Amplifying AAPI Legacies

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Throughout the centuries, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have crossed continents and oceans, faced racism and hate, and persevered through open bigotry – all to create a thriving home in the United States. Their stories of resilience and their search for belonging inspire each of us to reach just a little higher. 

Today, the more than 24.7 million Asians and Pacific Islanders living in the United States make up one of the most diverse racial groups in the country. Hailing from more than 20 different countries and speaking more than 100 different dialects, AAPI peoples come to the United States with widely diverse heritages. 

This diversity has enriched our communities, and inspired a legacy of excellence for many of our NextHome members. 

Chris Chiang, owner of NextHome Tradition in North Andover, MA, is inspired by his father, who immigrated from China to build a better life. 

Khoa Ha, owner of NextHome Wealth Builders in Garden Grove, CA, immigrated to the United States at eight years old. Khoa overcame poverty and language barriers to build a thriving real estate brokerage where he now helps diverse families discover their own American Dream. 

Sandeep Arora, owner of NextHome Luxury Realty in Lexington, MA, uses his platform as a community leader and business owner to amplify AAPI stories, and advocate for policies that support these communities. 

Throughout May we celebrate Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month as a time to honor the rich and diverse cultures, histories, and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

“Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month holds deep personal significance for me, embodying the essence of the American dream and the journey of my family’s immigrant experience,” said Khoa. “I immigrated to the United States when I was eight years old, stepping into a world where I encountered very few Vietnamese individuals. The journey to adapt was challenging, and I struggled with feeling comfortable speaking English until high school. However, within the vibrant community of Little Saigon in Orange County, California, I found a sense of belonging and support among other Vietnamese immigrants.”

As real estate professionals, the people we serve often buy and sell homes seeking that sense of belonging, community, and economic opportunity. At its core, home buying is about reaching for a better life. By amplifying the experiences of diverse people who reach for more, we all gain a better understanding of the American Dream.   

“The United States of America is the land of opportunity, a place where individuals from diverse backgrounds can strive for a better life and realize their dreams,” Khoa said.

May was chosen for AAPI commemoration in recognition of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States on May 7, 1843, and of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who built this pivotal piece of American infrastructure were Chinese immigrants. 

Both then and now, Chinese American immigrants build a strong legacy for future generations.

“My father immigrated to this country from China to better his life,” said Chris Chiang. “He found that through education and hard work he could achieve the American Dream. He got married, earned a Ph.D in chemistry, and settled with his wife and two kids in a suburban town outside of Boston. At this time, our family was one of a handful of Asians in the community. Growing up as a first-generation Chinese American, I felt my heritage and culture were not recognized by the public. There were no restaurants, churches, schools, clubs, organizations, or supermarkets in the area. To go to these places, one would need to go to Chinatown.”

Today, more than 313,000 AAPI people call Massachusetts home. AAPI resilience and search for belonging have built legacies of dedication, hard work, and education despite the forces of racism and discrimination. 

Asian Americans are the only nationality in American history targeted by specific legislation limiting their entry into the country. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was followed by the Immigration Act of 1924, which limited immigration from any Asian country to 100 people per year. The act remained in effect until its repeal in 1965. 

Despite opposition, AAPI people built thriving communities and continue to tirelessly pursue a better life. 

“Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month means that all immigrants laid a foundation so that all generations after them are recognized and respected as people, so that they can pursue their opportunities and dreams,” Chris said. 

Helping pave the way for AAPI opportunity is a cause that NextHome Luxury Realty owner Sandeep Arora feels strongly about. 

“For me, AAPI Heritage Month represents an opportunity to amplify the voices and stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, to promote understanding and appreciation of their cultures, and to stand in solidarity with them against discrimination and prejudice,” Sandeep said. “It’s a reminder of the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equality in our society, and a call to action to combat racism and injustice in all its forms.”

“In a leadership position, I can advocate for policies and initiatives that support AAPI communities, whether addressing systemic inequalities, promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, or advocating for social justice issues affecting AAPI individuals,” Sandeep added. 

Sandeep echoed many of our AAPI members’ sentiments when he said, “Ultimately, leadership is about leading by example. By actively engaging in initiatives and efforts to support AAPI communities during AAPI Heritage Month and beyond, I can inspire others to do the same, creating a ripple effect of positive change and impact in the community.”

This month, by seeking out AAPI perspectives, and amplifying AAPI stories, we are inspired to reach higher as we strive to help everyone achieve their own version of the American Dream of homeownership. 

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