Asian Students Association establishes community, raises awareness

The Asian Students Association attend their second meeting of the year on Dec. 2 in room 2064. The Asian affinity group discusses their lives as a part of the Asian American community, as well as what some possible future goals of the group should be.

Photo by Lily Hultgren ’25.

The Asian Students Association attend their second meeting of the year on Dec. 2 in room 2064. The Asian affinity group discusses their lives as a part of the Asian American community, as well as what some possible future goals of the group should be.

It was a Friday afternoon when Asian students from many different backgrounds came together in classroom 2064. They talked about all sorts of things from shared personal experiences, to frustrations as well as hopes for the future. A shared bond existed in that room, and could certainly feel it filling up the atmosphere of the classroom. 

Founded by Alyssa Lee ’24 and Annabelle Luo ’24, the Asian Student Association aims to build a community among Asian students while also promoting the representation of Asian Americans and their cultures. Another goal of the group also includes fighting against racism towards the Asian community here at Staples. 

“My friend and I co-founded this club at the end of last year,” Luo said. “The ultimate goal of this group is to build a long lasting Asian community at Staples that feels comfortable in their voice and asserting our presence at Staples.”

I personally got bullied in middle school for being Asian which definitely made me feel more alone, but I had made a lot of friends with a lot of other Asian kids who had very similar experiences. I think it’s important to understand you’re not alone and you can be with other people. ”

— Alyssa Lee ’24.

The sense of community and activism Luo discussed is part of what encouraged students like Rei Seltzer ’26 to join the group. 

“I’m Asian myself and it would be nice to be with other people that kinda have something in common with me,” Seltzer said. “Sometimes people will [say] inaccurate things about us that’s not true and I think it’s important to raise awareness about that.”

In addition, a lack of Asian representation at Staples is another issue important to the group who shared and discussed issues as well as possible solutions during their meetings.

“I know it’s a majority white town and sometimes it’s easy to feel like your voice is being drowned out, especially because there’s not a lot of representation,” Lee said. “But I think it’s incredibly important to see that and that’s kind of what I want to do with the club and fix those things, spread awareness for certain things, like [how the some of group was] talking about how they don’t get their holidays off even though it’s really important to their culture.” 

One of these holidays is the important Hindu holiday Diwali, or “The Festival of Lights.” It is also celebrated by religions such as Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. On Thursday Oct. 20, it was announced that Diwali would be made an official school holiday for New York City students; however, Westport Public Schools do not recognize it as one. 

Alyssa Lee ’24, co-founder and co-leader of the Asian Students Association, addresses the group by talking about how her own experiences with a lack of representation of the Asian community in school, as well as encounters with racism, inspired her and her longtime friend Annable Luo ’24 (not pictured) to form the association.
(Photo by Lily Hultgren ’25.)

This is something that the Asian Students Association aims to change with their group activism. 

“I think it’s really hard to voice your opinions as one person and I think it’s also incredibly easy to get dismissed when you’re one person,” Lee said. “But when you have a big group of people, people tend to take you more seriously just in general.”

Lee further elaborated on how her experiences in the past have shown her how important it is to have a community to turn to.

“I personally got bullied in middle school for being Asain which definitely made me feel more alone, but I had made a lot of friends with a lot of other Asian kids who had very similar experiences,” Lee said. “I think it’s important to understand you’re not alone and you can be with other people.”

Social studies Chi-Ann Lin was immediately willing to be the advisor of this group who she shared has a very important goal. 

“I was more than happy to support Alyssa and Annabelle, who are both former students of mine,” Lin said. “ I really admire their efforts to create a safe space for fellow students, to share and celebrate their diverse cultural heritage and to create a more inclusive community at Staples.”