Monday, January 23, 2023

Considering the Lotus


I can’t remember exactly when my younger daughter became enamored with bubble tea. I’m guessing it was during her senior year of high school, but I’m a bit fuzzy on that. It’s continued to be a favorite all through college. While many of her peers head straight for Starbucks, she prefers a milky slushy concoction from one of the local boba emporiums. She’s even gotten everyone in the family to try it. 

Perhaps that’s why a post from the Common Kitchen caught my eye last night.

Have you gotten your Royaltea drink to support @rhhs_project_lotus today? It's not too late! Just mention Project Lotus at checkout and 15% of proceeds will be donated to support this River Hill High School club.

I found rhhs_project_lotus on Instagram.


Project Lotus had its beginnings at River Hill High School in September of 2022. Their Instagram account shows highlights of their activities this year, among them, “testifying in front of the county council in support of bill CB72-2022 proposing an AAPI commission and participating in the schoolwide Hawkflock Festival with a booth offering fun activities such as free calligraphy, games, and snacks.”

In searching for more information about the club I found a different Project Lotus. Their mission appears to be focused on mental health. 

Through educating and empowering today’s Asian-American communities, Project Lotus advances the movement of Asian-Americans blossoming and addressing mental health stigma, shame, and overall perception and care of mental health.

I’d love to know if this Project Lotus inspired the creation of the group at River Hill or if the name is a coincidence. I’ll see what I can find out. Certainly the lotus is a well-known symbol in Chinese culture.

Most of you probably already know what lotuses are, but for those who have only observed them from afar, you might not know that lotuses actually grow in mud. They are also day-blooming flowers, meaning the petals only stay open in the morning and curl back into the muddy water at night. It is for this reason that lotuses have become a symbol for resilience, as their ability to thrive in undesirable conditions parallels how a person may find happiness even amidst darkness. They also symbolize rebirth and unwavering faith, as well as purity of body, mind and spirit.  “The Meaning Behind Lotuses and Why They Are Important to Chinese Culture”, Regina Siy

Most important to me is the mission of these high school students here in Columbia/HoCo: to celebrate and promote awareness of Asian American culture. In a time when anti-Asian sentiment has been on the rise and acts of violence and hate speech increasingly frequent, the world may not feel safe or welcoming to these Asian American adolescents. Clearly they want to do something about that. Their advocacy is a part of a growing movement locally to create positive spaces to celebrate Asian American culture.

To showcase heritage, stand against hate, Howard County plans for an Asian American Pacific Islander Cultural Center, Alissa Zhu, Baltimore Banner

Asian American Pacific Islander population has grown considerably over the last decade, with Asian residents now making up 20% of the county. The largest segments of Howard County’s Asian population identify as Indian, Korean and Chinese, according to a 2020 county report, with Filipinos, Vietnamese, Japanese and other ethnicities also represented.

If you’d like to support RHHS Project Lotus, head on out to Royal Tea today to make a purchase and tell them you’re there to support the club. If you know of more AAPI student identity groups throughout the County, let me know. 

I’ve seen many photos over the weekend from friends who attended the Lunar New Year celebrations welcoming the Year of the Rabbit at the Mall in Columbia Saturday afternoon. We as community members are pretty reliable when it comes to turning out for festival occasions. How good are we on all the other days? Could we be better?

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