Arts & Culture

AASA & ASAC Kick off Pan-Asian Week with Workshop on POC Identity

Pa Her, Staff Writer

On Monday March 10, Augsburg’s Asian Student Association (AASA) & Augsburg’s Student Activities Council (ASAC) hosted a workshop titled “Through the Lens of a POC; Discovering Identity and Who You’re Meant to be!” in honor of Pan-Asian Week (PAW). The workshop discussed intersectionality and who we are as individuals. As individuals, our story consists of so much more than just our physical appearance. It consists of our ethnicity, race, hobbies, family background, and much more. Our stories are as beautiful as the individuals we are.

The event started off with AASA president Houa Thao presenting on who he is. Not only did he state the things that define who he is, he also mentioned that each of them has a story. Austin Chu-Yang-Heu, AASA’s Community and Collaborations Chairperson, followed Thao’s presentation, speaking on how he defined himself as an individual. 

Participants of the event were then numbered off into groups to reflect on their own individuality. I noticed that, during the group discussion, everyone shared a lot about their culture. Their stories consisted of the cultural things that their community did or believed. Hearing this made me think a lot about how generational trauma plays a role in the journeys that we all go through. The obstacles that our ancestors went through still affect our present and our story; they still affect how we write our futures. 

The topic of intersectionality was also mentioned. Merriam-Webster defines intersectionality as the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap or intersect, especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups. I loved that intersectionality was mentioned especially on such a diverse campus as Augsburg. We are more than just one identity; we have many identities that make us who we are. The event ended with a statement on the importance of finding a balance within our past and present. This was a powerful statement, because a lot of the time, we tend to be stuck in our past which hinders us from living in the moment. To be present is to be already living a purposeful life. In order to come to a point of being present and mindful, we must be peaceful with our past. 

Overall, this workshop was a strong kickoff to PAW. It helped ease individuals into the other events AASA is hosting. PAW is a great opportunity for Pan-Asian students to grow and share their narratives. It is a time where stories can be shared or heard. PAW emphasizes that together, everyone will rise to prominence while overcoming hardship and adversity. This is also the emphasis of AASA’s Asian Celebration Showcase; before going off to spring break, make sure to check out the showcase, which takes place on Friday, March 13th!