Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

June 1, 2015

No Longer Invisible: Nicki McClung

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.

Nicki McClung

Name: Nicki McClung

Identity: Japanese, Irish Canadian

School: Evans School (graduate school)

Career Interest: Public Administration – International development and technology entrepreneurship

Organization Involvement: The Partnership for Community and Diversity at the Evans School, Net Impact Seattle

“I’m actually Canadian, so that will always be home to me, but I think for anyone who migrates from one country to another, it’s tough to really say that that place isn’t home. I have two homes now, but I think my Japanese identity will always be strong for me.”

“One of the strongest aspects of Japanese culture is the family aspect. Even when my family came to North America there was always such an emphasis on family. My grandfather came from a family of 14, and those that are still alive remain very close to this day. My grandparents tried to maintain as much of the culture as possible, including New Years Day breakfast and dinner, probably my favorite meals of the year. Ozoni is the New Years Breakfast soup, and it’s a shrimp soup with mochi. Very delicious.

My family has been here for 4 generations. My great-great-grandparents were en route to Canada and stopped in Hawaii, where my great-grandmother was born. The family continued onto Canada, but my great-grandmother was a dual citizen. Both my grandmother’s and grandfather’s family were living in the greater Vancouver area during WWII, and both were interned. They never achieved the same wealth they had accumulated before, but worked very hard to become successful despite starting from scratch.

I think sometimes all Asians are lumped together as one homogenous group. It’s important to celebrate diversity in a group that is often thought of as one. My vision is to see AAPI groups represented as a separate and flourishing economy and culture rather than one homogenous group.”

View mores stories from the “No Longer Invisible: In Their Own Words” project.