I cofounded a non-profit organization, DeclarASIAN, in 2017, my freshman year of high school. It started as a platform for Asian-American teens to gather and share their own experiences to become a community. We have received hundreds of story submissions from Asians across the world--over 12 different countries.
Since I started this organization, I have come to realize Asian-American teens often struggle with a lack of self-identity and embracing their own cultures, an issue not focused on nearly enough. Recently with the rise in racist hate crimes against Asian-Americans across the U.S., it is more important than ever to allow young Asian-Americans the chance to share their own emotions and thoughts through artistic expression.
Now, our organization DeclarASIAN would like to provide art materials and hold art classes at Chinatown Community Center in Philadelphia, PA over the summer for impoverished Asian-American students a chance to express themselves through art. This is in partnership with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit in the state of Pennsylvania.
Asian-American poverty is also often overlooked, as the wide umbrella term: “Asian American community” is misconstrued due to media portrayal that all Asian-Americans are well-off as doctors or lawyers. This leaves these communities at a severe disadvantage when it comes to having access to the same resources as those in more fortunate communities. As someone born in a more fortunate Chinese American family, I had access to the recreational activities I wanted to experience like piano, ballet, and art. These activities, often taken for granted by those with access to them, are unavailable to those in impoverished communities. Thus, I would like to give them a chance to indulge in these same recreational activities, especially art--a powerful tool for expression especially in this age.
Funded by Philadelphia, PA (May 2020)