Lucy Xu

NAAAP Boston Scholarship Awards Winner

 

When Peter Liang was tried for killing Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man, I saw for the first time in my life Asian Americans stand up as a whole community to fight for their rights and place in this country.

 

Growing up, I had always been plagued by the alienated feeling of not belonging to the America that I was born and raised in. When I saw my mom publically ridiculed on the train by obnoxious teenagers who thought it entertaining to make fun of a woman who could not understand their language, I found myself unable to retaliate in her place for fear of embarrassment and humiliation. When, as a child, I dreamed of becoming a pop star, I found myself dejected at the prospects of my own broken dreams because I thought that there was no way America would ever be interested in an Asian singer like me. So instead, I shut my mouth and told myself to study because I was Chinese and I was the model minority.

 

For a long time, I felt singled out by these insecurities in my identity. I felt as though I was alone in my struggle and decided to squash down my own unhappy feelings so as to forget I ever had them. Yet as I got older, I began to realize that my experiences have never been entirely my own. I see now that this misconception and marginalization of Asian Americans in America is a fundamental issue that faces every person of Asian descent in this country. And just as we stood up behind Peter Liang, I think that if the Asian community began to encourage others to speak up and speak out against injustices facing them,  we can as a whole begin to tackle those misconceptions and marginalizations.

 

As a seventeen year old now, I find myself gravitating towards the STEM fields, and especially computer science, where I know that my voice will not be disregarded as they have been my entire life.  In the future, I hope to become a leader in STEM who can help give Asian Americans like myself their voice. Throughout my own adolescence, I have let my self worth be dictated by what I thought my world expected from me. However, it is my wish that by entering and leading the field of computer science, I can inspire other Asian Americans and change the narrative about the lives of people like me. I sincerely believe that the country is now catalyzing the movement to bringing Asian Americans greater representation and I just hope that my actions can be a consequential part of that movement.