Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center

We see you, we hear you, and we care to understand you.

 

“No Longer Invisible” is a project that first launched in 2014 as a means of expression for UW students, staff, faculty, and alumni alike of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities to use their own words in voicing their stories and lived experiences. This project was initially a storytelling for AAPI Heritage Month in May of 2014 entitled No Longer Invisible: In Their Own Words. This project was recognized at the Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center with the addition of poster exhibits and remarks from those who were featured in this series.

These stories are based on serving as a spotlight to feature the diversity of lived experiences from members of the many communities that make up the AAPI community as a whole. Diversity in aspects of identity such as culture, religion or spirituality, language, and tradition, among many others within and of the AAPI communities.

We are looking for submissions for the 2019-2020 school year that goes into a revitalization of the project for upcoming years and a restructuring of it in an ongoing effort of raising awareness of the mental health of AAPI community members. Our goal is to have people empowered in finding their voice, in sharing their story. In having a culture of care mixed in with your sense of cultural identity to rewrite the stigma about mental health that’s so heavily prevalent throughout our communities. For any questions, concerns, or more information, please feel free to contact UW’s API Mental Health Intern Fa’amanuia (Nia) Fa’alava’au (apihealth@uw.edu).

 

Submit Your Story

 

In Their Own Words – Story Collection

No Longer Invisible: Asher Jay Arce

May 29, 2021

Asher Jay Arce

“I am the proud son of a Filipino immigrant mother, who worked diligently and selflessly to provide for her family. My identity as a Filipino-American immigrant and a First-Generation student reverberates to my struggles and experiences. I realized that becoming the first person in my family to graduate from college and getting a Master’s Degree is a significant accomplishment and it has boosted my self-confidence in unexpected ways.

Education is empowering and one of the most beautiful processes a person can go through. Sometimes, it can be difficult to believe that one belongs in academia, but other First-Generation students’ support has helped alleviate the internal pressure to succeed. It was the best way to construct my support group by reaching out to people who also identified as a First-Generation and asking them to connect with me to support one another.”

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No Longer Invisible: Christina Vuong

May 29, 2021

Christina Vuong portrait

“With my lived experiences being an Asian woman, my family puts pressure on me to be just as “successful” as the other people in my family, but they also like to remind that I can’t do much because I’m a woman. It can be difficult at times with all of the noise but I’m learning to focus on what I want, and not listening to what others have to say.”

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No Longer Invisible: Christina Nhan

May 22, 2020

portrait of Christina Nhan

“I value my love of learning – learning about myself, learning about others, and getting to know more of the wonderful lessons that experiences in life have to offer. This also goes hand in hand with my value of self-reflection, because I am able to learn so much from reflecting back on my experiences/emotions/thoughts which helps me to also have a better understanding of myself. I’m grateful for my positive outlook on life because it’s what helps me get back up on my feet every time I fall. I want to share the eye-opening lessons that I’ve accumulated/am accumulating to help make a difference in other’s lives just like it has helped me to make a difference in mine.”

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No Longer Invisible: Kitnoi Phomma

May 22, 2020

portrait of Kitnoi Phomma

“My whole life has been its own experience with struggles as well as rewards. I value how I’m resilient to the barriers that I’ve had to endure. I continued to push through with school, work and my social life while working through my PTSD, depression and anxiety. I also value how I come in with open arms to anyone who chooses to enter my life. I value these things about myself because it makes me who I am.

I hope for an easier way to talk about issues like mental health and the things that may go along with that. As someone who’s dealt with mental health/illness since I was about 5, I tend to have a feeling when I see someone hurting because it reflects the moments where I also felt alone. I want to be able to support others as much as I can because it’s not easy to go through it alone without support, the lack of information on coping mechanisms, and the diverse mental health stigmas in cultures.”

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No Longer Invisible: Brandon Hadi

May 22, 2020

portrait of Brandon Hadi

“I value the fire I have burning within me; at times, it can be all consuming and lead to me burning out, but when kindled and cared for with intention, it allows me to relentlessly pursue my passions and ambitions. I’m amazed, at times, by this fire, for I know that it allows me to achieve and is the reason I’ve been able to accomplish some of the things I’ve set out to do. I’m also deeply grateful for it, because I know that in the circle of life, there will be a time when that fire burns less hot, less bright, and by that time, I want to have accomplished and seen a few more things.”

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No Longer Invisible: Vince

May 22, 2020

cup depicting a Japanese ceramic technique, Kintsugi

“I feel strong when I feel validated by the things I do. I value my ability to see the good in everything, even from difficult experiences. I believe we went through our hardships for a reason – so we can learn from it and help others who are struggling from the same misfortunes. I want to imprint in people around me to stay strong, be firm, and to have resolved in the face of uncertainty.

I value my motivation and positivity. With these two traits, I can smoothly bounce back from downfalls, continuing to strive for my dreams. I hope for more affirmations in my life because it’s important to feel like I belong here and I’m not alone so I have the confidence to accomplish anything.”

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No Longer Invisible: Han Edward So Eckelberg

May 22, 2020

portrait of Han Edward So Eckelberg

“My respect and integrity because I feel we should always respect one another. Respect is a universal value that is understood by others intuitively, but integrity is deterministic of one’s capacity to deliver and receive respect. I want to impact others to feel confident in themselves, feel safe and supported, and to have people around me smile often. my friendliness, enthusiasm, and calmness. My friendliness allows me to be receptive and to get along with many people. I feel like enthusiasm is contagious, or at least it is best to always keep motivated and positive. Staying calm allows me to assess situations, and to not get overwhelmed. I feel strong when I do something for my community because my community has done a lot for me, has given me strength. I hope for young artists in South Seattle community can keep producing art and elevating our neighborhood, because we advance together.”

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No Longer Invisible: Fa’amanuia Fa’alava’au

May 5, 2020

“I value my lived experiences because they have made me who I am today. I value what I have learned from each instance and the growth that has come from them – the highs, the lows, and everything in between. I value the people that I have around me and in my life because without their support, love, and relationships, I wouldn’t be half of the person I am today and am continually trying to grow towards being in the future. I value who I am and everyday is a learning curve to continue to remind myself to do so because I’m not like anyone else and that there is my strength, just as the same can be said for everyone!”

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