The Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi, & Arab (APIDA) Red Raiders are one of the most expansive, diverse, and fastest growing communities on campus. APIDA Heritage Month takes the time to honor the APIDA leaders before us, those paving the way, and those yet to come. Not only does APIDA Heritage Month amplify the rich culture's visibility on Raiderland, but we also hope to foster unity among Texas Tech University student organizations, departments, and individuals on campus who continue to celebrate a range of traditions at their home away from home.
My Chinese-Laotian parents came to America as Vietnam War refugees with only a Laotian high school degree. With an incompatible degree for Western World standards and the need to support their own parents and siblings at the time, my father took any entry-level job that would hire him and my mother helped run the family business, neither having the time nor knowing enough English to further their education. Later getting married and having my brother and me, not only was I able to grow up in a household where I could appreciate a range of East and Southeast Asian foods, like homemade Chinese dumplings, Laotian sticky rice with papaya salad, and Vietnamese curry noodle soup, but my parents also showed me the value of persistence, patience, and family. These values and the sacrifices they made allowed me to pursue my aspiration of becoming a physician in the hopes of helping families like mine. I will never forget how proud my grandfather was when he heard the news that I was accepted to medical school exclaiming in Chaozhou, an ancient Chinese dialect, “Wow, the first female physician in our family!” I'm not sure how I can repay my parents for all the support and words of wisdom they have provided me, which wasn't always appreciated when I was younger, but pursuing my passions in medicine is one step closer to taking care of them as much as they have taken care of me.
Being APIDA-American has shaped the person I am today by sparking my fascination with the APIDA activists and movements that have impacted this land. As APIDA individuals, our very bodies and histories hold the potential for critique against the worst impulses of this nation: the ways xenophobia, imperialism, and sexist racism dehumanize every single one of us tangled in their messy threads. Ranging from Helen Zia, the queer Chinese-American journalist who mobilized our communities to demand justice for the murder of Vincent Chin, to the Filipino (and Mexican) leaders of the Delano Grape Strikes, who fought for the rights of all farm workers – APIDA activists have worked throughout the history of this land to shape our communities for the better. I encourage everyone to delve into APIDA histories – who knows what you'll learn!
My parents immigrated from the Philippines to Toronto, Canada when they were both 25. They came over for work and have a “better life.” They both work in the healthcare field and both are APIDA so they have had to work extremely hard for their accomplishments. They are both kind and hardworking people. Because of this, I strive to work hard in all aspects of life. Being Filipino-American, I am able to see the challenges that APIDA face working in a predominantly white culture. The hard work that my parents have instilled in me has pushed me to be a better person and to ensure that I care for people above all things.
I come from a culture that is largely collectivist. I was raised to consider how my attitude and actions would affect those around me. My actions were perceived through the common analogy of a stone being dropped into a pond, its drop causing ripples across the entire surface. My mom, who became blind shortly before my birth, taught me to be positive, even in the face of seemingly dismal circumstances; as she believed inner joy serves as an encouragement to others. My dad worked tirelessly to ensure that my sister and I would be educated abroad. His goal was that we would be exposed to diverse points of view and develop an understanding of other cultures. Mostimportantly, my parents served as examples of selflessness and kindness, representing a pillar of Korean collectivist culture. They have taught me to be generous, to emphasize, and to put others before myself. I value these attributes as I believe that in times of uncertainty the best thing to do is to pool together, rather than become divided.
Being an Asian-pacific Islander Desi American has shaped the person I am today by helping me understand my identity and appreciate my cultural heritage. I was always embarrassed of my culture when I was younger but growing up has made me open my eyes and see that there are others like me who understand the struggles of having to hide our culture in todays society. As of today I am no longer embarrassed of showing who I really am and telling people that I am proud to be a Vietnamese American and those who are embarrassed should know that they are not alone in this world as we all come from somewhere.
En-Dien (Samuel) Liao
“Every single grain of rice are the fruits of hard work.” I recall the poem by Li Shen vividly since preschool, reminding me to not be wasteful because the farmers put in a lot of sweat and effort so I could fill my stomach. Wise Chinese adages like these valuing hard work, kindness, and filial piety taught me how to a be model citizen. I am thankful for both my Asian and American culture as I continue to learn and grow to be the best person I can be.
I have been raised in two different cultures, as an American and as a member of the APIDA community. My dad is Indian and my mom is Russian/Irish. Being half-Indian has deeply impacted my beliefs, culture, and perspective of the world. In my home, I was raised to be respectful of all religions and to learn that each has guidance to offer to the world. Each religion has the potential to teach us and shape us into better human beings if we are willing to listen. This open-mindedness regarding religion also applies to other cultures. Being exposed to different cultures offers more ways to connect with people and different communities around the world. These connections have provided me with a greater knowledge of how different customs and rituals impact other societies. Together this has given me different lenses with which to view the world and a desire to learn as much as possible about other traditions within my own culture.
Being Indian has enriched my life with many traditions and customs that have completely changed who I am today. It has taught me how to make Indian food, do Rangoli (artwork made with brightly colored powder), encouraged me to start learning Hindi, and most importantly raised me in a family-oriented atmosphere. Having a greater focus on family is an integral part of the Indian culture, which is shared by many members of the APIDA community as well. It provides stability and a great community for all members no matter where they are in the world. Everyone, no matter if related or not, becomes like family. Being APIDA has given me a larger family around the world and is a lifelong connection. No matter how many times I move in my life, I will always have that to rely on. Without the support and knowledge from my community, I would not be who I am today and for that I am eternally grateful.