Ambika Muralitharan is a South Asian writer, activist, and high schooler. In this interview, she talks to us about the dynamic between different Asian communities and what she hopes to do in the future.
Tyler: Tell us about yourself!
Ambika: Hi! My name is Ambika and I go to Watching Hills Regional High School as a Junior. Some of the activities I involve myself in are the diversity club at my school, where I am a vice president as well as Azn Activists and Redefy New Jersey, where I write. In addition, I enjoy making sandwiches and committing to many other activities at my school as a way to give back to my community.
Tyler: What are some qualities you like most and least about being Asian-American?
Ambika: One of the qualities I enjoy about being an Asian American is the expectation put on us by society to do good. Although this isn’t something that most people would see as good, I feel like it really helps to motivate me to push myself harder. Another quality that I enjoy about being Asian American, or specifically Indian, is how beautiful South Asian culture is and how I am able to immerse myself in it. Finally, one last pro is that I enjoy and cherish all the Asian American friends that I have been able to make in the community. One con of being an Asian American is all the xenophobia and colorism which we face.
Tyler: How have you and your family reacted to the latest accounts of racially provoked violence?
Ambika: I think that my family has been very supportive of both the Black Lives Matter movement and Stop Asian Hate movement. As a South Asian, I know there is nothing that has really affected us so we have continued to support others in their movements. I think that we have all learned a lot about other cultures and how we all deal with similar struggles in life and seeing everything go down is extremely sad.
Tyler: How do you think that East Asians can create a safe space to uplift and highlight other Asian communities during AAPI month?
Ambika: I feel that there has always been a sense of competition which lies between all Asians, whether East, South East, or South; so by breaking this barrier and finding similarities in each other and by uniting together we can do better. We should all be able to support each other and support each other. For example, the crisis in India is very bad right now, so if other East Asian people can raise awareness, that would make a lot of South Asians more comfortable.
Tyler: In one sentence, describe a societal change you’d like to see in the next decade.
Ambika: Listen, learn and grow.
Tyler: What's next for you, on a personal and professional level?
Ambika: I plan to going onto college where I hope to major in political science which makes a lot of sense for me because I want to help change the world and diversify. I also really want to start working in organizations with more asian activists and maybe interning for some kind of Asian, political youth group, however, this is just a dream of mine.
Tyler: Will advocacy/activism play a role in your future?
Ambika: Both advocacy and activism will play a role in my future. I plan on making it my purpose in life. Bringing this to other fields such as the sports industry, the medical industry and many other fields is what I look to do in the future as well.