AAPI Heritage Month: Week 3 : Supporting the Asian American & Pacific Islander Community

Updated: May 26, 2021

Pittsford Central PTSA Celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May Is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) peoples’ contributions have had substantial and important impact in the United States. Pittsford Central PTSA celebrates our Asian and Pacific Islander parent community with representation all month long.


OUR PROGRAM - Celebrating AAPI Heritage

Here you will find interviews, historical profiles, and resources providing snapshots of the culture and the legacy of the Asian Diaspora and life in America.

Please return to this site over the upcoming weeks to find out more and share in this important topic.

Thank you Pittsford PTSA DEI community members for your contributions, especially Pittsford parent, Dr. Hongyue Wang and her daughter, Amy Feng, junior at SHS, for organizing and contributing much of the content for this series of AAPI posts.


This Thursday May 27th at 7 PM PTSA DEI invites parents, educators, and students to attend our upcoming PTSA DEI Event on East Asian American Diversity.

Join in a panel discussion of East Asian culture, presented and hosted by three professors across disciplines who know the respective language, culture, and both formal and informal institutions of three countries in East Asia.


Week 3 : Supporting the AAPI Community


"It was hard for me to do the show (All-American Girl) because a lot of people didn't even understand the concept of Asian-American. I was on a morning show and the host said, "Awright, Margaret, we're changing over to an ABC affiliate! So why don't you tell our viewers in your native language that we're making that transition?" So I looked at the camera and said, "Um, they're changing over to an ABC affiliate." - Margaret Cho


Peter Westacott is a senior psychology and sociology major at Ithaca College, speaks about the portrayals (or lack thereof) of Asians in the media. Speaking from a psychological perspective, Peter Westacott discusses the consequences of whitewashing and stereotypes and implores for more dynamic, empowering, versatile roles for Asians in media. He is involved with a research team in the Psychology Department called the Center for Research on the Effects of Television (CRETV), directed by Cyndy Scheibe.

He has been awarded membership to Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology in 2017. Peter has always been passionate about advocating for equity, especially on topics of race, gender, and sexuality. He hopes to use both his degrees post-graduation to continue his vision for equality.


To this day, racism, xenophobia, sinophobia, are harming AAPI people at alarming rates. After 9/11, an increase in South-Asian mistreatment occured, and before and after the Covid-19 pandemic, mistreatment has been significantly increasing for the AAPI population.

The organization stopaapihate.org has emerged as a way to track the incidents of hate, violence, shunning, harassement, discrimination, and child bullying in the US.


Stereotypes are over generalized belief about a group of people that harm them and can erase the individuality of people.

The Model Minority Myth is a harmful stereotype, rooted in white supremacy, which presumes that Asian Americans are the “model” group and depicts AAPIS as uniformly well adjusted, attaining more socioeconomic success than other minority groups and a strong work ethic. These false-beliefs are considered to create a wedge between groups and cover up acts of solidarity between racial groups. When you group different folx making assumptions about wealth, intelligence, academic achievement, and demeanor it is harmful. Individuals can feel erased, dismissed or ignored.


Microaggressions are also experienced by the AAPI population and are important to be aware of. Microaggressions are defined as subtle, stunning, often automatic instances that can be both verbal, or non verbal, that make a person feel othered, put-down or harmed*. Well intentioned individuals can engage in these biased acts without guilt or knowledge. It is important to be aware that not just ones intent, but ones impact matters. Causing harm to individuals is not ok. Many people report microaggressions can occur many times a day. Common microaggressions include: Statements such as “You speak good English” or ” “Where are you REALLY from” (described as feeling alien in your own land), and mispronouncing someone’s name. The cumulative effects of microaggressions can be devastating- and are described by some as 1,000 tiny paper cuts. They can harm people just as more overt acts of racism do.

* Racial Microaggressions and the Asian American Experience Derald Wing Sue, Jennifer Bucceri, Annie I. Lin, Kevin L. Nadal, and Gina C. Torino Teachers College, Columbia University


The Smithsonian Institution provides a video series for classroom teachers and caregivers who teach. What does it mean to be Asian Pacific American? Who is Asian Pacific American? What are the impacts of Asian Pacific American stereotypes?

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is proud to present We are not a stereotype, a video series for educators, by educators. This series explores and challenges the complexity surrounding the term Asian Pacific American, breaking it down into topics that span multiple timelines, geographies, and identities.

