Nazia Rahman sitting on a rock


Embracing Her South Asian Culture

May 8, 2023

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Nazia Rahman, a biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, reflects on her culture, Bangladeshis’ contributions to the United States, and the significance of the month-long celebration.

Growing up, I had a difficult time embracing my South Asian culture. I often felt like I didn’t fit in with my peers and was embarrassed to share aspects of my Bangladeshi identity that made me different. However, as I got older, I began to realize the importance of embracing my cultural heritage and using it as a source of empowerment. By learning more about my culture’s history, traditions, and values, I gained a deeper understanding of myself and my place in the world. I also found strength in connecting with others who shared similar experiences and backgrounds. By embracing and celebrating my culture, I began to feel a sense of empowerment and pride in who I am, which has positively impacted my personal and professional life. I am now part of a South Asian-based sorority as well as a founder and president of the Bengali Students Association (BSA) here at New York Tech.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI), an annual observance that takes place in May in the United States, is a time to celebrate and recognize our contributions, achievements, and history. Bangladeshis are an important part of the AAPI community, and their contributions to American society should be acknowledged during this month. Bangladeshis are one of the fastest-growing Asian ethnic groups in the United States, with a population of more than 200,000. They have made significant contributions to science, technology, medicine, academia, and arts in the United States. Most of you may know Salman “Sal” Amin Khan, an educator and founder of Khan Academy, a free online nonprofit educational platform. He transformed education and impacted millions of people by making education more interactive and accessible so everyone around the world could learn and thrive.

Despite these contributions, Bangladeshi Americans have also faced challenges, such as discrimination, lack of representation in media and politics, and issues related to immigration. Therefore, it is important to recognize and celebrate the diverse contributions of Bangladeshi Americans while advocating for their rights and inclusion in American society. Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an important time to recognize and celebrate the diversity and contributions of AAPI individuals in the United States and acknowledge the challenges and issues they face.