Akshita's Letter

The Honorable Grace Meng of the United States House of Representatives

Dear Representative Meng:

My name is Akshita. I am an 11-grade student in Indiana taking part in eGirl Power’s AAPI Initiative to “Educate, Empower and Elevate” the AAPI community to unite efforts to #StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate. An IRS-approved 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, eGirl Power believes the best way to fight discrimination is through education, and this is the spirit and approach of its AAPI Initiative.

I’m writing to describe what the AAPI Initiative means to me. The eGirl Power is an amazing non-profit organization. They have so many resources and people to help me understand AAPI history and the struggles that we still face today. I have learned so much about Asian American history in one zoom call than I ever have in school. They have helped me realize and further understand how important it is for us to educate ourselves and future generations not only about AAPI history but also about the struggles the past generation has had to overcome. The incentive of the organization is to educate but also learn to stand up for ourselves and create equality.

We learned about Mamie Tape, an 8-year-old Chinese American girl who helped desegregate schools – way back in 1885! Mamie Tape's effort to desegregate the San Francisco public schools went to the California Supreme Court 70 years before Brown v. Board of Education.

I am inspired by Mamie Tape because for the longest time we have been told to stay quiet and to just take whatever is given to us. But learning about her made me realize how standing up for ourselves is what will help us create equality. Her story helped me recognize that we should be bold and claim what is ours. Factors like the color of our skin and the food we eat should not have to determine whether we get the same amount of respect and opportunities as others.

I support The Teaching Asian Pacific American History Act (H.R. 2283) that you reintroduced in May 2021 in the wake of ever-increasing anti-Asian attacks during COVID-19. I support it because it helps us understand what past generations have done so far to help us live in a better world than they did. It will inspire AAPI individuals to fight for the equality that we deserve and give us a solid reason to stand up for ourselves like prior generations. There have been so many incidents and hate toward Asian Americans that we have never heard of or learned about. I think it is essential that we know about AAPI history which connects us to the place we live in now.

I admire you because you have put so much time and effort into creating a more equalized world for Asian Americans. It is truly liberating to see a powerful Asian woman facing and solving the inequalities faced. Your determination to do so has been a great inspiration and it is amazing to have been able to read and learn so much about you and all that you have done.

A recent survey found that 42 percent of people living in the U.S. cannot name a single prominent Asian American!

It is truly embarrassing because, in all honesty, I would not be able to either. I have never been exposed to or taught about any of them. Let alone what they have done or stood up for. I think this should be a big reason for teaching people about Asian American history. Forgetting about them and their achievements should not be tolerated. Learning about them is a way that we can honor what they have done for us.