Cailey De Leon

I am first-generation-Asian American, I am not Chinese. 

Cailey responds:

What are some challenges that you feel students of color might face at CSUF?

I feel that students of color at CSUF may face many challenges especially as an undergrad. Students of color at CSUF may identify as DACA/Dreamers, low-income and/or first generation. Under such identities, students may feel pressured or out of place as they navigate their journey to attain a bachelor’s degree. And sometimes students under these identities can’t seek out advice from their parents because they do not have the experience of having to file FAFSA and undergo the university experience. Lastly, students of color may feel that they are the minority within the campus and may feel that they do not belong here because they may not fit in with other students’ and their attributed income levels.

 If you were to complete the statement “I am not” how would you complete this statement and what is important to you for others to know. 

I am not Chinese. I feel that growing up, I’ve been often asked this question because I grew up in a predominantly Mexican American and African American neighborhood, at the San Fernando Valley. But truly I’m not Chinese and there is this misinterpretation and connotation that all Asians are either Chinese or Japanese. But there’s so much more ethnicities, cultures, and traditions that are out there, and sometimes these individuals aren’t willing to learn and hear more about them.

If you were to complete the statement “I am” how would you complete this statement and what is important for others to know about you?

I am first-generation Asian American. I am the first in my family to attend and attain a
bachelor’s degree, as my parents grew up and were raised back in the Philippines. Being firstgeneration has presented some challenges as I couldn’t really confide to my parents for help.
But despite such, I feel that it has made me stronger as an individual and as a student due to
the mindset of wanting and having to complete the four years.

In your work as Undergraduate Course Assistants, as you’ve reviewed the students work what things you learned from either the research, the narratives or the illustrations? What are you inspired to do as a result?

From the collected research, narratives, and illustrations, I feel that I am more empowered,
driven, and inspired to showcase my own artworks as my own artist and as a minority