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A Rich History Shared | A Workshop about the APISA People

Lower School Library Teacher, Maria Paz Alegre, shared her own story and the history of other APISA (Asian Pacific Islands South Asia) people in America with Middle and Upper School students at the Indian Mountain School on May 4, 2021.
She opened the workshop by explaining that there are inherent differences between all the various APISA groups, so lumping them together as one doesn’t reflect the rich diversity of each of them. She then described the far reach of the APISA cultures in American society today, as seen in the foods, music, fashion and movies we all enjoy.  

To highlight the many contributions of the APISA people in American society, Ms. Alegre walked the group through the long history of Asians in America, demonstrating their perseverance and resilience through many challenges and much vilification. She also pointed out that the history of the APISA people in America is barely touched on in school lessons, and she hopes this will change.

One of the key reasons for her talk was to address the rise in attacks on APISA individuals across America since the pandemic, emphasizing that words have power. Many hate crimes can be attributed to COVID being described as the Chinese virus, the China plague or the Kung Flu.

As a gesture to the struggling Asian restaurants because of these stereotypes, Ms. Alegre donated her speaking fee to the Welcome to Chinatown Sik Faan Fund, which supports struggling Chinatown eateries in New York City, delivering the meals they make to low income, senior residents, food insecure neighbors and essential workers. Upon learning this, her donation was immediately doubled by the Indian Mountain School.
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