New Logo Designed by Stephen Leung

ASIANS, AMERICANS,
and
ASIAN AMERICANS

 

 




Discovering our
differences to unite
future generations.
Our vision is a world
where the differences
that make us unique
as individuals unite
us as a people
rather than divide
us as a nation, and
where our nation is
a bridge to all.
Together we can
make a difference.




[AA] Board of Directors
Past and Present

John Cordero
Current
Michelle Gong
Sherry Ha
President
Howard Hua
Sawanee
Khongsawatwaja
Vice President
Charles Kang
Tuan Le
Treasurer
Stanley Liang

Wendy Liem
Tara Nyack
Kevin Quan
Ja Young
Secretary




Affiliations:

AA E-Zine
Asian American
Online News & Events
www.aaezine.org

EducAsians SBU
www.ic.sunysb.edu/
clubs/educasia

 
SBU AA E-Zine
www.aa2sbu.org/
aaezine




Contact Info
POB 4093
Stony Brook
NY 11790

631 831 6062

board@
aasquared.org




[AA]2 is an IRS
approved 501(c)3
not-for-profit. Your
contributions are tax
exempt and deductible.




www.aasquared.org


 


Dear Member of the Greater Long Island Community:

Long Island - beyond its political dividing lines of cities and counties - stretching from Flushing to Flanders, from Sunset Park to Sag Harbor - contains the largest Asian and Asian American population on the East Coast - and it is a community that is starting to blossom. We are moving beyond having cultural groups that represent only one ethnicity to realizing that there are areas where we share more in common than we have differences - that joining together makes sense.

In essence, we are becoming more fully American. Yet we are also proud to be Asian, or part Asian, or married to an Asian, or have Asian children, and we want all Americans to be able to learn about and participate in Asian and Asian American cultural heritage and history.

As Asian/Americans, the areas of sharing across ethnic lines are both positive and negative. Asian cultures emphasize learning and Asian American children are the most highly educated immigrants and children of immigrants this nation has ever had. But that comes at a price. Asian American girls aged 15-24 have the highest rate of suicide in the nation as do Indian American males. Suicides on college campus' have become so endemic that in 2003 Cornell University instituted a task force on Asian/Americans to look into the "disproportionate number of suicides by students of Asian descent."

The Asia Society's report, Asia in the School's: Preparing Young Americans for Today's Interconnected World, documented how little is taught and how important it is to change that for all Americans. Yet New York K-12 teachers are not required to take even one course on Asia or Asian America to get certification.

Like all American immigrants, many Asian immigrants live where speaking English is not a 24-hour necessity. Just as Mott Street was once all Italian and Yorkville on Manhattan's upper East side all German, now Brooklyn's Brighton Beach is Russian and Chinatown is but one of many Asian enclaves. It has been overtaken by Flushing and joined by Astoria, Sunset Park, and others in Long Island's urban west end.

In suburban Long Island there are primarily two extremes. School districts that are still 98% white where an Asian child can often be the only one in their class, or even their school. On the other side, Asian/American families with the economic means have moved into the best school districts. Now some, like Nassau's Herrick's, have a majority pan-Asian student population of primarily Chinese, Indians, and Koreans.

Stony Brook University, Long Island's largest University and one of four SUNY Centers, was the recipient of a private donation of over $50 million for the largest center in the country 'Celebrating Asian and Asian American Cultures.' That donation came about in part because 30% of SBU's undergrads are of Asian descent, as are 50% of its international grad students. But Stony Brook also has the lowest family income of all the SUNY Centers - its bright students coming from Bronx High School of Science and Stuy, not upper class districts like Herricks.

Though we may not think of all of Long Island in terms of Asian/Americans, in truth, they have made every part of it 'home' and been involved in its modern development in ways that even recent history has forgotten. For generations, a Chinese American owned farm out on Suffolk's North Fork supplied the fresh Asian vegetables used in Chinatown's restaurants. The most renowned architect in recent history, I.M. Pei, who designed the glass pyramid entrance to the Louvre, early in his career also designed Roosevelt Field, the first major shopping mall.

Affectionately called AA Squared, [AA]2 began as an informal organization of students and alumni of Stony Brook University. Although SBU alumni initiated it, it was in response to their realization that there needed to be a wider focus beyond simply SBU. As alumni moved on with their lives they saw the same needs everywhere and had the same desires to make changes in their own communities.

Thus [AA]2 was born. NY State and NY State Education Department approved (AA)2 as an official not-for-profit corporation, though since the forms could not deal with superscripts, it is officially (AA) 'two' rather than (AA) 'squared'. That was to be followed with the massive IRS paperwork but since we were all leading busy lives, it languished.

Then, the very concept of why we had formed [AA]2 jolted us like a bolt of lightening. On the night before her 25th birthday, a young alumna many of us had known or worked with while she was a student, committed suicide. It made the statistics real.

We applied for a grant from the Long Island Fund for Women & Girls to do workshops on issues of importance to young Asian American women. They said yes but the money must go to a 501(c)3. With that incentive we applied to the IRS, were approved, and LIFWG sent us a check. 

We did all the things we said we would with that first grant - workshops and a full day conference on dealing with life's negatives like partner violence protection - countered with life's positives like leadership skills and mentoring. All put together by financially needy young college students who became [AA]2 interns.

And more. Grants give legitimacy. An Asian American film series with speakers at SBU blossomed into one at The New School University. But small grants also force an organization to concentrate their limited resources around the grant. Just as it is important to teach young women about partner violence protection, young men need to be taught appropriate ways to handle their emotions, but there is no funding. 

Now we are turning to the community to continue what we have begun but in a more concrete way - by building a base of financial support so that what we do does not go from grant to grant and instead can be more all encompassing.

[AA]2's Board includes Asians and non-Asians as its goals are to help Asian Americans and to teach all Americans. It welcomes anyone to get involved. What we hope to accomplish is described on the Goals page but none can happen until many are willing to make a commitment.   

Please make that commitment. There are a multitude of ways to help from financial donations to run the programs and pay interns to materials to make the programs possible, and especially your time as a volunteer.

Becoming a volunteer is as vital as a financial donation, especially for those who have the time to make an ongoing commitment. All but one of [AA]2's Board is a young professional just making their start in the world and beginning to raise families. Time and money are not what they have in abundance. College volunteers are wonderful but their academics, especially for Asian American students, come first. There needs to be volunteer stability that is not dependent on mid-terms, finals, and graduation.   

Together we can help bring the blossoming Long Island / metro New York Asian/American community to full flower by providing the fertilizer to nourish its growth. Will you please join us today and make a difference?

Thank you!

Sherry Ha, Sawanee Khongsawatwaja, Tuan Le, and Ja Young
Co-Chairs, [AA]2 Board of Directors, 2008

 

                           www.aasquared.org   |   www.aaezine.org