Smithsonian AAPI Events and Resources is an innovative, community-centered museum experience of Asians and Pacific Islander throughout the United States and beyond. Standing Together for AAPI Heritage Month is a calendar of activities throughout May and into June, with message from Interim Director Theodore S. Gonzalves, Ph.D.

Additional activities include Heritage iRL, an engaging Asian American heritage across a range of media and communities, We are not a steriotype, an educational video series breaking down Asian Pacific American bias. Learning Together includes resources connecting educators with Asian American and Pacific Islander voices, stories, and community-created resources, concluding with presenting and preserving Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Stories in "Our Stories"


SPOTLIGHT - Local Youth Advocacy

Last month, a group of students Diversify Pittsford, organized a #StopAsianHate protest in the Village of Pittsford.

Protests also happened in neighboring communities, such as the April 3rd protest at Maplewood YMCA, as featured in the Democrat and Chronicle.


More examples of students standing up against hate were observed nation wide in April, including this example of teachers and students coming together in creative protest against hate in Syosset Central School District in Long Island NY.


Asian Matters - Three Session Series

Session I: Asians in Rochester

In their introductory session AsianMatters, standing with Rochesters Asian American communities, examined the diversity of Asian and Asian American communities in Greater Rochester, and the impacts of racism and xenophobia historically and more recently with the COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring: Pilapa Esara Carroll, Natasha Chen Christensen & Christina Lee.

Session II: Asian in Perspective

In session two, Asian Americans from different sectors of Greater Rochester come together to talk about common misperceptions of Asian Americans and the negative effect they have on the Asian American community. Featuring: Hannah PK, Smriti Jacob, Frank Keophetlasy & Samiha Islam

Session II: Asian in Action

In session three, Local Asian American change-makers round out the final session of our series. Their activism on behalf of refugees, the LGBTQ+ community, and others breaks down divisions that can become a source of hate.

Solidarity and Allyship

What can you do? Whether you are a part of a group, or not, we are united together hoping to see each other in full humanity. For that reason, we feel its important to give resources for children and adults on being an ally, and an upstander- the ways you can stand up for those who aren't being treated well.

Responding as a Bystander

What’s worse than being targeted with harassment because of your race, sex, religion, color, gender, size, orientation, disability, age, or origin? Being targeted while surrounded by bystanders who see what is happening, but then do nothing.

It doesn’t have to be that way. At this moment in history, we are witnessing a spike in disrespect, harassment, and hate violence. As bystanders, we need to be especially vigilant and aware of what disrespect, harassment, and hate violence look like in order to be able to stand up and intervene at a time when people need it most.

You can make a choice to actively and visibly take a stand against harassment. The Five D’s are different methods you can use to support someone who’s being harassed, emphasize that harassment is not okay, and demonstrate to people in your life that they too have the power to make our communities and workplaces safer.

Find out more at hollaback! about Bystander Intervention Training.


“We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world” - Howard Zinn

The Pittsford Central PTSA DEI Committee seeks to celebrate ALL residents and truly value diversity and inclusion. We emphasize that our differences truly make us better. We know that it is essential to create welcoming schools and classrooms where differences in language, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, unique abilities, etc., are viewed as assets rather than deficits. An awareness and acceptance of these differences are foundational to the success of all students.

As a small group of volunteers, we acknowledge we may be incomplete in our coverage of this topic. For that reason - we welcome you to contact us with suggestions and additions regarding any of this material, you may reach the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee via our feedback form. We can add more to our posts throughout the month and plan to build on this material in future years.


Pittsford Central PTSA, NYSPTA and National PTA Resources

Pittsford Central School District and Monroe County Resources


Indigenous Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge the Seneca people as the traditional custodians of the land that we are on and for their enduring presence. We would also like to pay respects to Elders past and present of the Hodinöhsö:ni' Confederacy, and we extend that respect to any other indigenous people who are present with us today. We make this acknowledgment as a first step in fulfilling our responsibility to critically look at colonial histories and their present-day implications as we pay respect to the keepers of the land, and the land itself. We are aware that acknowledgment is not reparation, and land acknowledgment without active steps towards education, support of the Seneca Nation, and sincere efforts to undo colonial legacies means very little.