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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA community members share stories of struggle, identity for good cause

Salman Ashraf remembers living in Pakistan at 7 years old, the night before his grandfather died.

A senior majoring in physiology, Ashraf stood before the “More Than a Single Story,” audience Friday night and told them a story of his life. One that he claimed, contained secrets he had never told.

“One thing he said to me stuck with me,” Ashraf said of his grandfather. “‘This boy right here’s a good one, he’ll be a good person when he grows up.’ I don’t know why he thought that, but I’m glad he did.”

Ashraf was one of seven speakers at the event hosted by Asian Pacific American Student Affairs.

Along with speakers, the event included a dinner, as well as a dance performance by Dia Clones, a local dance group whose members include many students from APASA.

Next came Yujie Wang, a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology.

Wang told the story of her struggles with a mother who had high expectations and the challenges Wang faced to find a place in the UA community.

“I felt that maybe my mom was right, maybe college isn’t for me,” Wang said. “That’s the academic side, but also, where should I classify myself? I didn’t know which group to go into.”

After some time in college, Wang said a feeling came over her and she knew that she could surpass her difficulties.

“After three and a half years, I don’t question myself like I used to,” she said. “I started to solve problems by myself, without asking support from my parents. I wanted to show them I can do it.”

Some audience members attended the event to support their friends participating, such as Franco Enverga, a sophomore studying biochemistry and neuroscience.

“I hope for the audience to gain a special awareness of the struggles in society,” he said.

The goal of the event was to allow students to share stories about their culture, identity and struggles, said Jayme Wong, an ecology & evolutionary biology senior and a member of the APASA board of directors.

After Typhoon Haiyan typhoon hit in Philippines, APASA decided to make the event two-fold, giving attendees an opportunity to support the relief effort.

“They need our help, so we’re doing what we can,” Wong said.

Wong said this event was not only a good opportunity to donate, but a great opportunity for students to learn things about other students they may have never known.

“I hope that the UA community takes away a sense of connection with other peoples’ stories,” she said. “But also a desire to build their own stories.”

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