I'm about to be a sophomore in high school.
What racial, ethnic, cultural community or communities do you identify with?
Cambodian, Malaysian, Asian American.
When and how did your family come to the United States? Where were you born?
I was born in Everett, Washington. My parents immigrated to the United States over (at least) twenty years ago.
What are the strengths and challenges of being Asian, Asian American, and/or Pacific Islander?
Since I'm Asian, most people expect me to be smart and give my 100% at everything I do. It doesn't help that I wear glasses (because it's stereotyped for smart people to wear them). I am a little smart, but it still bugs me. I feel like many have high expectations for me, which makes me scared to do literally anything I'm not above average at. I believe that if I'm not good at something, I'll be made fun of. I know I shouldn't, but that has stuck with me my whole life.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
It sounds silly, but one of my proudest accomplishments is making my friends feel happier. I don't like it when any of them are feeling down, so sometimes I try to hang out with them.
What is one thing you learned or appreciate from your family growing up?
I don't have to worry about whether there's food on the table or not (I take this for granted sometimes). My parents are hard-working people.
Do you speak your family's native language? Why or why not?
No, I wasn't taught it well. However, I understand some non-English words from my parent's language: Khmer.
What advice do you have for the younger generations in our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community?
I have two pieces of advice. The first one is to avoid making decisions based on emotions (A really good friend of mine taught me this). Try to separate your feelings from the situation before doing anything. If you're having trouble with this, think about what to do later. Overthinking makes things worse.
The second one is to have more empathy and be kinder to others. It may feel hard to show kindness, but it's important to know what others have or are going through. If you can, put yourself in other people's shoes. A little kindness can keep someone going.
What gives you the greatest joy in life?
The little things. I feel like that's stupid to say. Having dreams (the sleeping type), making an effort to get in touch with the 5 senses (to be there in the moment), watching movies with friends, finishing a project and being proud of the result... These sort of things drive me forward.
If you would like to share your voice as a person of color, please read the directions and fill out this form here. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome. Thank you!
Who are we?
Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander voices in our communities.
This is a section for AAPI specifically because, coming from our Khmer culture, we often feel invisible in various spaces from school to the media.
We want to show the ways in which we are the same and different, and that all of our backgrounds and experiences are valuable to learn and celebrate. Let's uplift each other!
Charles Calvino Hang
Danielle Bopha Khleang
Emma S. Buchanan
Firda Amalia Herryanddhy
Grace Bora Kim
Justin Cardona (JCool)
Kaitlin Kamalei Brandon
Krystal M. Chuon
Lina (Spring Roll Fever)
Mei Mei Long
Melissa Khoeum Barnett
Note K. Suwanchote
Sam "Smushipig" Javier
Samrach Sar, Esq.
ចាប សាត Sath Chap
Sotheara Jeffrey Lim