Posted by Vivian Wu and Emily Liang

On a rainy night in Oakland, community members gathered at the gymnasium of Roosevelt Jr High School. The rain was not the problem, because their hearts were united on the topic of misrepresentation and the struggle of Asian Pacific Islander students within Oakland Unified School District. Asian Pacific Islander Student Achievement (APISA) hosted a night to celebrate diversity and report their findings. Posters of data were posted in the back of the gym, while a stage for performance was placed in the front. The aroma of cultural foods filled the space while people began networking with one another, realizing they were all gathered here because of their activism within the community and their support for more API representation and resources in OUSD. Awards were given to outstanding community leaders, who motivate and influence students within the community.

As the presentation began, conversations dwindled down. The main issue APISA focused on was equity in education for Asian Pacific Islander students, specifically in the Oakland Unified School District. Based on their research, they concluded several suggestions to help better serve API families and students in OUSD. Their visions included for API families to play an active role in their child’s education despite the language barrier, for schools to teach cultural history based on the cultures within the school’s population, and for curriculums to reflect students’ interests.

One of YAC’s members and intern of APISA, Kathy Liang participated in hosting and presenting her research findings. She talked about the unequal access of college preparation in Oakland schools. Through her experience with choosing a high school, she felt that many schools lacked the resources to aid students for college. Despite the fact that Kathy lived close to a high school, she chose a school that was 15 minutes further away because she believed that the school had better resources that would allow her to succeed in the future. Kathy believed that this was unfair; schools should not be inequitable. All schools should better their college programs, and not compete over who has the best programs.

This event brought together so many passionate community members to give hope on the future of API students and spread awareness of inequity in Oakland schools.