Love all you see, including yourself

Every May, we recognize and commemorate the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the history, culture and achievements within our sisterhood and the world. As Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month comes to a close, we asked our sisters to share their experience as members of the AAPI community and Pi Beta Phi.

Idalias Samson Palmer, Colorado Epsilon

How do you recognize Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and how has your heritage shaped you?  
Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is especially important to me because it is a part of who I am. As a mixed-race individual (Hawaiian, Filipino and Black), I find it so important to honor my heritage year-round, not just during the month that others recognize it. However, the biggest way that I recognize Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is by educating others. I love sharing traditions, beliefs, stories and food with those around me. I hope that my actions encourage them to learn more! One important Hawaiian proverb that I truly keep near and dear to my heart is "Love all you see, including yourself" which was said by Kahuna Nui Hale Kealohalani Makua. I aim to live my life in alignment with this belief!
What do you love most about our sisterhood?
One thing that I truly love about the Pi Beta Phi sisterhood, is the fact that so many of us come from different backgrounds. I have sisters that are very similar to me, and I also have some that are dramatically different — I love it! It allows me to get to learn more about diverse backgrounds every single day.

Do you or your family have any traditions that are especially important to you?
One of my favorite traditions is my family's New Year's celebration! Right before the ball drops, we all eat good luck soup to bring good luck with us into the new year, and we also eat sticky, stretchy mochi because it is believed to represent longevity. I also really enjoy my family's take on Thanksgiving. While you will find traditional food such as turkey and mashed potatoes during our dinner, you will also find items like lumpia (Filipino spring rolls), fried rice, manapua (Hawaiian pork buns), kalua pork, Bandai Bandai (a Filipino dessert with bananas), and so so much more!

Joy Jeong, Ontario Alpha

Why did you join Pi Beta Phi?
I originally went through recruitment to find some new friends after moving to a new city. During recruitment, Pi Phi stood out to me because of the amazing women I met and the leadership opportunities I realized I could have if I joined. I remember after learning about the Chapter Leadership Team, telling myself that I wanted to be Chapter President one day. Being able to fulfill that goal serving as Chapter President in 2021 is so fulfilling. Overall, I joined Pi Phi because of the amazing network of women I met during recruitment and the plethora of opportunities it presented to me.

How has your heritage influenced your membership in Pi Beta Phi?
Being aware of the fact that sororities are historically white organizations, I recognize that members who are part of the BIPOC community can be a rarity. While my chapter is quite diverse, the same cannot be said for every chapter across North America. As members, our actions reflect our chapter and the Fraternity as a whole. Being a member who is a person of colour, has influenced me in the sense that I recognize the impact I have on the way that Pi Phi and fraternity/sorority life can be perceived.

How has your heritage shaped you into the person you are today?
My family immigrated to Canada when I was very young. While I was raised here, my parents still regularly made the effort to honour our Korean heritage. Experiencing these traditions growing up allowed me to garner a deep appreciation and love for my heritage and the history built into it. Understanding this history and my roots has made me proud to be Korean and a member of the AAPI community and gives me the drive to achieve success and make my family in Korea proud.

Published May 24, 2021