By Pallavi Rudraraju, VA Middle School Program Coordinator
Photos Courtesy of Pallavi Rudraraju
As you may know, AALEAD’s theme for this 2017-2018 school year is “AALEAD Origins: Rooted in Our Past, Creating Our Future.” Our goal is to learn about our past and use it to create the future we want to see in the world. For the past few weeks in the VA MS After School Program, we have been focusing on just that!
In January, VA Middle School youth learned about:
As a program coordinator, my favorite moments came in our structured reflection time. Upon learning about the Model Minority Myth, youth gave voice to unique struggles they face as Asian Americans, especially the feelings of displacement and Othering that come with people constantly asking them where they are “from” or attributing their physical or personal characteristics to their “Asianness.” Following our workshop on diversity in America, youth shared their thoughts on the lack of POC representation in Congress and the electorate. Many youth believed that although our political representation needs much improvement, it has grown by leaps and bounds since the 1960’s, which is worth celebrating.My hopes going into these lessons was that youth would be able to learn about foundations of structural and institutional racism, and to build their vocabulary with words like “Model Minority Myth,” “solidarity,” and “diversity” so they might communicate better about issues close to their heart. I feel that through learning about the roots of Asian American and Black immigration, history, and Civil Rights, youth have been able to get in touch with their roots and discover what it means to be a person of color in this country.