Asian Pacific American Student Association Event Aims to Change Perceptions

Daily Trojan (Student Newspaper of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA), March 4, 2008


The Asian Pacific American Student Association invited community members to speak about social justice and their struggles at “Stories from our Community” on Monday night.

Daniel Wu, a sophomore majoring in international relations and APASA’s community chair, said he wanted this event to show that “we live in a diverse place and there are so many different stories.”

One of the speakers, Hee-Pok Kim, also fondly called Grandma Kim, is an active member of the Bus Riders Union, a group that fights for a more efficient transportation system.

“Fight transit racism. Fight for better bus service,” Kim said.

The Bus Riders Union serves as an advocate for low-income people in immigrant neighborhoods. Grandma Kim works with the Bus Riders Union to combat the harmful effects of environmental warming through a clean-air campaign that fights against Los Angeles’ auto air pollution.

Students are concerned with “clean air in general. Fare increases are very relevant to the students also,” Kim said.

Wu said he also wants these events to challenge opinions of Asian Pacific Americans. When people first meet him, he said they ask him what country he is from. He feels other USC students do not see him as an American citizen, though he was born and raised in Orange County.

“It’s not anyone’s fault. There’s just not enough discussion,” he said.

Wu said he believes that one way to begin the discussion is through storytelling.

“Stories are a good way to start teaching,” he said.

Subjects Covered: diversity, education, personal storytelling

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