Pan Asian Club Successfully Hosts CRLS’s First Asian Assembly

Chanho Lee and Ishraaq Ahmed

On the afternoon of May 22nd, in the Fitzgerald Theater, hundreds of students and staff came together to celebrate Asian heritage and identity. The show was emceed by Jinho Lee ’22, and began with the mayor of Cambridge, Sumbul Siddiqui, sharing a moving speech on her experience as a first-generation Asian immigrant.

Then came an interview through a zoom call with Harry Yoon, an editor behind the film Shang-Chi and TV show Euphoria, who spoke of his experience in film. Following the interview, a cover of Olivia Rodrigo’s hit song “Good 4 U” was performed by Gita Drummond ’24, Masato Hall ’23, Jiaming Wang ’23, and Tavi Pollard ’23. After, Urbana Barua ’25 performed a beautiful traditional Bengali dance, leaving many people amazed. The K-pop club then performed an eye-catching dance to “RUN2U” by STAYC. Following was a prerecorded video speech from Celeste Ng, the author of the famous book Little Fires Everywhere, who expressed the importance of Asian visibility. Concluding the assembly was a touching cover of “Yellow” by Coldplay, performed by brothers Jinho Lee ’22 and Chanho Lee ’25.

“I never had a space like this when I was in high school.”

After the assembly, many spoke of the impact that the show had on them, praising the push to spread and recognize Asian culture. Ms. Jenny Chung, a lead educator at Cambridge Public Schools and one of the advisors of the Pan-Asian Club, highlighted the importance of honoring cultural identity, stating to the Register Forum, “At one point, I got teary during the duet performance of Yellow as I looked around the lit-up auditorium, because I never had a space like this when I was in high school, a space that honors Asian excellence and affirms my identity.” Many other Asian students at CRLS identified with Ms. Chung’s statement, including Amy Zhou ’24, who ran the lighting and sound for the performance. Zhou told the Register Forum, “I was up helping in the tech booth, but I was screaming on the inside during all of the student performances… I felt so proud seeing people express Asian art.”

Towards the beginning of the school year, the Pan Asian Club entered a new era, promising to take more steps with activist-centered work while still keeping their fun cultural elements. This promise has evidently been kept. Urbana Baura ’25, who performed during the assembly, revealed in an interview with the Register Forum that, “The Asian assembly helped shed light on Asian excellence and I’m grateful for how I had the opportunity to showcase a traditional Bengali dance. There is an abundance of rich and diverse culture within the Asian community at our school, and the assembly was a vast step in the right direction.”

Between the recent ping pong tournament and the assembly, a great deal of progress has been made towards achieving Asian recognition at CRLS. The school’s first Asian assembly ended up being a huge success, and the Pan Asian Club will continue making strides on a local level to expand their activism in the following years.

This piece also appears in our June 2022 print edition.