In May, we recognize and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage to honor and uplift the many important contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are essential to the US and San Francisco’s history, present, and future. I admit that I didn’t know what to say the first time Mason asked me, “Mommy, what is an Asian? Am I a Chinese or an American? I am also an Asian?” Although I had anticipated and prepared for the conversation, I was temporarily frozen in the moment while we stood beneath the billboard on Franklin Street across the Oak Campus waiting for my RT Rotisserie dinner pick-up order. On the billboard were the words, “Asians Are Strong.”
During the moments of silence, I was frantically searching for the words in my mind, wanting to choose the right and kid-friendly words to convey that the world is a big place and we come from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds with different values, perspectives, identities, and family makeups in this country. As a mom and an educator, I want to raise inclusive children who celebrate diversity and feel proud of their own identities while appreciating that not everyone looks, talks, or thinks like them. Additionally, I understand children are naturally curious and eager to learn about the world around them and about themselves, asking genuine questions when they encounter something new or someone different.
This time, I took one step further. I also talked about self-advocacy and advocating for others with Mason. I believe one big part of the spirit of inclusivity is being courageous to stand up for themselves and for those who need it. Advocating for ourselves and others is part of being in a community, whether it’s the playground, friend group, or school. This is what integrity and friendship are all about. I would like to share this quote with you that I learned from my grandpa, “地势坤，君子以厚德载物。” – 《周易》(Men of the virtue model themselves on the earth, and just like the earth, care for all things and fellow human beings with an open heart and virtue. – I Ching)
Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month!