Our Names Belong
Koji Sado / Sam Burke
As we close out this year's AAPI Heritage Month, one of Asianati's main sponsors, Procter & Gamble, debuted a short film called "The Name" that launched a national campaign to spread its message of belonging.
The film depicts a Korean American mother’s words of hope and encouragement to her newborn daughter and shows us how a simple act like asking how to pronounce one’s name can make a lifetime of an impact. You can watch the video here and share with your friends and family.
P&G even created a webpage where you can upload your image with a preferred phonetic spelling of your name, so our team decided to create profiles with pronunciation and share the meaning of our names.
My name means "beloved", but wasn't chosen for this reason. My siblings and I all have names that start with "C" and have seven letters so my name happened to fit into this pattern.
My Vietnamese name is Tuyet Nhung and it means velvet snow. It's funny because I was born and raised in Vietnam, a very tropical country that doesn't have snow at all, and I always wondered why.. But then my family unexpectedly moved to Ohio, USA when I was 18...I guess fate really has it all planned out for me.
My name is Vietnamese for "Peaceful" and I think it describes me perfectly!
Jud Phay (JP):
The Chinese character that makes up my last name 梁 is a beautiful glyph to aspire to. Literally an image of rain pouring on a tree, it is strength and resilience in the face of adversity.
The 'ko' character "孝" means care to parents, and this is because I was born on a Sunday when my dad was super busy at work and only had Sundays available to attend the delivery. And because I was born on Sunday, my parents thought I'm considerate to my parents :-). The 'ji' is "二" which is number two because I'm the second son. So my name means "the second son that's kind to his parents". Fun fact, the first person to ever ask my name's meaning was Henry Winkler (actor who played Fonzie from Happy Days) when he spoke at my college.
My Chinese Name is Jing Yang (Jìng Yáng). It should be pronounced as (gin)(young). Jing means talented girl. Yang is my family name and it means poplar tree. Poplar tree grows in tough environment. It represents the characteristic corresponds with the ideals of a Confucian scholar - strong, yet modest and flexible. My first name carries the best wishes that my family gave to me when I was born, and my family name inherit the spirit that has been carried over for thousand years. I love my Chinese name and the meaning behind it.
My Cantonese name, Heng Shan, is translated in English to Persevering Coral. Bao means abalone. I was born in Hong Kong & grew up in the Midwest; feeling connected to my roots and navigating & defining my multiracial identity was challenging for me. I lost my Cantonese fluency when I was young due to a lack of community & ability to practice. For a long period of time, I even forgot how to write my name. While my Cantonese language skills are still not where I would like them to be, my Cantonese name, writing it & sharing it makes me very proud of my family heritage.
My given name when I was born was Meisha (May-shuh). I was told it was given to me to mean 'beautiful flower.' Since adopted, it has become my middle name. Growing up, I was never ashamed of my Chinese name, but I would always have fun making my friends guess it since it wasn't a common middle name in the U.S. I never identified myself personally with that name, but now that I am older I am embracing it more. I feel more pride saying it and have been incorporating it more into my identity.
My name means prestigious and noble in Arabic. My mother originally wanted to name Ahmed, which translates to "highly praised", but my grandfather wanted to give me a more unique name as Ahmed is a very common name worldwide. So, he suggested to name me Wajeeh, and my mother loved it. Funnily enough, I have yet to ever meet or see anyone else named Wajeeh!
Our names are the cornerstone of our identity. But often, bias, indifference, and even unintentional mistakes can make Asian American Pacific Islanders feel like they don't belong.
So let's commit to learning and understanding each others' names, together, to create a more inclusive community for all. #OurNamesBelong