Emily Pan is just a junior at San Luis Obispo High School, but she is already shaping her legacy and amplifying voicing that may have been silenced for decades.
Pan is working to expand awareness and showcase Asian American cultures through her website, Central Coast Asian American History.
She started the website back in 2020, “The racial justice movement and also the hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic really inspired me to create this website in order to highlight Asian-American history here.”
Pan worked with Cal Poly professors, the History Center of San Luis Obispo, and local historians to document Asian American history here on the Central Coast.
“A lot of professors at Cal Poly SLO also played a vital role. I'd like to highlight Dr. Grace Yeh and Dr. Dan Krieger, who helped fact check a lot of things on the website and also provide a lot of primary and secondary sources.”
Pan was always awarded grants to help move the project forward, “We were also very fortunate to receive funding through the Heart Warming of America grant sponsored by The Hershey Company, as well as Cal Poly Public Humanities which has allowed us to establish a unique domain and hosting platform.”
During the interview, Emily Pan met KSBY at the “Gandy Dancers” Iron Road Pioneers statue in San Luis Obispo. She described the work many Asian Americans did to shape the Central Coast, including the work Chinese Americans did for the railroads: some of those railroads are still used today.
“Currently, we showcase Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino American history as they were the three more prominent groups from the Gold Rush to World War II.”
Pan says she hopes to bring the curriculum to local schools.
“Hopefully to have other young kids be able to contribute to the website as they get older as well, and really to make community resource that can be updated for many years to come.
The website is available here.