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Asian student organizations advocate for awareness following violence

Asian student organizations advocate for awareness following violence

Asian student organizations advocate for awareness following violence
April 02
10:00 2021

Several Asian American and Pacific Islander student organizations are raising awareness and banding together after the Atlanta Spa Shootings and an increase in violence against Asian-Americans during the pandemic. 

Since the start of the pandemic, cities across the country have seen a rise in violence against Asian and Asian American communities, according to a report from the Center for Study of Hate & Extremism. 

Almost 3,800 cases of discrimination were reported last year, according to Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate, a reporting center dedicated to tracking incidents of violence, harassment and bullying. NPR reports estimate the number could be much higher.

AAPI students make up about 8.45 percent of the undergraduate population. In 2019, Asian Americans made up 5.6 percent of the nation’s population — a minority at the university and in the country.

“I do feel these past two years UNT has been underrepresenting our community,” Thomas Nguyen, president of the Vietnamese Student Association, said. 

In the past two years, the university has not promoted or hosted events for Asian holidays such as Lunar New Year and the Autumn Moon Festival. 

“They were a lot of fun to see and go to,” said Nguyen. “I know UNT hosting those events meant a lot to the international students here.” 

Student organizations allow students who share the same values and interests to find each other.

“I was never looking for anything from the university,” Vy Mai, president of the Asian Student Association, said. “I found what I was looking for in the Asian student organizations.”

Different Asian student organizations often partner with one another to host events showcasing their cultures. The VSA is partnering with other student organizations and different universities to co-host “Twitch by Night.” The event will be a livestream promoting Vietnamese culture and this year’s Lunar New Year zodiac, the ox. The finale will feature the founder and CEO of Jubilee, Jason Y Lee, as a keynote speaker.

The ASA is also selling T-shirts to raise money for families affected by violence and organizations that support the community. The shirts are not going to be exclusive to UNT students, so anyone will be able to purchase them. The designs are being curated by members of the organization and the officer board to assure they are one of a kind. 

“We wanted to make sure we knew where the money goes,” Ma saidi.

The Filipino Student Association has taken its advocacy work to social media. It aims to get its message out by posting articles and sharing workshops on how to be a better advocate on their Instagram page. 

The FSA was also a part of a town hall meeting with their overseeing organization, the Student Intercollegiate Filipino Association, where members discussed their own experiences with hatred and brought awareness to the continuing rise of hate towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

“I feel like the university could do a similar town hall where members of all communities can come and hear each other out,” President of FSA Jasmine Nguyen said. “[The university should] create a safe space for those who want to learn more about what is going on and hear from other communities. With issues such as racism and violence towards BIPOC,  it’s most important that we stick together and hear each other out rather than bring one another down.” 

Courtesy Asian Student Association

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Hedija Spahalic

Hedija Spahalic

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