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Navigating Social Justice: My Journey with AANHPI Youth Research Council and Beyond

In the ever-evolving landscape of social justice, my involvement with the AANHPI (Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander) Youth Research Council has been an enlightening odyssey, unraveling the intricate tapestry of identity and the profound impact of intersectionality.

Through the lens of this research council, comprising 17 diverse individuals from different corners of the United States, I've delved into a project that hits close to home as an Asian American woman. Our endeavor involves understanding the intersectionality of identity within the AANHPI community, spotlighting the shared struggles, and embracing the nuanced differences.

The beauty of our research lies in the interviews conducted with individuals across the country. From suburban areas with Mongolian descent to bustling neighborhoods like Queens, the spectrum of experiences is both relatable and divergent. These conversations illuminated the common thread of navigating cultural expectations, familial duties, and the weight of parental sacrifices for our opportunities. Despite our differences, we find solace in similar narratives, sharing spaces where we find kinship and support.

This journey hasn't been confined to research alone; it has been a voyage of personal growth. Engaging in discussions with my younger brother, Morgan, has been a highlight, albeit a challenging one. Our disagreements on morals, politics, and ideologies often become battlegrounds where multiple points vie for attention. However, amidst the clash, I've learned the art of discernment—choosing the points to focus on and knowing when to step back. Our conversations have taught me that understanding each other's perspectives outweighs the pursuit of proving who's right.

The stark contrast between our beliefs initially perplexed me. Raised in what I thought was a liberal household, I found myself face-to-face with ideologies influenced by media and social platforms. It was an awakening—a realization of how media shapes beliefs and how both my brother and I are susceptible to its influences. Communicating on sensitive topics demanded tact, selecting discussions carefully while gracefully stepping away from the ones deemed too contentious.

In the realm of current events, the role of law and politics in shaping societal narratives becomes unmistakably clear. Conversations about feminism, Black Lives Matter, and equality initiatives highlight the polarizing opinions ingrained in social movements. Some view these movements as unnecessary, believing that issues of the past have ceased to exist. Others perceive them as mechanisms to undermine certain groups, instead of uplifting the previously oppressed.

This ongoing journey with the AANHPI Youth Research Council and the dynamic discussions with my brother underscores the complexity of social justice. It's not merely about deciphering right from wrong but understanding the nuances, acknowledging privileges, and navigating the imperfections of our world. It's about fostering dialogues, bridging gaps, and recognizing that each individual's journey contributes to the ever-evolving fabric of social justice.

In essence, social justice isn't just an ideology; it's a living, breathing entity, shaped by law, politics, and individual experiences. It's about amplifying voices, seeking common ground, and striving for a society where equity and understanding reign supreme. And through my experiences with the AANHPI Youth Research Council and discussions with my brother, I'm committed to contributing my part to this enduring pursuit of a more just world.

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