Students encouraged to wear white on May 14

Attire will show support for the Asian American community


Megaphone file photo

Students are encouraged to wear white on May 14 to shows their support of the Asian American community and to those who identify as AAPI.

Julia Jennings , Reporter

The Asian Student Union encourages students to wear white on May 14 to honor Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to send a message of support to that community. 

Senior Andrew de las Alas, along with seniors Nathan Fiedeley and Matthew Fiedeldey, is the co-founder and co-president of ASU.

de las Alas said, “The mission of Asian Student Union is to do the same thing as the Black Student Union and Latino Student Union but in respect to Asians, Asian Americans and anybody who identifies as AAPI. The main idea is to offer community and then celebrate our heritage. That could be looking at language, food, dance, our home life, and then also examine some of the issues we face today as AAPI individuals. It is a safe space for Asians and Asian Americans.”

As part of the mission, the Asian Student Union hopes to bring social change to the community by speaking about issues in today’s world. Their way of showing social awareness is to wear white on May 14 to honor members of the AAPI and to celebrate. Alas said, “May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, so we wanted a date in May.”

Raising awareness for Asian Americans history is important because of the recent increase of hate crimes against Asians both in the United States and across the world. Alas said, “Between March of 2019 to March of 2020, hate crimes rose across the nation (by) about 150%. Another reason is to raise awareness for people who don’t know that this is happening. For people that do or just now learned, it’s also an act of solidarity.”

Students are encouraged to wear white on May 14 to show unity and strength for AAPI students. In Asian cultures, white is a symbol of death and is worn for mourning. In the United States, white often is a symbol for peace, purification and sanctity. de las Alas said, “We are kind of fusing both of them. If everybody is doing it, then it’s an act of solidarity and it helps people remember that there are people being killed.” 

de las Alas stated he also wanted to raise not only awareness but also funds for organizations addressing hate crimes against Asians. He said, “Technically we are not allowed to sponsor a fundraiser, but the main idea was to try to find a way where we could get Cathedral and the faculty and students to get interested in this and then do something tangible.”