AAPI Month highlights student-led culture clubs and organizations


Mahika Reddy

May was first recognized nationally as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 1992. Allison Huh, founder of the San Mateo County Dear Asian Youth chapter and sophomore at Crystal Springs Uplands School, recognizes the month as crucial to their mission of spreading awareness of Asian American culture and issues. “Last year, we celebrated by giving a brief historical background pertaining to how it was started, ideas for celebrating, and how AAPI Heritage Month is celebrated in other ethnically diverse countries,” Huh said.

In Bay Area schools, where the Asian population tends to be large, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month shines a light on Asian culture clubs and organizations. These student-led clubs are incredibly meaningful to Asian American and non-Asian students in the Bay Area and at Carlmont. 

Allison Huh, a sophomore at Crystal Springs Uplands School, was recently inspired to create a San Mateo County chapter of the international organization Dear Asian Youth (DAY). 

“Dear Asian Youth is a global organization by and for Asian youth dedicated to uplifting and promoting the Asian community through intersectional activism,” Huh said. “I created the Dear Asian Youth San Mateo County (DAYSMC) chapter to organize a space where the diversity of Asian subcultures could be fully represented and showcased to San Mateo County through larger-scale events.” 

According to Huh, DAY mainly serves as an informational platform that frequently posts on social media about topics that concern Asian and Asian American communities. 

“Regardless of ethnicity, I think DAY’s unbiased, informational, community-based approach makes it highly accessible to anyone. For Asian students such as myself, DAY serves as a welcoming community where we can find belonging and a stronger sense of identity in the murky overlap between ethnicity and nationality. For students who aren’t of Asian descent, I think DAY is still a great resource to learn more about current events within the AAPI community and gain a better understanding of issues that shape the Asian community today,” Huh said.

For Asian students such as myself, DAY serves as a welcoming community where we can find belonging and a stronger sense of self-identity in the murky overlap between ethnicity and nationality.”

— Allison Huh

Though DAYSMC is still on its first round of admissions and hasn’t officially started meeting yet, Huh envisions a typical meeting as consisting of learning about current events, fun activities such as sharing food and talking about pop culture, and planning for community events.    

“Overall, I want the meetings to have a laid-back, collaborative energy where members can openly discuss topics and make connections without fear of judgment,” Huh said. 

At Carlmont, Asian American Allies (AAA) club focuses on spreading knowledge of Asian culture through food. 

“In our club, we choose a different Asian country for every meeting as a group, and every month, we make slideshows to briefly introduce the country’s culture. We also bring food that originated in that country to make it more interactive,” Yura Park, a Carlmont junior and member of AAA club, said. 

Even though both of these groups focus on spreading knowledge, the members notice the impact they have on their communities as well as the members themselves. 

“I believe this club has impacted me largely as it allowed me to more confidently share my own culture and create new bonds with people interested in it,” Miyu Ikeda, another Carlmont junior and member of AAA club, said. 

For Park, AAA club is important to her because she feels that being a part of something that spreads diversity and representation at Carlmont is meaningful. 

“I think clubs like AAA are important for Carlmont because of the representation it gives. I think through our club, people learn about the ‘lesser-known’ Asian countries, which increases representation in our school. I hope that for others, learning about different cultures is not just meaningful but also fun and interesting,” Park said. 

Huh finds meaning in DAYSMC through its mission of spreading awareness using active learning and connecting to the larger community through interactive activities like mural painting, festivals, and performances. 

“Essentially, I wanted to cultivate a sense of belonging within the Asian American youth in our region and allow connections to be made and new perspectives to be seen as students from different cities find inter-school solidarity through common heritage and open discussion,” Huh said.