Clubs help celebrate Asian culture

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The Asian Culture Alliance (ACA) is one of two clubs at Lincoln that focus on breaking the detrimental stereotypes of Asians and what it means to be Asian in a primarily white community. The Asian Student Union (ASU) strives to bring together a community of students that share similar cultural backgrounds with their peers.

Issa Okamoto and Malia Chan originally created ACA to “help our community embrace and learn what it means to express yourself and live as an Asian.”

Principle Chapman says that she “Welcomes all student-run clubs who work to build community, affinity, and school-wide awareness of opportunities for involvement.”

For Okamoto and Chan, it all started in math class.

“Issa and I were sitting in math when she, as a joke, asked if we would want to start a club together,” said Chan. At the time they were joking but realized that deep down they both were interested.

“We did nothing but brainstorm names and ideas for the rest of class,” said Chan. “[We are a] relatively white school in a very white community,” she continued.

There has been a recurring theme in their weekly ACA club meetings of there being more non-Asian participants than Asian participants.

“We try our best to help people of all races to love the culture of Asians. And we want people to come and embrace their culture too, but I understand it can be hard for many when our society constantly fantasizes about it and makes it into cliche,” says Okamoto.

Sagarika Ramachandran, Co-President of the ASU, said that she believes a reason for why there are more white students attending ACA, is because, in her experience at Lincoln she feels, Asian students at Lincoln want to be “as white as possible” because the school is a majority white school and they want to fit in. “[Asian students] don’t want to identify with the stereotypes or culture that people have made fun of in the past or continue to make fun of today.”

“Clubs are important because they help students build leadership skills, explore and deepen their passions, and provide opportunities for their skills and passions to develop purpose in the broader community,” says Chapman.