goal in ASA is to change people’s perspectives on Asians, protect our community and inform people about the daily atrocities that are committed upon Asians.

It was important for us to start ASA because not enough people were talking about this topic; people just viewed these events on the news and chose to ignore them. Incidents such as Vicha Ratanapakdee’s murder have made us passionate about starting this club because we see the most vulnerable people in our community, like the elderly, getting attacked for no apparent reason outside of racism. We want to give students the ability to educate themselves on this subject as well as gain a deeper appreciation for our culture.

It was important to form this club specifically for our school, Alpha Cindy Avitia High School, to provide a space where we can educate our fellow students on Asian culture as well as make a name for ourselves at the school. Our school is composed of roughly 90% Latinx/Hispanic students. This makes the Asian population the minority and we believe it is important for us to have a voice in our school because we want to be more included in our community.

Asians are often seen as the model minority and this has silenced us. In order to become a respected part of the community, we need to educate our fellow students and show them our diverse Asian cultures are beautiful and worthy.

In developing this club we realize that there has been an alarming amount of Asian racism throughout our community in East San Jose. The goal of this club is to combat this and further improve our community for generations to come. In the future we hope to bring better representation toward our Asian students and further improve our status and bonds throughout our communities and schools.

Our club hopes and works toward not just being a club, but a movement where everyone is welcome to display their feelings and provide support to people suffering. We strive to make our communities a more united and safe place for all.

How do we plan to do it? We would like to organize drives where we receive toiletries, food, clothes and other goods so we can give it back to our communities. People will be well accounted for and will not have to tolerate uncomfortable situations, therefore making our communities more united so we can fight for the bigger task at hand.

Once our communities are safe and united, we can work toward helping others outside the Bay Area and continue to provide services to people that cannot stand up for themselves.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic we have been meeting regularly to discuss ways to help fundraise and ways to help give back to the Asian community. We have made an action plan and an agenda to set dates so we can execute these plans as soon as possible.

Some of these fundraiser plans include selling snacks that are favorites in our communities and households to share pieces of our cultures with others. With this money we plan to purchase goods, foods and donate to Asian awareness organizations where the most people would receive and benefit from our proceeds.

Overall, we hope that the work we do in ASA can benefit Asian communities within East San Jose. We call on our community to speak up against anti-Asian hate and let us help educate them on the beauty and history of Asian culture.

Together, we can create a safe and inclusive society for all.

The Asian Student Alliance was founded by ChiAn Nguyen, Huan Nguyen, Vincent Pham, Dylan Nguyen and Kevin Tran, all students of Alpha Cindy Avitia High School.

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