The Cardinal Chronicle

MEASU Reflects on Its First Year

Alexa Williams

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May 31st marked the end of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: a busy month for the members of Middleton High School’s Middle Eastern Asian Student Union (MEASU). Created this year, MEASU is a relatively new club at MHS. I scheduled interviews with club members Annie Ma, Rupa Ballamudi, and Tyler Tran to acquire insight into the club.  

Annie Ma, the president of MEASU, described the organization as “a student group kind of directed to two things. We work on spreading awareness on Asian and Middle Eastern issues and social justice and that kind of thing, and then we also work on celebrating all of our diverse cultures and educating people about that. Another thing we kind of wanted to do is break down this barrier of the model minority stereotype that Asians are always submissive, they don’t face any oppression, their issues aren’t as big a deal as anyone else’s, or that they’re flat out just not talked about. We wanted to present this idea that ‘Look, Asian people face discrimination, here’s what we want to do about it, and we’re not about to sit and just let it happen. We really want to be more proactive about these issues.”

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month provided an ideal opportunity to accomplish these goals. Throughout May, MEASU organized several events to spread awareness on Middle Eastern and Asian issues.  

On May 23rd, MEASU held a presentation in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) during lunch and advisory on Asian-American LGBT history in America. “That was really fun because we were able to talk about a part of Asian-American/Pacific heritage and Middle Eastern culture that’s not normally talked about,” says Annie Ma. “I think a lot of it is that you hear a lot of talk about the LGBT community and you hear a lot of talk about the Asian community, but you never hear an overlap of the two. Being LGBT in Asia, especially in India, is so taboo, and kind of forbidden,” said Rupa Ballamudi while elaborating on the significance of the presentation. “It’s not something that’s talked about very often, and I think that, through our presentations, we shined a light on a topic that I think a lot of people didn’t even acknowledge existed, so yeah, I think a lot of it was just education and awareness.”

Another way in which MEASU helped spread awareness during May was to place biweekly facts regarding Pacific Asians and Middle Eastern people in U.S. history on the announcements. MEASU also participated in the Culture Fair, which is run by the Student Equity Coalition.

One thing the MEASU club is hoping to do in its next year is to expand upon Middle Eastern issues. Tyler Tran explained, “I felt like a lot of our topics this year were really centered around Asian-American issues, and I feel like sometimes it was like ‘oh, we’re Middle Eastern and Asian student union, but we’re going to do only, like, Asian things, you know? We didn’t really expand on Middle Eastern cultures this year, but we hope to next year.”

 

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MEASU Reflects on Its First Year