AAPI Instagram page celebrates the heritage of students


Rebekah Butler

Students submitted photos to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Instagram page (@aapiheritagemonth) to represent their respective backgrounds. The page allows AAPI students an opportunity to share their culture and traditions on a social platform.

During the mid-18th century, Asian Americans began to immigrate to America, and Pacific Islanders followed in the 19th century. Since then, the country was blessed with new cultures and traditions to be passed on for centuries. Originally, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage was celebrated in a week of festivities but was soon turned into a month of celebration in 1990.

AAPI Month is a time of reflection for many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Throughout the month of May, AAPI communities celebrate their heritage and important contributions to history. It is a time to honor and respect their history and traditions.

“AAPI month isn’t just a month to speak about the negative aspects of the AAPI experience, such as the model minority myth and the generations of violences directed to our people. It is also a time to share our beautiful cultures and our colorful experience,” Kathy Trinh (10) said. “It is a time for us to show others that people of the AAPI community are diverse, and they aren’t all from China or Japan. Our people have done many great things to bring this world to where it is now. AAPI month is the perfect time to bring it all out.”

Lynx Yuan (12) created @aapiheritagemonth, an Instagram page where AAPI students at White Station can share their culture, traditions and facts about their heritage. The page has gained great traction, and the dedicated team behind the page posts updates with stories from students weekly. Students such as Anastasia Karasev (11), who are not a part of the AAPI community, are thankful for the page and its contents. 

“I think that it is a great step towards inclusivity and bringing light to diversity and celebrating it,” Karasev said. “I did notice that White Station is moving in that direction, so it’s a really nice thing to see.”

Plenty of students so far have shared their experiences on the page. Not only does the page give students a voice, but it also educates others on topics that not many people outside of the AAPI community would understand. Luigi Mayores (10) shared a video of his performance of a traditional Filipino dance called the “Tinikling” to the page. 

“It makes me feel really good to be able to put my culture out there and show it to the world,” Mayores said.

Despite the major impact that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have had, there are not many pages highlighting AAPI month or their heritages. Though the Instagram page helps immensely, more specific pages would bring greater awareness to AAPI cultures. 

“I do think we should have different pages for different Asian cultures from different regions such as Southeast Asia, South Asia, etcetera so that we can bring more awareness to those regions and educate people about those certain countries,” Amara Sok (10) said. “Especially Southeast Asian countries because people really don’t know anything about them. Some people don’t even know that Cambodia exists. It’s kind of sad, so we should definitely educate others on it.”

 Instagram is a major networking platform, it can be used to share information of all sorts. Through this app, people are able to spread their thoughts on political movements, injustice and more crucial issues. Students have expressed their interest in having similar pages to the AAPI page for other topics.

“I would be very interested in learning about the cultures and experiences of racial minorities and the experiences of sexual and gender minorities,” Trinh said. “People of color and other minorities should work harder to learn about one another and listen to each other’s issues and hardships. We should all work harder to unlearn all of our biases against each other and to learn to respect one another.”

The AAPI page has been an appreciated extension of the White Station community, and the impact it has made has been astounding. Nevertheless, it all revolves around the true meaning of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage and their historical influence on culture and the respect they deserve. 

“AAPI month is for dedicating a time to spotlight Asians, the difficult times that Asians have to experience and also encourage Asian awareness,” Sok said.