Mount Holyoke News 1996-1997

October 3, 1996

Asian Space

by Connie Yim '98

An initiative for Asian cultural space, in the form of a house, has been in the "underground" works of Asian student groups for a long period of time.

This year, however, the ASA (Asian Student Association) formed new board positions such as political chair and social chair (similar to the structure of APAU).

Hopefully through these new positions awareness of this mind boggling, blatant exclusion of Asian women from benefits enjoyed by other minorities on this campus will be apparent and become important to the administration.

This year ASA will work with AASIA to coordinate our efforts and present a united front on this issue. Many people wonder at the importance of cultural space, but there are some compelling reasons to support our space.

  1. The Asian population is the largest minority on campus with no space of our own for our organizations to meet.
  2. Many international students are from Asia and do not have a place to go during J-term & other breaks.
  3. Provides a support area; a place of common ground.

Having a home base allows us space to build a library on the many Asian cultures and help to provide material for lectures, events and activities in general.

Some misimpressions are that this cultural space would not be for ALL Asian women. This is wrong.

It's important for all Asian women to be aware of our efforts. facing controversy is tough, and practically impossible without a broad support from the cultural community.

It is controversial because of the money involved in a cultural space, and there is a lack of understanding of whether "space" is actually needed. Some think Ham being an international dorm should be enough, but it is not. In my opinion cultural space does not promote segregation but provides a base for stronger communication between the Asian community and the rest of the student body.

Being the "model minority" is not so attractive when you realize the benefits we lose and the split we then feel within our own community. Money would be well spent on this endeavor therefore, I can see no reasons to deny the Asian community from the type of space benefiting the Latina, African-American and Native American communities.

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