With May being Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, it is important to give AAPI college athletes the recognition they deserve. According to the Pepperdine Graphic, AAPIs only make up 2% of college athletes.
The Asian American & Pacific Islander Athletics Alliance was created in April 2021 to establish a community of representatives of AAPI within college athletics.
The group was co-founded by Patrick Chun, director of athletics at Washington State; Victoria Chun, the Thomas A. Beckett Director of Athletics at Yale University; and Amy Huchthausen, chief operating officer at Stavvy.
Patrick Chun said they decided it was time to create a community and be a resource for AAPI college athletes when anti-Asian hate crimes started surging during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It felt like a good opportunity to create a connecting piece in our industry,” Patrick Chun said. “We want to be inclusive with anyone in sports to serve as a community connector.”
He said there is a new generation and more AAPI rising in college athletics administration and coaching.
“It’s gratifying to see so much representation in and around sports with those participating and working,” Patrick Chun said.
He said it is nice to see society move in a direction in which diversity is more embraced and there are more opportunities for AAPI.
“That’s going to continue to grow and it’s awesome to see and be part of,” he said.
Quan Huynh, a senior kinesiology major at the University of La Verne, said he was the only Asian on the junior varsity swim team in high school.
Huynh said even at La Verne he sometimes feels like he is the only Asian in some of his classes. He said he is glad the AAPI Athletics Alliance was created as a community for students and athletes in college.
“They deserve the recognition just as any others do,” Huynh said.
Jeffrey Yang, a resident of Arcadia, said he has been running daily to stay healthy and also to train for marathons. He considers himself a marathon enthusiast now but did not play sports in college.
“It’s important to have organizations like the AAPI Athletics Alliance because diversity and inclusion are important,” Yang said.
He said Asians are not well known in the sports industry but organizations like these will help represent them the way they should be.
“We’re good at sports too,” Yang said. “It’s nice that the colleges are trying to include us more.”
Daniel Liu, a junior communications major, said he does not play sports at ULV but did play soccer in high school. He said there were not many Asians on his soccer team.
“Culturally Asian parents want their kids to be successful academically instead of in sports,” Liu said.
He said he watches American soccer but does not see a lot of Asians playing on the teams. Liu said there are students from Japan that he knows at ULV and they watch baseball, rooting for Shohei Ohtani, the pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels who is of Japanese descent.
Justin Woo, a resident of Alhambra, said for him every day and every month is a celebration of Asian history, background and culture.
Woo said he was on the track team when he was in college.
“There was only one other Asian on the team,” Woo said. “There weren’t many Asians at my school in general.”
He said he watches football, basketball and baseball. He said he does see a lot of Japanese athletes in MLB, but it is a low percentage compared to others.
“I feel like we are under-represented,” Woo said.
He said they need more representation, especially for kids who watch sports.
“They can have role models and say, ‘Hey that person looks like me and is good at sports, maybe I can do that,’” Woo said.
For more information or to get involved with the AAPI Athletics Alliance, email email@example.com.
The Athletics Alliance stands against discrimination and violence. On the 4aapi.com home page, people can find anti-racism resources to support the AAPI.
Amy Alcantara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy Alcantara, a junior communications major with and emphasis in public relations, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.