Schoolcraft College and the Office of Equity & Engagement is proud to highlight and showcase distinguished members of our AAPI community here on campus. Throughout the month of May, we will be lifting the voices of administrators, faculty, staff and students.
Meet Yan Li, the current vice president of leadership of Phi Theta Kappa Omicron Iota Chapter.
As the current vice president of leadership for the chapter, Li is committed to making an impact. As a student leader a few of the ways that he upholds the pillars of Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Fellowship is through his activism as a math tutor, as a PAL leader for Anatomy and Physiology and engagement with my peers both on campus and throughout the PTK Michigan Region participating in events that help to promote inclusion and equity among our diverse communities.
Li is a Chinese American in the nursing program and member of AAPI, which is represented by 75 different countries. China’s history extends beyond 5,000 years, is composed of over 300 languages, and is home to more than 1.4 billion people. Despite its large population in Asia, we are a minority here in America with only 5.4 million out of the overall 331 million population. With being a minority there comes certain stereotypes, which includes that Asians are all good at math, relatively quiet and generally not willing to speak up for themselves.
This isn’t the case for everyone. In fact, there are members of the community who will share with you that math is not their favorite subject! And while some people may be quieter, they speak up for themselves when they find their values being challenged. The hate generated against the Asian community due to the COVID-19 pandemic was a very difficult time and required young leadership to step up. Members of the community refused to entertain certain stereotypes that suggested those of Chinese descent are responsible for the pandemic that engulfed the world.
It is examples like these that require everyone to stand as allies in the battle against injustices. With an ever-more divided country, a willingness to understand and be kind to each other is essential. Because otherwise, what are we?
Until Li had his son, he didn’t realize how much he wanted him to be a part of the AAPI family. Even though his membership in the family was inherited, Li still knew it needed to start with him. Showing how to be proud of his culture, his roots and even the language that helps him express his values daily. If they are cherished by his son as much as they are by Li, then there is tremendous hope for generations to come, but it will take all of us and it must begin now.
Members of the AAPI community are strong, independent and are willing to stand up for themselves, but most importantly, are a part of this great nation. This is also why the next generation is so important.