Student-Curated Exhibition Celebrates South Asian American Youth Voices in Connecticut

Featured & Cover Student Curated Exhibition Celebrates South Asian American Youth Voices in Connecticut

The Indian Cultural Center (ICC) of the University of Connecticut’s Asian and Asian American Studies Institute (AAASI) recently presented its second annual student-curated exhibition at the Historical Society Museum Lobby in collaboration with the Greenwich Historical Society.

Entitled ‘My Story Our Future: South Asian American Youth Voices in Connecticut’, the exhibition showcased personal oral family histories and associated artifacts. Mihir Shah, a sophomore at Greenwich High School, shared, “My grandparents lived in India, and they made a lot of sacrifices to be sure my father would have a better life in America,” as reported by Greenwich Time.

Shah and his peers undertook an extensive oral history initiative, conducting interviews with family members and gathering significant items and mementos for display.

The exhibit premiered on February 4, attended by families, community members, and various government officials, as noted by Greenwich Sentinel. It was open to the public from February 13 to February 25.

At the opening reception, ICC founders Nisha Arora, Mudita Bhargava, and Meera Gilbert served as guest speakers. They elucidated the ICC’s mission and activities aimed at fostering cultural education and community engagement. Arora underscored the significant contributions individuals of Indian heritage were making to American society, citing leading roles in major corporations such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Starbucks.

The exhibition sought to gather and share narratives pertaining to the identity of South Asian American youth in Connecticut, aligning with the state’s mandated K-12 Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) curriculum.

During the autumn of 2023, student participants engaged in learning sessions focused on interviewing family members regarding their experiences as immigrants from South Asia to North America. These sessions were conducted under the guidance of faculty from the AAASI at UConn.

Moreover, students deliberated on their own identities as South Asian Americans, reflecting on how their family narratives of life in India and migration to the United States influenced their sense of self. These interviews, central to the ‘My Story Our Future’ initiative, will also inform the development of the K-12 AAPI curriculum, slated for introduction in 2025.

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