Importance of Asian Pacific Heritage at OHS


Ava Flemke, Writer

Asian Heritage is an important topic in OHS. Without everyone and their culture and backgrounds, OHS truly would not be the same. 

Asian heritage is a crucial part of American history. In the late 1800s, Chinese immigrants wanted to join the gold rush of the 1850s but instead, they worked on railroads. Leaving them to take any available jobs that they could. Asians dealt with a lot of hate including anti-Asian rallies, yellowface and Japanese concentration camps because people were against Asians coming to the United States. Although they had many battles, they overcame them and continued immigrating to the U.S. 

In 1992, President George W. Bush designated May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month. This month is meant to honor Asian Americans, Pacific Islander Americans and Native Hawaiians for their accomplishments and contributions to our world today. This is a month of celebrating a beautiful culture and the traditions of Asian Pacifics. 

OHS has many students that are a part of the Asian-Pacific community. An OHS junior, Phillip Pham, lived in Vietnam for a period of his life. His Vietnamese culture is significant to him due to its value of cultural connection. Pham said, “In our culture, we often celebrate our ancestors by cooking food and lighting candles to invite old spirits in.”

 Asian culture is important to celebrate and by acknowledging their significant role through Asian ancestors. It is important to be willing to understand the cultural customs in today’s world. Pham said, “I really enjoy visiting my family in Vietnam every few years when we get a chance.” 

One of my favorite things is talking to my dad about his traditions from when he was a kid in Vietnam.

— Maxum Nguyen

Maxum Nguyen is Vietnamese and his dad is an immigrant from Vietnam. Nguyen said, “One of my favorite things is talking to my dad about his traditions from when he was a kid in Vietnam.” Vietnamese food is a big part of Nguyen’s culture. In his family, they enjoy things like Pho and Banh Mi. It’s important to celebrate your culture and who you are. Nguyen said, “Owatonna doesn’t have a really big Asian community, so I take a lot of pride in my culture.” 

Movies have become more Asian prominent with main characters being of Asian heritage. Popular films like “Moana”, “Big Hero 6” and “Mulan”. It is important to have the main characters from Asian descent without any stereotypical meaning behind them. By penetrating more Asian figures in movies it shows younger generations that it is normal to look the way they do. It also helps non-Asian children have respect for people who are different from them. This also allows all children to see that beauty is not a ‘’one type standard’’ but along a spectrum of unique qualities. 

The culture of Asian Pacifics has helped to bring communities together. Promoting diversity and inclusion for all races is extremely important and impacts the community of OHS in great ways.