Melody Howe ’22
During Asian American Pacific Islander month, Mercersburg Academy has planned special events, programs, and guidance as the community takes steps to recognize the impactful history and celebrative culture of Asian heritage. Several student members of the Asian Student Union (ASU) and Diversity Equity Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) committees have convened to share ideas in order to create a comfortable space to strengthen the individual voices of Asian students on and off campus. This year’s program is the first for Mercersburg as it develops opportunities to bring awareness to the significance of Asian identity.
Roy Kang ’22, Joie Xiao ’22, and John Xu ’22 spearhead the leadership of the AAPI student group as the pandemic and current world events have combined to demand heightened awareness and action. Moving forward, they hope to expand the leadership board. Xu said, “I am glad that Mercersburg is organizing events to celebrate this year’s AAPI Month as we have never done this before in the past. It is a great way to celebrate the diverse Asian cultures that are represented by so many of Mercersburg’s students.” Leela Woody, Acting DEIJ Director, said, “We have also been working with Advancement and Alumni Relations to invite some Asian identifying alumni to come and speak to our students about their experiences.” Mercersburg hopes to amplify alumni accomplishments by forming workshops for students. These initial celebrations of Asian culture will lay the groundwork for the future by broadening Mercersburg’s inclusivity.
In addition, the school plans to provide dining hall meals that incorporate recipes provided by Asian students. These cultural foods include Korean fried chicken and beef bulgogi, Chinese tomato and egg stir fry and Japanese chicken katsu, and Vietnamese Bánh Mì sandwiches.
The contributions of Asian students and Mercersburg faculty have been crucial for current school programming. Mercersburg’s DEIJ growth lies in the hands of the students. Xiao said, “I am also sensing some apathy towards the ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes within the academy, and I hope the students can make more of an effort to spread awareness on this subject and show consideration towards the Asian community.” This effort will direct Mercersburg’s progress toward a more culturally diverse environment.