Asian Americans all across ERHS’s campus join together with AAHC (Asian-American Heritage Club) to connect with their culture or merely to learn about others. Successfully existing for three years, they’ve achieved several outstanding checkpoints in the club: growing a diverse Asian group and expanding education on their culture. Held in Mr. Yee’s room every other Thursday, the class is flooded with students from several different ethnic backgrounds who are all connected through the unique community the club created.
Meetings usually have bonding activities ranging from a mini-lecture about other cultures to learning simple origami. As a signature piece of their club, members will receive a little snack corresponding with the theme of the meeting: mooncakes, Hi-Chew, etc. The board usually researches topics about holidays coming up; for example, their gathering about the mid-autumn festival, which is celebrated in Chinese culture, educates members about the holiday. Afterward, they’ll shout out a small-Asian business and encourage everybody to support it. Overall, each meeting truly never leaves you dozing off; you’ll be educated and you’ll always leave with a snack in hand.
Many were excited to see AAHC back to having meetings again, and as such, the classroom was completely packed with students on September 7th. Like most clubs, the first meeting of 2023 consisted of introductions for the board, the club, and, of course, the members! Instead of the usual bonding activities, members were encouraged to share their name, grade, pronouns, and favorite Asian snack, and afterward, board members would pass out small candies as a treat to go.
Co-president Lily Mahmud (she/her) is a junior at Eagle Rock who has been with AAHC throughout her high school career, meaning she has more than enough experience to run it with her other half, Mirasol Martinez. Joining AAHC helped Lily realize her fiery passion for expanding the school’s Asian-American community and education on Asian culture in general. Being South-Asian herself, Bangladeshi to be precise, she’s realized the lack of cultural background people know about her ethnicity; Lily states, “When most think of Asians they think prominently of East-Asians, and although that’s a major piece of Asia, a lot of people forget about South-Asia”, which is something she very much wants to change. Luckily for her, AAHC has brought her the opportunity to educate others about her culture.
After quarantine, Dylan Robles (she/her) aimed to fill her free time with various clubs offered at ERHS. Seeing a colorful poster that read: “AAHC’s first ever meeting,” Dylan was intrigued as she seemed to fit the criteria, being Filipino herself. Now, being promoted from general member to AAHC’s first treasurer in her junior year, Dylan is honored to be in a community filled with people who understand her. Ever since she was little, she’s always felt distant from her culture compared to others, and due to her lack of fluency in Tagalog or frequent consumption of Filipino food, she’s never fit in with her fellow Asian friends. Being able to educate others on different cultures creates a full circle in Dylan’s life; helping people who feel similarly to her and teaching the importance of culture fuels her passion for her role in the club.
Both presidents, Lily Mahmud and Mirasol Martinez plan on expanding the club to new adventures; instead of just holding meetings every other Thursday, they seek to fundraise for a better club experience. Selling concessions at football games and dances, they’re sure to create a strong financial foundation for future events. Additionally focusing on hands-off fundraisers at Asian-affiliated companies such as Boba Time or Ding Tea, they have numerous ways to make money to fulfill their needs.
Treasurer Dylan Robles has several other ideas for AAHC; she views forms of bonding as vital characteristics of creating a strong community. Recently, she’s created Paper Pals (an origami club), and she wants both AAHC and Paper Pals to collaborate in afterschool activities of making origami and learning about different cultures. Dylan also plans on sharing some internships and volunteering options for Asian organizations. For example, one for learning about Asian hate and another for Asian mental health and the culture of immigrant parents.
Lastly, near the beginning of the second semester, the board members mentioned a secret surprise, so if you’re interested, make sure to keep in touch with the club by joining the Remind, texting @eraahc to 81010, and following their Instagram account: @erhsaahc!
Dylan Robles and Lily Mahmud (credit: Ella Esther)