To commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in May, University of Washington students, staff, faculty and alumni shared their personal stories of identity in the “No Longer Invisible: In Their Own Words” project.
Denny Hurtado received the University of Washington’s Charles E. Odegaard Award and several outstanding student scholarship recipients were recognized at the 44th annual Celebration, Fête and Honors held May 22, at UW’s Husky Union Building.
Cheryl A. Metoyer’s lecture titled “Are We There Yet? The Four Directions in Native American Higher Education,” examined the challenges and experiences of Native American students in their pursuit of higher education.
“I am not just an American, Korean, and a follower of Mormon faith. I am so much more than that. I am a person of wonder, heart, gratitude, and unique struggles and aspirations – just like everyone else.”
“My mother was forced to leave her homeland following the Khmer Rouge, a genocide led by communists who killed over two thirds of Cambodia’s population. She lost her entire family, including her husband, who was killed when he was forced to enlist in the war and her children who died soon after from starvation and malnutrition.”
“There’s a common misconception that diverse or ethnic cultures can be experienced through food alone. ‘Let us share this spring roll, and upon digestion, our two minds shall become one.'”
“Growing up, I tried to make sense of my ethnic and cultural heritage. Not quite Chinese. Not quite Burmese. Not quite American. I would listen and understand the adults in my family speak Burmese and while I understand, I never learned to speak the language.”
“I am a first generation Tongan immigrant. My mother and I came to the United States when I was 14 years old, leaving behind life on the islands of the Kingdom of Tonga with a total population of about 110,000 people.”
“Hmong are an ethnic minority from Southwest China and the northern regions of Burma, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Many of the Hmong people in the United States are from the highlands of Laos.”
“My name is Muhamed Manhsour. People look at me and see an Asian face. They wonder why I have an Arabic name. This is because of my wonderful heritage and I aim to preserve my culture so that succeeding generations will be enriched.”