“re/present: Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM)” is a 31-day writing challenge designed to get you thinking about APAHM, identity and leadership. Below is a list of the 31 prompts that we have established for May 2012.
Feel free to start planning out your posts so they can be published “on time”! You are encouraged to submit your posts to us here, or, feel free to also post them on your own blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. — just be sure you tag your posts with #repAPAHM!
May 1/ Welcome. How are you celebrating APAHM this year? What activities are planned in your area? If possible, include photos, flyers and/or links in your response.
May 2/ Fill in the Blank. I am from ____. How would you complete the sentence and why? To what degree does your nationality, ethnic or racial background impact your daily experience?
May 3/ Draw Something. Draw and post a self-portrait (doodles are fine!). What setting are you in and why do you have that expression on your face?
May 4/ Really!? Write about one thing others would be surprised to know about you.
May 5/ Stream of Consciousness. Free write for 15 minutes about a club you are involved in or a volunteering opportunity you loved.
May 6/ Gut Reaction. In one sentence, photo, or video, describe what immediately comes to mind when you hear the term “AAPI” (Asian American and Pacific Islander)?
May 7/ The Story of Us. May 7, 1843 marks the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America. Think about your family legacy in the United States. What challenges and accomplishments have you (or they) experienced?
May 8/ Snapshot. Post a photo of you, your family and/or community - explain the photo’s significance. How do your experiences and/or the experiences of your family fit into the greater Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) experience?
May 9/ Polyglot…or Not? Can you speak more than one language? What languages do you speak? How do you feel this skill has helped or hindered you?
May 10/ Mission Accomplished. Two-thirds of the 4,000 workers who built the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad were Chinese immigrants, according to these remarks by Honorable John T. Doolittle. Despite the hazardous working conditions and low pay, workers completed the massive, pivotal project on May 10, 1869 in Promontory, Utah. — While the building of the Transcontinental Railroad was a historic undertaking, events in one’s own life can also be significant and transformative. Write about a moment in your life where you, your community and/or family came together to accomplish something meaningful.
May 12/ Influence. Are there any familial and/or cultural values that inform how you live your life? If so, what are they and how?
May 13/ Just Like Us. During the NFL lockout, Troy Polamalu, a strong safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in history on May 13, 2011. In a blog post about his accomplishment, he said, “So I decided to finish what I started and walked that stage today not only because it was very important to me personally, but because I want to emphasize the importance of education, and that nothing should supersede it.” — What is your view on the importance of education? How has the importance of education played a role in your own life?
May 14/ Difference. Which AANHPI figure (historical, living, famous, or otherwise) made a difference in your life? How have they affected your life?
May 15/ Good Reading. What is your favorite book by an AANHPI author? Why?
May 16/ Media Coverage. Tell us about your favorite AANHPI actor/actress, correspondent, etc. and what they did to earn your respect.
May 17/ True Life.This is the trailer for Hana Surf Girls, a documentary that follows the lives of two girls (including GMS Scholar, Lipoa Kahaleuahi!) from Hana, Hawaii as they explore their identities and make sense of where they belong in the world. — Have you seen this or any other AANHPI documentaries? Which one resonated with you the most and why?
May 18/ Visualize. Flip through a magazine and carefully examine how they portray AANHPIs. What message does this send? Is it positive? Negative? Or, are AANHPIs not represented in the magazine? What message does this absence send?
May 19/ Words to Live by. What is one of your favorite quotations from an AANHPI? What does it mean to you?
May 20/ What’s Your Story?Asia Society produced this video to capture the testimonies of various notable Asian Americans (i.e. Sandra Oh, Kal Penn, George Takei and others) who identify as Asian American and what it means to them to claim that identity. We know that their stories are not representative of all of your lived experiences and testimonies of other AANHPI communities are missing. So, what’s your story?
May 21/ In Your Words. Flex those creative writing skills! Compose a poem about an important moment in AANHPI history.
May 22/ Go for the Gold, Part I. Happy 30th birthday, Apolo Anton Ohno! From the gold medal Duke Kahanamoku earned the U.S. in the 1912 Olympics for the 100 m freestyle, to the 8 medals that Ohno has won in men’s short track speed skating, AANHPIs have a rich history in the sports (& Olympic) world. In recent months, Jeremy Lin’s success with the New York Knicks lit up the blogosphere as everyone chimed in with their opinions on biases, stereotypes and ability. — What are your thoughts on AANHPI athletes and any obstacles they may or may not face?
May 23/ Go for the Gold, Part II. On July 2, 1946, Congress passed which bill to remove restrictions on Asian Indian and Filipino immigration and gave India and the Philippines an annual immigration quota of one hundred, respectively? The first 5 people to respond with the correct answer in the blog comments will win a prize! [The answer is here.]
May 24/ Missing in History. AANHPIs have been “MIH” – “Missing in History” – as taught in classrooms, as reflected in the media and the arts and as understood by government policy-makers and program planners. In much of the data used by the federal government, AANHPIs are invisible, relegated to a residual category of “Other.” AANHPIs are challenged to reclaim and re-insert their history, their stories, their faces, their voices and their lives into American History and America’s future (January 2001 AAPI Interim Report to the President & the Nation). — As a follow-up to yesterday’s trivia, share an AANHPI fact or photo that was missing in the history you learned in the classroom.
May 25/ Visibly Invisible. The term “model minority” first appeared in New York Times Magazine on January 6, 1960 in an article titled, “Success Story: Japanese American Style”. In this article, sociologist William Petersen compares Japanese Americans to African Americans, crediting Japanese culture, with its family values and strong work ethic, for saving Japanese Americans from becoming a “problem minority.” “Model minority” created much controversy by pitting one race against another and produced overgeneralizations that come with negative implications for both the African American and AANHPI communities. — What do you think these implications may be? Has this personally affected you and if so, how?
May 26/ Excluded. The Immigration Act of 1924 (Asian Exclusion Act) was enacted on May 26, 1924, limiting the number of immigrants gaining entry into the U.S. Specifically excluding immigrants from Asia, except for Japanese and Filipinos, this Act is one example of legislation restricting access based on race or nationality. This instance of exclusion was driven by federal law, but other forms of exclusion occur to this day. For example, the vast diversity within the AANHPI population is often overlooked when research does not provide specific data on different groups within the population. — Have there been moments in your own life where you felt excluded solely because you are AANHPI? What did you do to address those situations?
May 27/ Inspiration. APIASF recognizes numerous inspirations contributing to the success and well-being of our AANHPI communities. One individual engaged with us is Penny Semaia, Assistant Athletic Director for Student Life at the University of Pittsburgh. When asked why he does what he does, he responds, “My mission in life is to utilize my God given talents and skills to serve those that need it most and provide opportunities for young men and women to succeed.” — Nominate someone you know for a hypothetical #repAPAHM Leadership Award. Explain why you are nominating them.
May 28/ Making Your Mark. How would you like to be remembered in history? What would you like people to remember you by?
May 29/ Building Solidarity. How does the AANHPI experience relate to the experiences of other communities in the U.S.?
May 30/ Synthesize & Summarize. If you had to summarize APAHM in 3 words, what would they be and why?
May 31/ I Am. After participating in our APAHM writing challenge, have you learned more about yourself or your family/community? Has your perspective changed at all? Who are you? What does being AANHPI — especially, an AANHPI leader — mean to you?