To commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in May, UW students, staff, faculty and alumni share their personal stories of identity in a project titled “No Longer Invisible: In Their Own Words.”
These stories highlight the diversity in language, religion, culture and tradition of the AAPI communities. The project is a collaboration between the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, Undergraduate Academic Affairs, the Asian Student Commission and the Asian Pacific Islander American Faculty & Staff Association.
All stories were collected from interested volunteers. The 2014 collection is featured below.
In Their Own Words
No Longer Invisible: Nandita Vishwanath
June 24, 2015
I have always associated "home" as a place that is filled with love ones. Because of this, my "home" moves all around the world. I find home in Shimoga and Hyderabad, India - where I spent many summers with my extended family.
No Longer Invisible: Lanna Lee
June 16, 2015
"I come from a Southeast Asian background with the unique religion of Islam. I am blessed to come from the background as I do because it has provided me the understanding of diversity."
No Longer Invisible: Daniele Meñez
June 12, 2015
"My parents were both overseas Filipino migrant workers (OFWs) who met while working abroad as waitstaff at the Dai Ichi Hotel in Saipan. Although I was born in Saipan, my sister was born in the Philippines."
No Longer Invisible: Shwe Zin
June 11, 2015
"My eldest sister was born 4 months after the 1988 uprising in Burma. Not long after she was born, my father fled across the border to Thailand, along with the many students involved in the uprising."
No Longer Invisible: Johnny Le
June 5, 2015
"I come from a family that believes in showing vs saying. As a kid, I always found it hard that my parents never told me they "loved" me or praise me for my efforts like I saw my friend's parents do."
No Longer Invisible: Ly Huynh
June 3, 2015
"My father's family immigrated after the Vietnam War. My paternal grandfather was a south Vietnamese military police officer and his family was specifically targeted after the war."
No Longer Invisible: Nicki McClung
June 1, 2015
"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."
No Longer Invisible: Jes Phillip
May 29, 2015
"I was born and raised on the island of Chuuk, Micronesia. My family moved to the U.S for better education and job opportunities. It wasn't easy to transition from a small island to a big country, but because my parents had hope for my siblings and I, they tried their very best to move all…
No Longer Invisible: Benny Tran
May 28, 2015
"Like many others, my family migrated to the US in hope of finding opportunity and a better life. They migrated in different waves and worked to establish themselves so that the next group of family members would have something to come to and look forward to."
No Longer Invisible: Faridah Abdullah
May 27, 2015
"In my opinion, I feel that there is a distinction between Cham culture and Cham Islam culture. The last ruler of the Kingdom of Champa was a Muslim and converted majority of the Chams under his reign to Islam. "
No Longer Invisible: Sumitra Chhetri
May 26, 2015
"Before moving to the United States, My family lived in the Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal for more than 20 years. I was born in the camp."
No Longer Invisible: Ta Kwe Say
May 25, 2015
"I have more than one home. I was born in Burma. So that could be my motherland. I like to call Kent, WA my home, too, because I grew up there. I belong here. I am part of this community. I'm one of the few students from Burma attending the University of Washington."
No Longer Invisible: Lauren Macalalad
May 22, 2015
"While my parents left all that they had in the Philippines in order to give my sisters and I all that we have now, the only thing my parents did not give us was their native tongue."
No Longer Invisible: Min Jung Moon
May 30, 2014
"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."
No Longer Invisible: Phavy Chey
May 29, 2014
"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…
No Longer Invisible: James Hong
May 27, 2014
"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.'"
No Longer Invisible: Priscilla Kyu
May 21, 2014
"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."
No Longer Invisible: Va'eomatoka Kenneth Liueli Valu
May 20, 2014
"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."
No Longer Invisible: Muhamed Manhsour
May 15, 2014
"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."
No Longer Invisible: Shaylin Nicole Salas
May 12, 2014
"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."