Photo Courtesy of Asian American Progressive Student Union via LinkedIn

Founded by Amy Zhai and May Soemin, two students of Richard Montgomery High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, Asian American Progressive Student Union (AAPSU) is an organization that works to unite progressive Asian American student leaders and promotes racial equity in the Asian American community. AAPSU enables Asian American students to discuss important issues and advocate for them. 

AAPSU strives to address racism and build connections in the community through workshops that educate on matters of colorism and racism. They believe that it is important to form alliances with other organizations and groups that support people of color to educate and support students pursuing racial equality. The main goal of AAPSU is to promote community development and address segregation within MCPS. 

Over the past year, AAPSU has been working towards creating a curriculum and receiving approval for an Asian American history class in MCPS high schools. As there is currently no course focused on Asian American history, AAPSU believes that students may not understand the significance of the topic. Through the course, students would learn about Asian American history and how events from the past affect Asian American communities in modern times. They also believe that Asian American history classes should be taught by Asian American teachers. 

AAPSU has also held panels addressing Anti-Blackness in the Asian American community. In one panel, college professors explained the history of Afro-Asian communications and the issues created by them. In another panel, teachers, authors, organization leaders, and more discussed unity and contemporary issues, outlining ways to combat the belief held by some within the community. Overall, AAPSU is working to point out and resolve ongoing issues by educating others. 

On August 8th, 2021, AAPSU collaborated with Dear Asian Youth (DAY) to hold a forum on Proposition 16, a decision made to enable government contracting decisions and college admissions to concentrate on racial and gender diversity. During the meeting, they also discussed Proposition 209, which forbids California admissions from using race as a factor in their admissions processes. AAPSU hopes to enforce a college admissions process where race was not taken into consideration. In this conference, attendees were able to have a successful discussion on racial issues in the admissions process while debunking myths and identifying actions that needed to be taken.

As an organization, AAPSU strives to educate, unite, and support Asian American students and their allies. Their goal is to not only identify issues but also to solve them. You can visit their website here to learn more about their organization and upcoming projects.

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