The Asian Pacific Awareness Committee/Asian Pacific American Community (APAC) is Webster’s organization for students of Asian heritage (and those interested in the civil rights of Asian Americans).
According to APAC president and senior Zoe Delay, the main missions of the committee are to “…serve as a place for the Asian population of WGHS to connect and support each other” as well as “…fight bias surrounding the Asian-American community.”
“The goal of APAC is to help students be proud of their unique Asian-American identities, whether they be an immigrant, adopted, mixed or anything between. We also work hard to educate our peers about the nuances of our different cultures as well as the racial inequality currently experienced by many Asian Americans,” Delay said over email.
The group meets once a week on Wednesdays; meetings take place over Zoom this year because of COVID. The most common activity at these meetings is discussion over topics such as the Model Minority Myth and beauty standards in America and Asia, where members are able to share thoughts, experiences and advice.
Other APAC activities include Asian food potlucks, playing online games and hosting movie nights.
Regarding activities, Delay said, “I try to make sure there are a lot of opportunities for social connection, because one of the main purposes of the club is to provide members with peers they can relate to.”
“My favorite thing about APAC is being able to have fun community bonding time while still being socially distant. We’ve been able to watch Asian movies together and have snacks from our cultures. This is important to me because we all get to know each other better and I feel more connected to my heritage,” APAC vice president junior Scarlett Patton said over email.
“My favorite thing about APAC is the community itself. I think it is important for people to have a safe space to talk about how they feel. There is a chance for everyone to speak up in APAC, and everyone is really respectful,” APAC member junior Gabby Ramirez said over email.
The group currently has around 15 members and is sponsored by social studies teacher Betty Roberts.
In addition to membership in APAC, Delay encourages interest in other causes.
“I also try to encourage students to participate in other causes such as Black Lives Matter. Supporting other oppressed groups is something that I’ve seen a lot with students in APAC,” Delay said.
Delay founded the group in 2019 at the end of her sophomore year after experiencing several racist encounters her freshman year, as a way to create a safe space for other students to share and work through similar experiences.
“My freshman year I experienced a lot of racist bullying. There were two people in particular, who would say some very hurtful things; whether it was calling me a ‘communist’ or derogatory terms, they were always picking on me for being Korean. Students and even the teacher who witnessed the racism never intervened, despite the obvious issues with the situation,” Delay said.
“I started APAC with the goal of making the high school a safer place before my little brother would attend and with the hope it would provide a safe place for students dealing with racism (internal or external),” Delay said.
“I think that APAC has been a lot more beneficial than I’d initially expected it to be. Whether it be helping adopted students reconnect to their heritage and Asian identity or just seeing students be able to give each other advice and relate to each other, I love to see the personal impact of APAC. Especially in times like now, when Asian American hate crimes have increased by an exponential amount, it’s important to help students take pride in their identities,” Delay said.
Ramirez, regarding the impact that being in APAC has had on her, said, “APAC has helped me better understand the Asian American experience.”
“APAC has had a significant impact on my life because it has allowed me to better explore my culture, which I personally find challenging as an adoptee. It has also helped me create stronger bonds with my friends and have more meaningful discussions within our community,” Patton said.
This is Maeve Taylor’s second year on the Echo as the podcast editor, after making several contributions to the Echo while taking journalism her freshman year.
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