On Friday November 18, I ventured out to Philly for the Asian Mosaic Fund and Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) gathering. Friends of mine I knew from volunteering in the Philly Asian American community invited me. Although the crowded was a little older, I think it was good to introduce myself to a different crowd of involved Asian Americans. The event was held at an AAPIP member’s house in Spring Garden, which is quite a long trek from Bryn Mawr via SEPTA R100 and Market Frankfurt Line. Interestingly, the host, Fernando Chang-Muy is a Penn Law professor who specializes in refugee law and policy. He used to be a dean at Swarthmore College and also has some ties to the Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work. When he answered the door, he politely asked, “And who are you?” This is understandable because I am just some random college student who just showed up on his doorstep. He kindly invited me inside, and I introduced myself to many of the other guests who work in philanthropy, nonprofits, and foundations in Philadelphia.
Coincidentally, I ran into my cousin who goes to Temple’s uncle (from the side of the family not related to me). He works at Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition (SEAMAAC), and we had a nice conversation over the various social services and community resources SEAMAAC offers. From Indonesian cancer screenings to ESL classes, SEAMAAC aims to meet the needs of the Southeast Asian community. I was inspired to look into volunteer opportunities possibly for next semester and the future if I stay in Philly. I also met a man whose daughter attends Bryn Mawr College’s Phoebe Anne Thorne preschool. I think I may have seen his daughter since I have been doing weekly observations for my Developmental Psychology course this semester.
Something that I had in common with many of the event attendees was my involvement in the voter registration and GOTV outreach efforts. I was able to talk about my experience with a couple of the other people there, and we shared our sentiments about the future of AAPI mobilization. As mentioned previously, I believe the silver lining in the aftermath of the elections is that many more Asian Americans, especially the youth, will get involved and reconnect with their communities. The future of funding for Asian American arts, culture, and community based nonprofits is uncertain in the face of a Trump presidency, which makes it even more important for Asian Americans to come together and support each other. Activism definitely does not end in college, and I hope to join a group of like-minded Asian American professionals who care about building community through volunteering and philanthropy.