We believe the purpose of education is for liberation, and that our shared liberation is intertwined across communities. We reject the erasure of AAPI experiences from the larger narrative of American life and believe that as the stories of the AAPI community are understood and highlighted, we all rise and move toward realizing our purpose.
Through this celebration, we educate ourselves and share knowledge about the rich diversity within the AAPI community. We provide counternarratives to harmful stereotyping of the AAPI community and work to understand its impact on creating division, seeking to promote allyship across all communities.
Through this work, we create an environment where KIPPsters appreciate the beauty and strength of Asian and Pacific Islander culture, celebrate differences, find joy in the process of learning about something that may be new, and find inspiration in understanding the interconnectedness of liberation for all people.
Celebrating the Contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Stories We Love
Celebrating the Diversity of our Heritage
Yes, my Cambodian & Chinese heritage has shaped who I am as a person today because my parents survived the Khmer Rouge & cam to America as refugees. The struggles they faced & opportunities they were able to grab hold of helped me to be who I am.
I am a stronger person by living a life long journey to self-discovery
As a child of a Filipino immigrant, I've learned to appreciate their strength to leave their home country to give their children better opportunities in life. They taught me to resilient, persistent and to never give up on my goals in life.
There is a special feeling for those who live in duality with their cultural identities. One of mine is being Pilipinx-American. It has brought both challenges, but also a perspective of the world that is unique. It has shaped my values, experiences, and who I am. It has also allowed me to embrace the diversity of our world.
Growing up in America has made me appreciate my own heritage more than I'd have imagined. I grew up with a lot of questions about where our family came from and who we were because of the simple fact that we were not in our home country anymore. So whenever my parents talked about their past, I found myself perking my ears up a bit more and connecting those dots to myself and my family. Imposter syndrome is prevalent everywhere but I think it's something that almost every person of color deals with at one point in our lives. I never truly felt "American" (and I still don't) because of my heritage and my background. But I also don't necessarily feel fully "Korean" because of where I've lived for most of my life. So I always find myself stuck in limbo between these two worlds and not understanding if I should "pick a side" and which side I should pick. But in the past 5 years or so, I've realized that I don't have to pick a side. I've been walking a tightrope almost all my life anyway and I've learned to love both sides of my cultural upbringing.
It is a big part of my identity growing up as a Korean American. My Korean culture roots me and ties me to my ancestors and relatives back in Korea.
First, I would like to point out that "nationality" and "ethnicity" are not synonymous with one another. Being that I identify as a Filipino-American, I find that my American nationality experience is different to my Filipino ethnic heritage. As a Filipino-American, it has shaped greatly how I view the world and how the world see me. Because of how I'm presented in the world, I am aware that I am ethnically ambiguous. My last name is Espejo and my skin is tan. On-lookers often mistake me for Chinese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Samoan, or Latina due to my last name. Because of this, I have grown fonder of my Filipino culture and have more pride when people correctly identify me ethnicity. I am proud that America is the melting pot that it is today, however, my ethnic culture has never been celebrated within the four walls of my classroom growing up. Growing up in America, I was told speaking my home-language was "weird" by my classmates and teachers, so naturally, I began to push away my ethnic identity to adopt American values. At home, I practiced Filipino belief systems such as, doing your best in school in order to get the best education. Reflecting on this question, both my American nationality and Filipino ethnic values have shaped how I effect change in the classrooms I teach. Not only do I want to assist our students in being aware of the American systems that continue to suppress Black and Brown members of our community, but to also be culturally aware of their own ethnic beliefs and traditions that have power in liberating them from a racist and oppressive society. I want to communicate with students that just because you're in America/have grown up in America, does not mean you can not continue to celebrate your ethnic heritage in and out of the classroom. If anything, practicing your heritage has the power to mold our society into a more equitable and accepting environment.
I am a Japanese-American woman and a "Sansei," a third generation born in the U.S. I've always been proud of my family but I struggled on how I fit in as an American & Asian descent.
While growing up as a Native Hawaiian and Filipino child in Hawai'i, I always had a push and pull between these two cultures. As I got older, I learned how my multi-cultural identity created me as a whole. While I primarily identify as a Native Hawaiian to continually boost representation of my heritage/culture, many of my beliefs and actions are also closely tied to my Filipino heritage as well.
Being Filipina is a part of me that I am rediscovering as I get older. The impact of the pressure to assimilate after immigrating to the United States was that I lost touch with what being Filipina meant to me. Today, I take pride in my family's collectivist, kind, and generous approach to life that has been demonstrated from generation to generation. I treasure the community mindset that we embody - especially because it is in stark contrast to the individualistic mindset that is so prevalent in America. Our community mindset provides an important balance to the rugged individualism of western culture.
My family immigrated to Los Angeles from the Philippines, and they worked long hours to provide for me and my two sisters. But they always believed they could find more opportunities in the United States, and they instilled in me both the idea of having big dreams and never giving up.
