GROWING UP ASIAN IN AMERICA

By Nadia Trinidad, ABS CBN North America Bureau Chief

May 24, 2013

San Francisco – An old African saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” But what happens when villagers become part of a diaspora?

“I have lived in my current house for two years and only know 2 of my neighbors. I hope to change this by inviting all my neighbors for hotpot,” fourth grader Emily Yang told a roomful of school-aged children and their parents at the Asian Art Museum.

The Asian Pacific Fund explored what it’s like to grow up Asian in America and had dared to ask immigrant children, what they would do when they become the first Asian American president of the United States.

At least fifty had answered using the pen and paint brushes.

“I would stop bullying in schools,” fourth grader Noelle Villanueva said.

“I would send kid representatives to congress because kids can cooperate. Senators can learn from them because they don’t have an agenda, they don’t have biases,” seventh grader Miguel Carrion said. His essay would later explain that this is so because “kids see no color.”

A second grader talked about discrimination–a big word she learned first-hand over lunch.

“This is how a person or race can make another person or race fell unequal in America– it can start by making someone ashamed of
the food she eats while she’s young,” said Ameila Ny. School officials who read her essay about being teased in school for bringing
Chinese food for lunch would later initiate a move that would introduce ethnic lunches in their school cafeteria.

A young Filipina from Vallejo turned in a painting where she drew symbols of her two home countries, coming together to aid aging war veterans, waiting for their families to join them in America.

“Kasi nga po worried din ako hindi lang para sa mga veterans pero para sa pamilya nila. Kasi pag nandito minsan nagkaka-gutay gutay po yung pamilya. (I’m worried not just for the veterans but for the families they’ve left behind. That’s what often happens when you move to America, sometimes the family is torn apart,” Agnes Bautsita said.

Agnes was recognized for her art. Miguel and Noelle for their essays.

They and other young Asian Americans were honored for giving hope to a village, trying to raise them in a new homeland.

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