Alumna shares her story to students about ethnic identity


Gabriella Groves

Executive Director of the Asian American Liberation Network Megan Spagio giving her speech at an APIDA Heritage Month event. The event was held online and in person at the Winn Center on Thursday.

The Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi Americans Holistic Achievement (APIDA HAWKS) hosted a keynote speaker event on Thursday celebrating APIDA Heritage Month.

Executive Director of the Asian American Liberation Network Megan Spagio was the keynote speaker. Spagio graduated from Cosumnes River College and said she was proud to be back.

“It started here at CRC, this is the first place where I found a community that challenged me,” Spagio said.

Spagio shared her story at the event and touched on topics such as identity, purpose and vulnerability.

“I want to model what it’s like to be vulnerable,” Spagio said. “It’s not a waste to come here and to find yourself because it does build success as you progress.”

Eighteen-year-old pre-med nursing major Isabel Lyons said Spagio’s speech made her feel more seen.

“She mentioned that she was half-Filipina and I am also half-Filipina,” Lyons said. “That was nice to hear, especially because a lot of people invalidate more mixed people because they don’t think they are enough of either white or a person of color.”

Lyons said having ethnic studies become more prevalent in school is important.

“A lot of people lately have a hard time accepting one another and I think that these classes and discussions are crucial in understanding your identity and how you fit in the world and learning how to accept other people as well.”

Selmir Sejdic, an 18-year-old health science major and student mentor for the APIDA HAWKS program, said he was happy to have Spagio come to campus.

“I found it really great that Megan Spagio came out here on her time to talk about real stuff that happens in the community and how hard it is to be a biracial person in this time,” Sejdic said.

Nineteen-year-old RTVF major and APIDA HAWKS student mentor Lesieli Netane said she was happy with how the event went.

“I thought it was great, the whole reason why I joined the APIDA HAWKS program was to feel more seen on campus and hearing from Megan’s perspective related to my journey as a student and a person from the APIDA background,” Netane said.

Netane said Spagio made everyone feel comfortable and equal when giving the speech.

“She made sure that there wasn’t a hierarchy with authority even though she was the keynote speaker, she made it feel like we were all equal.”

The APIDA HAWKS program will be celebrating APIDA Heritage Month with events throughout the month of April.