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Town Of Brookline Invites Community To Virtual Reading Of Asian American Student Essays

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The Brookline Asian American Family Network (BAAFN) wishes to invite the community to the virtual Asian American Student Essay Contest Award Ceremony next week.

The event will take place on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, from 06:09 p.m. to – 07:00 p.m. o n Zoom.

To RSVP, please visit here.

Registrants will be sent the Zoom link.

Each year in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, BAAFN holds an essay contest to allow students to freely express “what it means to be an Asian American.”

This year BAAFN received a record 28 submissions, which were reviewed by a panel of judges.

Many essays explored students’ experience with anti-Asian rhetoric and violence in the U.S., which have been exacerbated by the CoViD-19 pandemic being linked inconclusively to China.

At the ceremony, awards will be presented to the following contestants:

  • BAAFN Award: Eun-Jae M. Norris and Emerson Lin;
  • Content Award: Ellie Hyde;
  • Creativity Award: Kayla Chen;
  • Honorable Mentions: Linsey Brookfield, Tina Cheng and Stephanie Wong.

Attendees will have the chance to hear the essays read by the students themselves.

The event also will feature the premiere of “Being Asian American at BHS,” a video documentary created by Brookline High School seniors Sam Lee and Jean Hur.

“I commend every contestant for speaking up, putting their experiences to paper, and shining light on this difficult subject. Together, their voices created a symphony against the erasure, invisibility, and racism that the Asian community has historically experienced,” BAAFN Steering Committee Member Hsiu-Lan Chang said.

BAAFN thanks the Committee of Judges — Christian Angelos, Giselle Ferro Puigbo, John Hodgman, Caitlin Starr, and Charu Swamy — who read the submissions. The judges of Asian descent expressed that they experienced similar hardships growing up.

“These 28 essays were often difficult to read. Difficult, only because of the pain and honesty that was so well conveyed on the page. I was able to find hope and promise for the future when looking at the 28 entries as a whole,” Judge Angelos said. “It brings me so much joy to know that 28 students have that knowledge and the awareness to tell their stories with so much honesty and insight. I walk away from this experience feeling encouraged that this courageous generation of Asian Americans feels emboldened to tell their stories, and that they will not be silenced.”

BAAFN also wishes to thank the following community sponsors for their generosity and support of this initiative: Jay Lebed and Boston Portfolio Advisers, The Brookline Booksmith, The Brookline Community Foundation, Brookline Frames, Sheri Flagler from Coldwell Banker Real Estate, John Hodgman, Jin’s Fine Asian Cuisine, Pho Viet’s, Karyn Wang, and The Town of Brookline Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations.