Press Release: Growing Up Asian in America 2017


Celebrating APA Heritage Month with Growing Up Asian in America Youth Contest Winners
Students Explore Issues They Want Senator Kamala Harris to Address

SAN FRANCISCO (May 1, 2017) — Asian Pacific Fund announced the winners of the 2017 Growing Up Asian in America contest today. The contest is one of the largest youth programs celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the nation, and it has become a meaningful way for young people to explore their unique stories and aspirations. Since its inception in 1995, over 25,000 K-12 Bay Area students have participated in the program. More than half a million dollars has been distributed in cash and prizes to almost 1,000 youth winners and honorable mentions.

This year’s theme, “Letter to the Senator,” brought in more than 500 entries from students of all backgrounds and ethnicities. Submissions included art, essay, poetry and videos that highlighted important issues that Senator Kamala Harris, the first Indian American and second African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, should address. Students voiced their concerns around topics such as the well-being of immigrants and refugees, access to education and language services, racial justice, and environmental protection. They also revealed a heartening perception of the United States in which they saw a country where diversity ties people together, a country at peace with other nations, and a country made of immigrants that welcomes immigrants. Students also sent messages of encouragement to Senator Harris to make a changes for the state and for the country.

“Now more than ever, it’s important to engage students to examine and bring to light the issues that affect them and their communities,” said Audrey Yamamoto, President & Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Fund. “We are honored to provide an avenue for our youth—the leaders of tomorrow—to share their points of view and celebrate their heritage.”

Contest winners will accept their prizes at an awards ceremony at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum on Saturday, May 13.  The awards consist of 18 best-in-class art and essay winners in three grade categories (K-5, 6-8, 9-12), two best-in-class video winners (6-8, 9-12) and 30 honorable mention winners. A poster of the winning entries will also be unveiled at the ceremony, which will be distributed to more than 200 libraries throughout the Bay Area in the month of May to celebrate and commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Winning entries can be viewed at

This year’s recipients include extraordinary young writers and artists who self-identified as having Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Pakistani, Persian and other diverse cultural heritages.

The program is sponsored by CSAA Insurance Group and Sugar Bowl Bakery. Additional partners include NBC Bay Area, Asian Art Museum, Bay Area Libraries, Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), FilAm Star, India Currents, KEST AM 1450 & KSJX AM 1500, Korea Times, KTSF26, Nichi Bei Weekly, Philippine News and World Journal.

About Asian Pacific Fund: The Asian Pacific Fund is a San Francisco-based community foundation dedicated to improving the lives of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the Bay Area. The Fund mobilizes philanthropic giving from donors, supports organizations that serve the most vulnerable and raises awareness about pressing community needs.


Pei-Un Yee