For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Nazia Rahman, a biology student in the College of Arts and Sciences, reflects on her culture, the contributions of Bangladeshis to the United States, and the importance of month-long celebration.
Growing up, Rahman had a hard time accepting her South Asian culture. She often felt that she did not fit in with her peers and was ashamed to share aspects of her Bangladeshi identity that made her different. However, as she got older, she began to realize the importance of embracing her cultural heritage and using it as a source of empowerment.
By learning more about the history, traditions, and values of her culture, Rahman gained a deeper understanding of herself and her place in the world. She also found strength in connecting with other people who shared similar experiences and backgrounds. By embracing and celebrating her culture, she began to feel a sense of empowerment and pride in who she is which has had a positive impact on her personal and professional life. Rahman is now part of a sorority based in South Asia as well as being the founder and president of the Bengali Student Association (BSA) at New York Tech.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI), an annual observance that occurs in May in the United States is a time to celebrate and recognize our contributions, achievements, and history. Bangladeshis are an important part of the AAPI community whose contributions to American society should be recognized during this month.
Bangladeshis are one of the fastest-growing Asian ethnic groups in the United States with a population of more than 200,000. They have made significant contributions to science, technology medicine academia as well as arts in America. Most people may know Salman “Sal” Amin Khan who is an educator; he founded Khan Academy which is free online non-profit educational platform that transformed education by making it interactive for everyone around the world so they could learn and thrive.
Despite these contributions, Bangladeshi Americans have also faced challenges including discrimination, lack of representation in media and politics, and immigration-related issues. Therefore, it is important to recognize and celebrate the diverse contributions of Bangladeshi Americans while advocating for their rights and inclusion in American society.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an important time to recognize and celebrate the diversity and contributions of AAPI people in the United States while acknowledging the challenges they face. As Rahman puts it, “by recognizing our culture, we can embrace our identity with pride.” According to sources close to the news, embracing one’s cultural heritage can lead to a better understanding of oneself as well as a stronger sense of community among people who share similar experiences. Let us take this month to celebrate AAPI heritage while advocating for greater recognition and inclusion of all cultures in America.