Starlight Streamers: What Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Means

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is celebrated every May across the US – an opportunity to celebrate the histories and cultures of Americans from the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.  

To honor this month, Starlight is spotlighting several of our AAPI streamers: all individuals who utilize their streaming platforms as a way to raise funds for causes close to their heart, including Starlight.  

Each individual was asked “what does Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?” From educating others and honoring the past to celebrating what those in the AAPI community are doing today, these Starlight Streamers see it as a chance to speak up and out about their heritage. 

As you read through their answers, think of ways that you can work to celebrate AAPI with your own family. 

It's about being seen. My family came to the US from the Philippines in the 80s so that future generations could have a better life. Having lived through poverty and war, they wanted to ensure that I could live comfortably. Even with graduate-level degrees, many family members worked in the orchards. They worked hard and found their way back up. As a Filipino American, I have experienced racism and stereotypes firsthand and understand how Asian Americans struggle with lack of visibility. But now is the time to educate others, and show the world our talents and share our stories. I am Filipino and I am also American. I want people to know that I am worthy of representing both of those sides of my identity.  

To me, AAPI month is a megaphone for AAPI brothers & sisters to project their voices. It’s a time for us to be prideful of who we are and where we come from. It’s also an opportunity to educate the world about our heritage, culture – including what we eat – and values. So, to my brothers & sisters, open your mouths & speak loudly. You are beautiful & where you come from is just as beautiful. 

Humility. Being a first-generation Vietnamese American, I am deeply grateful for the sacrifices my parents and grandparents made to give their children and their children’s children the opportunities to follow their own paths and build a life for themselves and generations to come. I am humbled by the sacrifices made by those before me.    

For me, AAPI Heritage Month is a time to honor the past—the paths blazed and sacrifices made by our ancestors, who helped make the strides and livelihoods of future AAPI generations possible. It is a time to celebrate how far we have come as leaders and contributors to all facets of our society, including science, technology, business, government, and the arts. Perhaps most importantly, it is a time to dream big, break down boundaries between people of shared cultures, and inspire the youngest generation to strive further, so that we reach new heights as a whole. As an artist, this month is a wonderful opportunity to learn about what fellow AAPI artists are creating in their own spaces. With the help of the entire AAPI community and allies, shining a light on the artists making waves today helps inspire me to do more, work on my craft, and make the most of my skills. It also reminds me of the importance of lifting the voices and stories of those who may not have the means or abilities to do so. 

To me, AAPI Heritage Month is an excellent reminder to honor our ancestry. Having roots in Europe and Southeast Asia, I know what it's like to be caught between multiple worlds and cultures. AAPI Heritage Month is an opportunity for our community to bridge gaps within itself and the global community. Starlight is so honored to have such an incredible streaming community that is made up of a diverse group of streamers that share their backgrounds, stories, and more with us each and every day. 

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