My roots of India have supported me to connect with Yoga. There is a type of decolonization that needs to occur in the US due to culture appropriation within yoga. My entire perspective about my career shifted when I visited the motherland. I gained more clarity and empathy. My roots have supported me to ground myself through the midst of chaos my family and I faced with the Incarcereal system here in Los Angeles.
As an adolescent, it was just the place where my mom was from, why I was dark complected and had long hair, and why we ate SPAM. Today, it's the spirit of Aloha that she instilled in me - warmth, sincerity, and an appreciation and respect for others.
Celebrating Meaningful Traditions!
Yes we celebrate Thai, Laos & Cambodian New Year by going to the temple burning incense for our ancestors & passed loved ones, which is in April compared to Chinese New Years which is in February & we give out red envelopes with money inside to our loved ones to wish them a prosperous new year. We wear white at funerals & red for our weddings that last 7 days with monks from the temple.
Having seaweed soup on birthdays and specials occasions
In Filipino culture we greet our elders by placing their hand on our forehead. It is called "mano" or "pagmamano", which is a sign of respect to our elders.
A cultural practice amongst Pilipinxs is to "mano" or bless which is an honoring gesture to show a sign of respect to elders and receive a blessing. This has always been an important gesture to me, especially because it honors those who have come before us.
The phrase "Happy New Year" in Korean translates to, "I hope you have many blessings this new year!" I always loved how this is phrased. It's such a selfless and optimistic way to start your new year. So we Koreans start every new year with a bow. It's a day of reflection and gratitude for our blessings but also gleefully anticipating what's to come. You bow down to your elders and they'll offer words of advice for the new year ("Do well in school!", "When are you going to get married?", etc.) and there may even be an envelope of cash given to you after to start your new year with a bang. I love this tradition because it always comes back to who and what inspires you to keep going and that's family!
Korean culture: For New Years we bow to our parents to pay respect and kick off the new year as they bless us with good fortune.
In the picture below, I am spending time with my family on Christmas and New Year's. In Filipino culture, it's important to prioritize your family and give them gifts (similar to American tradition.) On New Year's day, Filipinos believe making a lot of noise using fire crackers, screaming, and money dropping will steer bad spirits away. It is also custom to eat noodles on New Year's to represent long life. In addition, Filipinos tend not to eat chicken on New Year's day because the meat itself is cheaper than beef and pork. Because it is cheaper, it is believed that if you eat chicken on New Year's day, you will not have as much wealth this year.
Yes! Among many others, my favorite tradition is our family's New Years morning gathering where my whole family would make homemade mochi and laugh over how many kuromame (sweet black soybeans) we would have to eat for good luck!
Each year my family and I get together for New Years and share the same delicious meal. My mother get up early in the morning to boil the broth for dumpling soup with rice cakes.
During Christmas Break we make parols (Filipino star-shaped lantern) to hang up around the house. Sometimes the parols are small and sometimes they are bigger than my head! I enjoy thinking about the different designs I will put on my parol each year. This past Christmas my parol was pink and gold. I like this tradition because on a very busy holiday going from party to party, we can come together as a family to just sit around the table without any screens and just chat while making our parols.
Every May 1st we celebrate Lei Day. Growing up we would have a big school assembly celebration for lei day. There was a court of princess and princes that represented each island's unique lei. There would be music, performances, and delicious food for lunch. This was an event I looked forward to each year because I either got selected to be on the court or I was performing. The week of Lei Day, we would make flower lei to either wear on May 1st or give away. After I graduated high school, I realized that Lei Day wasn't just something that I did for school. My family would still make lei the week of May 1st. When I went away for college and now living in California, it was a little hard to collect flowers to make a lei so I now have lei that is fake that I wear for Lei Day. I love this holiday because we are able to celebrate the preservation of the Hawaiian culture. Lei making skills were taught to me when I was very young and I hope to teach them to my children as well.
I have been dancing hula since I was a little girl. Something I looked forward to growing up was attending all of my older cousin's weddings and watching them dance their own bridal or couple's hula. When I got married, this was one of the biggest traditions that my family members and myself were looking forward too. From song selection to choreography, the process of creating and learning a hula for this special event will forever be my favorite hula. Ku'u Pua Mae'ole by Keali'i Reichel was the song we selected and it's message of love and thanks was perfect for our wedding. As we continue to make California our home, I look forward to finding a place that I can continue to practice hula as this is one of the main ways I connect to my culture.
I LOVE Filipino food and hope to learn my mom's recipes! Food and large family gatherings are a major part of my family tradition. There is no such thing as a small family gathering. (With exception of these COVID times) I also treasure trips to the Philippines with my daughter because she is able to experience what the Philippines is and develop her own understanding of what it means to her to be Filipina.
My family is Catholic so Holy Week, Easter, and Christmas are important holidays in our family. One way we celebrate Christmas is by making a parol from scratch. A parol is a Filipino lantern that is shaped like a 3D star (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parol).
YOGA, Meditation, Indian food and clothes.
It's simple - gathering over our favorite Hawaiian foods and music, and talking story!
August 14th: Independence Day; Muslim Religious Observations: Ramadaan, Eid.
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