This personal submission is a part of the “No Longer Invisible: In Their Own Words” project, a story series established to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month at the UW.
Name: Shaylin Nicole Salas
Major: Environmental Science & Resource Management
Minors: Diversity and Urban Ecological Design
“It is important for the Pacific Islander community to be visible because we are a tiny group, only 0.7% of UW students. It is rare that people have heard of Guam, or Palau, or even Tonga. We need to be visible because we live here too.”
“Pacific Islanders are often misunderstood and stereotyped in society. We need to be seen so that we can share our knowledge and culture. There are stories behind our customs and language that may benefit the dominant society and culture.
Several colleagues and I are part of a task force that is fighting to establish a Pacific Islander Studies major and department on campus. My personal vision is to have a space on campus that supports and promotes alternative teaching and learning styles.
“I was born in Guam and then my family moved to Washington in pursuit of better education and job opportunities. I only speak English fluently. I know very little of my native tongue, Chamorro.
The Chamorro are indigenous peoples of the Mariana Islands, which are politically divided between the United States territory of Guam and the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Micronesia (Wikipedia).”