During the month of May, Americans across the US celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, which provides an opportunity to acknowledge the generations of AAPI people who have contributed to the nation’s culture and success. At Stevenson, students, faculty, and community members are honoring AAPI Month in a variety of ways.

Stevenson’s AAPI Student Affinity Group was at the helm of organizing the month’s events. They launched their celebration with a kickoff email, explaining, “Especially in light of the recent rises in anti-Asian hate speech, microaggressions, slurs, and violence, it is more important than ever for us to educate ourselves and learn more about what it means to be AAPI.” Throughout the month, the group has sent weekly email newsletters entitled “Celebration and Education,” which have highlighted various AAPI-related topics and included things like AAPI poetry and curated AAPI Heritage Month playlists.

In addition to their email series, the AAPI Student Affinity Group organized both live and virtual events for the month. They hosted an AAPI student panel, where students spoke about their experiences. They also hosted two AAPI spotlights: one with Andy Chuang, ‘13, a leader in the Asian restaurant industry in NYC, and one with New York Times best-selling author and educator, Joanna Ho.

Another way the RLS community has celebrated AAPI month is by participating in #Run4AAPI, a “fun run” and fundraising event launched by Upper Division Computer Science and Math teacher Yuna Hur. Ms. Hur was inspired to start #Run4AAPI in light of the ongoing anti-Asian incidents that she and so many AAPI people across the nation have experienced, especially since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The ultimate mission of #Run4AAPI is to raise awareness and uplift the AAPI community through t-shirt sales—since 100% of sale proceeds will be donated to GoFundMe’s official Support the AAPI Community Fund.

The run itself is a virtual, casual event that can be completed anytime and anywhere during the month of May. So far, participants have completed it  by surfing, running, hiking, biking, walking, ice skating (and more!)—all while wearing their #Run4AAPI shirt.

#Run4AAPI t-shirts are still available for purchase. Supporters can buy a shirt, or alternatively, simply make a donation to the cause by visiting the shirt store, putting a placeholder shirt in their shopping cart, then removing it and choosing to make a donation at checkout. To date, #Run4AAPI has raised $2450 from t-shirt sales and additional contributions.

Ms. Hur explains, “Despite #Run4AAPI starting out as a personal initiative of mine, shared with my family and a few close friends as a way for me to channel my emotions into something productive to counter the hate, violence, racism, and discrimination shown towards those who identify as AAPI, I have been absolutely empowered and grateful to find the support and participation by many other communities, such as Stevenson students, faculty, and staff.” She adds, “I’m so grateful to be a part of a community committed to and learning into intentional anti-racist-, diverse-, inclusive-, and justice-centered work, and look forward to holding more spaces and conversations alongside the Stevenson community!”

Check out how people have participated in #Run4AAPI on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/run4aapi/