Jenny Nave, 20’s
Current Role: 3rd grade Classroom Teacher
What racial, ethnic, cultural community or communities do you identify with?
Biracial, Asian (Japanese) and white.
When and how did your family come to the United States? Where were you born?
My mom came to Washington in the early 80's to attend school for ESL. That's where she met my dad and they moved between Japan and the US a couple of times before I was born. My older brother was born in Japan, and I was born in Olympia, WA. After I was born, my family moved back to Japan for a while, so my first language was Japanese.
What are the strengths and challenges of being Asian, Asian American, and/or Pacific Islander?
One challenge I have experienced of being Asian American is the feeling of not quite fitting in. When I am visiting Japan, I am an outsider (partly because I'm mixed and look different, and partly because I grew up in America so my mannerisms and the way I speak Japanese is a little different than those who grew up in Japan).
When I am in the US, I'm also different because I'm not 100% white and my culture is different from the "white norm." While my mixed experiences are different than those who are not mixed, I have had conversations with friends who have shared similar experiences of family in Asia saying, "You're too American."
A strength that I have experienced is a strong sense of community. I was privileged in that the area I grew up had a large East Asian community. I was able to share the challenges of life with my community, as well as talk about and share the beauty of our cultures.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Becoming a teacher.
What is one thing you learned or appreciate from your family growing up?
My family taught me to think of others and give whenever I can.
Do you speak your family's native language? Why or why not?
Yes. Japanese was my first language and it was always spoken in our home. I was also able to attend Japanese school on the weekend. Unfortunately, since I don't use it as much anymore, my speaking ability has gone down... My mom tells me that my Japanese is like her English (not meant as a compliment).
What advice do you have for the younger generations in our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community?
Be proud of who you are and don't let other people define your identity. This is really hard to do... I'm still working on it :)
What gives you the greatest joy in life?
Working with my school community. It is amazing to work with people who share your values and it gives me hope that real change is possible.
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!
Want to share your voice?
To be featured, read the directions and fill out this form. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome.
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