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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

AACI and NBC Bay Area to Host 2019 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration

SAN JOSE, CA – On Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 2 pm, NBC Bay Area will be hosting the annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration where we will celebrate student winners from the 24th annual Growing Up Asian in America contest and honorees of AACI.

The Growing Up Asian in America program celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by giving voice to the varied experiences of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) youth throughout the Bay Area and encouraging this next generation of leaders to take pride in their heritage through creative self-expression.

This year’s theme, “My Contribution to America,” brought in hundreds of entries from K-12th grade Bay Area students. Students submitted art, essays, and videos sharing their personal contribution to our country and the contributions of APIs that came before them. This year’s best in class and honorable mention winners include remarkable students of Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and other ethnic backgrounds. Each best in class winner will have an opportunity to share their thoughts and inspirations about their winning entry.

Bay Area students receiving Best in Class awards for art, writing and video from the 2019 Growing Up Asian in America contest include Olivia Mai (Union City), Creaye Lim (Alameda), Sahana Hariharan (Fremont), Catherine Wu (San Jose), Audrey Shen (Milpitas), Aubrey Ilasco (Benicia), Kayla Lam (San Leandro), Brandon Tran (San Jose), and Becky Tran (San Jose).

Sahana Hariharan, an 8th grader of Indian descent from Fremont, won best in class in the 6-8 category for her winning artwork entry titled, “A Balanced and Healthy Democracy”.

“This year we celebrate the stories and achievements of our young artists and the new beginning with contest host AACI,” said NBC Bay Area’s Lance Lew, co-founder of the contest. “Now more than ever, it is important we look toward our community’s youth to encourage sharing their personal thoughts on what they view as their contribution as an Asian American.”

AACI will honor four Asian Pacific American Community Heroes. These honorees represent the impact and dedication that a diverse Asian Pacific Islander community brings to the Bay Area local community.

Among these honorees is Leena V. Khanzode MD, a board certified psychiatrist dedicated to providing quality, evidence based treatment to help individuals and families overcome difficulties and lead happier, more productive lives into the work force.

She began volunteering at AACI in 2016 as an adult psychiatrist and provides help to the low income and diverse immigrant population that AACI serves which includes many refugees and survivors of torture.

Dr. Khanzode commented, “I was moved by the ‘Survivors of Torture’ and these survivors are unique in their resolve and resilience. As a physician I have learned to not only honor and respect their experience but they have taught me to be empathetic and kind. It continues to be a very fulfilling experience for me and I am very grateful for this opportunity.”

Other honorees are Dr. Stephanie Chao, Channary Bill, and June Tran for their exemplary work in the community in the areas of health, gun control, and community building.

“AACI is honored to celebrate an incredible group of young artists and community leaders. The Growing Up Asian in America contest has provided a platform for numerous students to express themselves and AACI is excited to uphold the legacy pioneered by Asian Pacific Fund and NBC Bay Area” said AACI President and CEO, Sarita Kohli.

NBC Bay Area News anchor Anoushah Rasta will be in attendance as master of ceremonies. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles,

The Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration will take place at NBC Bay Area studios, 2450 North First Street, San Jose, CA 94107.

About AACI

AACI was founded in 1973, and is one of Santa Clara County’s largest community-based organizations advocating for and serving the marginalized and vulnerable ethnic communities. AACI’s mission is to strengthen the hope and resilience of our community members by improving their health, mental health and well-being.