Pan Asian Club’s Second Annual AAPI Heritage Month Assembly


Chanho Lee

The Pan Asian Club hosted CRLS’s second annual AAPI Assembly.

Amy Kim, Contributing Writer

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a month for acknowledging and celebrating important AAPI history and many diverse cultures from all across Asia. This is the second year the CRLS Pan Asian Club has organized the AAPI Heritage Month assembly, a process which club leadership Elaine Wen ’24 pioneered in the 2021-2022 school year. Cherace Lin ’23 enthusiastically emceed this year’s assembly.

“Normally, resistance is thought of as violence, or fighting back; however, resistance can also mean celebrations of different cultures and heritages.”

— Chanho Lee

As soon as you walk in through the auditorium doors, you could see a vast sea of people finding seats, with light chatter filling the air. As the light dimmed, the CRLS World Jazz Ensemble and Mr. Guillermo Nojechowicz welcomed everyone coming in with songs “Downtown” by EPO (sang by Sabrina Urbancik ’24 in Japanese) and “In The Stone” by Earth, Wind & Fire. Next, Cambridge city manager Yi-An Huang came in from the Cambridge City Council to give heartwarming opening remarks on what it means to be Asian American. He talked about how people had struggled to pronounce his name growing up. Now that he has grown up, he has learned to take pride in something he had always thought was shameful – reclaiming a part of his identity in the most powerful way. A warm applause transitioned its spotlight to Sneha Shrestha, also known as Imagine. She came to the assembly to talk to students about her art, as a Nepali artist who integrates Sanskrit scriptures in graffiti. She gave a new and creative front to Sanskrit, which people can appreciate and admire, and her work is displayed in both the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Soon after, Urbana Barua ’25 graced the crowd with a beautiful Bengali traditional dance. Following Barua’s colorful dance performance,

Mr. Hans Manaligod, who teaches Algebra 1 and AP Statistics, performed “(At Your Best) You Are Love”  by Aaliyah. He started out by putting his sunglasses on, and sang soulfully while strumming the guitar. Then, Atina Chenrachasith ’23 came on stage to perform a spectacular Sukhothai dance, with “Rabum Sukhothai” by Fino the Ranad playing in the background. The Sukhothai dance dance is said to be preserved and performed for over 800 years. The choreography and costume represents gratitude for people’s happiness and health during that time. A member of the Pan Asian Club Leadership, Chanho Lee ’25 performed “Dance With Me” by Beabadoobee with a guitar in hand. For the finale, the Kpop Club performed “Sugar Rush Ride” by TXT, with a sprinkle of confetti thrown into the air for their closing. The assembly closed out with words of gratitude and wisdom from the Pan Asian Club Leadership. Chanho Lee ’25 wisely said “one of our [PAC] main themes this year was ‘resistance through joy’. Normally, resistance is thought of as violence, or fighting back; however, resistance can also mean celebrations of different cultures and heritages. This year’s AAPI assembly proved that celebrating Asian heritage is important in combating anti-Asian sentiment.”

The Pan Asian Club continues to take steps towards combining activism and culturally relevant elements (for instance, the Ping Pong Tournament!) to create a more inclusive community at CRLS. Such events can act as an intersection point between the different aspects of identity and speaking out. Additionally, they open up the space for reflections centered around conversations about diversity as a school and also as the city of Cambridge.

This article also appears in our May/June 2023 print edition.