31 Days of APIDAs: Vivian Giang

In honor of May being Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Pacific Ties and Asian Pacific Coalition (APC) are teaming up to featuring Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Bruins. We’ll be posting one interview per day. If you’d like to share your story, fill out this form here.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Vivian Giang, I’m a third-year Psychology and Gender Studies double major, and I’m the outgoing editor in chief of FEM Newsmagazine.

How do you identify?

I identify as Chinese-American, because that’s really what my parents raised me to see myself as. We’re ethnically Chinese, but we live in the United States.

How has your identity shaped the way you live and view the world?

Growing up, I didn’t think about my identity that much, but I always felt at odds with it. I don’t speak Mandarin or Teochew, the dialect of Chinese that my family speaks, so I never fully identified with the Chinese part of being Chinese-American. At the same time, my mental image of an American was a white person, so I didn’t feel fully American either. I guess reckoning with both parts of my identity has made me live with this kind of unease, and it’s definitely sparked a critical view of how these cultures present and represent themselves.

What are some groups or activities you participate in at UCLA and what challenges have you faced/are facing?

I’m really only part of one group on campus, FEM Newsmagazine. FEM is UCLA’s feminist newsmagazine, and I think our biggest challenge is finding support outside of our organization. We’ve definitely had a struggle with funding and reaching wider audiences. On top of that, I think just understanding feminism is an ongoing challenge, because feminism and other kinds of thought are always evolving, and I’m always learning from it.

What is your most memorable experience at UCLA?

I think it might be joining FEM as a freshman — I didn’t feel comfortable in my skin at all, and I didn’t know anything about the community that I was entering. But it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made in the past few years.
What do you hope to accomplish before graduating? And what do you hope to do after?

I hope to figure out what I want to do with my life! It’s cliche, but I’ve learned so much during the past three years that I’m definitely feeling challenged by this drive to apply everything in the future. After graduation, I’d really like to get a job! I also want to continue the activism that I’ve done and learned about, because it’s made me learn so much and also given me community.

Check out Asian Pacific Coalition’s new website!

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