The following Heights article by John Wiley mentions ASIAM’s outgoing editor in chief, Lucilla Pan. The original article is here.
On Tuesday, the Asian Caucus awarded Matt Alonzosana and Lucilla Pan, both A&S ’14, with its Corazon and Benigno Aquino scholarship—an honor recognizing Boston College juniors with exceptional achievement in academics and community service to the Asian American community. The two were chosen from a pool of 39 applicants, and were among five finalists recognized at an honorary banquet held for the Aquino scholars.
Founded in 1995 as the Asian-American scholarship, the Aquino scholarship was renamed in 2010 to honor husband and wife Benigno and Corazon Aquino, the Filipino political advocates who together worked to end the rule of Ferdinand Marcos, whose 21-year regime effectively eradicated democracy in the Philippines through corrupt practices and human rights violations.
“Behind this scholarship are two people, two people who set the direction for the country which my ancestors call home,” said scholarship recipient Alonzosana, who served this year as co-president of the Asian Caucus, and will next year assume the role of UGBC executive vice president. “Right now, that country is undergoing an election process which will consolidate the progress of decades past.”
Benigno Aquino was assassinated in 1983 while running in opposition to Marcos, and left behind a long legacy of public opposition to Marcos’ regime. In 1986, Corazon went on to become the first female president of the Philippines after the People Power Revolution restored democracy in the country, ending the rule of Marcos.
“I think one thing we forget is a dictum which Demosthenes gave us two millenniums ago, which was that all speech is vain and useless unless it be accompanied by action,” said Alonzosana of the Philippines, a country in which he served as the Visiting Research Associate at the Ateneo de Manila two summers ago. “Truly I think that is what distinguishes Corazon and Benigno Aquino, because they devoted their lives to contribute to the edifice of greater principles which unite us all.”
Pan, who received this year’s Aquino scholarship alongside Alonzosana, will serve as co-president of the Asian Caucus next year, and has begun writing a comprehensive history of the scholarship as Secretary and Historian of the Asian Caucus this year. She expects to publish it this spring.
“Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to just do things and get involved and taking a chance with me,” said Pan upon receiving the scholarship. “I’m so honored to be here.”
Keynote speakers Grace H. Lee, former First Deputy Treasurer and General Counsel for the Massachusetts State Treasury, and Jason Chou, Executive Director to the Massachusetts Asian American Commission, addressed issues of the Asian American community—particularly through anecdotes of prejudice and adversity in their respective careers—and also discussed the formation and function of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission, a state agency focusing on the welfare of Asian Americans.
“My highlight at the treasury—and it’s about doing what you can in your venue—was working with the state treasurer, with the governor’s office, with the state legislators in passing a commission to advance and protect the rights of Asian Americans in Massachusetts,” Lee said.
“Often enough, people don’t care about any of these issues until it affects us, and we don’t know where to go for assistance,” Chou said of his experience championing Asian American issues in Massachusetts. “That’s why I like to encourage people to be involved before these issues come back to you. That’s what the Commission is really about, to be of preventive care.”
Last year’s recipient of the Aquino scholarship, Krystle Jiang, A&S ’13, also shared remarks on the struggles of Asian Americans in Massachusetts, stressing the importance of engaging in the often uncomfortable conversations about prejudice at BC.
“Racism and sexism and heterosexism and all these negative isms aren’t that blatant all the time, but they still happen at the time, and that’s what’s forcing our parents and our friends to feel like they don’t belong in this country,” Jiang said.
Upon presenting this year’s Aquino Scholarship, University President Rev. William Leahy, S.J., urged an openness in sharing stories of identity at BC.
“As I listen to Grace Lee and Jason Chou and the stories about our finalists and then Krystle Jiang, it occurred to me once again how everybody has a story, and how important it is to know those stories,” Leahy said. “We value those and learn from them, because if we’re going to be a community, that means we’re going to have to have things in common, and it’s that story, that personal history that makes BC so strong.”