Written by: Génesis Ventura
This year’s Student Association (SA) talent show will be different from previous years. In an interview with the Accent, SA Executive Vice President Htet Myint said tickets will now be open for the public to purchase. The proceeds will go to Katelay Adventist Elementary School in Myanmar, formerly called Burma. Htet said SA has collaborated with a mission called Advocates for Southeast Asians and the Persecuted (ASAP).
Myint was made aware of the situation by a pastor friend who recently went back to Myanmar and is currently serving there. Myint’s family is from Myanmar — his mother is from Karen State and his father is from Burma — and were refugees from Myanmar.
“This is my way of doing what I can to help those who are in similar situations like my parents were decades ago,” Myint said. “This position as executive vice president has helped me have a platform to help my country.”
Myint explained that all the proceeds from the talent show will go to Katelay Adventist Elementary School. The fundraising funds will pay for teacher salaries, supplies and for a new motorbike, which is the only way of transportation to the village.
According to Myint, due to civil war and the consequential displacements, there are a lot of families being separated. Many parents are either going to eastern or western borders to cross into Thailand or India.
Myint said many people are not aware of the situation happening in Myanmar.
“I just felt like there wasn’t as much representation or many people talking about what is going on in Burma,” Myint said. “And that lit a fire under me. These are people that I hope to one day serve. For decades, Burma-Myanmar has been going through a genocide — for about the past 70 years. So, my mom’s been through that and my grandparents and my great grandparents as well. Also, some students that I know as well — students who are victims of that genocide.”
According to the ASAP website, ASAP harnesses the power of technology to build the largest community of asylum seekers in the history of the United States. ASAP creates resources that help asylum seekers navigate the legal system, stay up-to-date on critical news and succeed in their cases. ASAP works with members to set advocacy goals and fight for a United States that welcomes asylum seekers, through litigation, press and policy.
ASAP’s mission values state, “The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) believes that asylum seekers can make great change by standing together. We provide our membership of asylum seekers with legal and community support. And we work with our members — over 450,000 asylum seekers — to build a more welcoming United States. ASAP members come from more than 175 countries and live in every U.S. state and territory.”