The AFS Asian Coalition has been busy organizing events to honor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. AFS students braved the heat and humidity and went out to Resilient Roots Farm in Camden, NJ. They helped harvest arugula that is sold to hospitals to provide food for those who are in need of access to healthy, fresh produce, and prepared beds for loofah squash and a special variety of Burmese pumpkins. The Farm Managers also taught us about indigenous farming practices and pointed out native plants and their medicinal uses. Thanks to Camille ’23, Alexa ’23, Vanessa ’23, Izzy ’23, Sarah ’23, Alana ’26, and faculty chaperones Jillian Ma and Tina Yen.
The AFS Asian Coalition also hosted two co-founders from VietLead this month. Bay Nguyen, Youth Projects Director and Nancy Nguyen, Executive Director of VietLead presented to the entire Upper School, walking the audience through their mission statement of heal, resist and grow, which they say is a framework to healing trauma in Vietnamese and Southeast Asian communities in Philadelphia. The presentation was informative, vulnerable and engaging. Students were able to get some more personal and deeper history about South East Asian Refugees living in geographic pockets of Philadelphia and the surrounding region. The history of Asian American’s relationship with identity in America is complicated for individuals and families. Vietlead strives to provide civic empowerment and community defense information. They also run a co-op experiment and youth programming about farming and food sovereignty. Bay left the students with words of encouragement. “Hope is a discipline, you are our leaders of the future, you have the power to make change.”