Growing Up Asian in America 2023: Art, Essay, and Video Contest

Bay Area kids in grades K-12 can enter this contest from March 1-15 for a chance to win

CAAM is excited to partner with AACI for the annual Growing Up Asian in America (GUAA) youth art, essay, and video contest. In partnership with NBC Bay Area, GUAA gives a unique platform for young people to creatively explore and celebrate their cultural identity through the lens of civic engagement. Ten students will be selected for a cash award and a chance to appear on NBC Bay Area.

Today, with so many influences coming from friends, family and social media it can be hard to determine your own beliefs, values and opinions or what it really means to be YOU. For this year’s contest, we want to explore what it means to be free to be your true self. This means having a sense of strength and pride in being who you are. For some of us, this could be eating your favorite food that others might not like, being honest in your opinions, having a unique appearance or a non-traditional family. The first step in being free to be you is finding an environment where you feel safe to do so.

Please reflect and share what “Free To Be Me” means to you and how you can create space for yourself and others to feel safe to be themselves.

Use the questions below to help spark ideas. You do not have to answer any or all of these specific questions.

  • What are some ways you are being your true self?  What makes you special and unique and why?
  • When do you feel safe to be yourself and why?  Who do you feel safe with? How do you help others to feel safe to be themselves?
  • What are important parts of your identity?  How are things like your neighborhood, age, special talents, cultural background, the languages you speak, disabilities, financial background, sexuality, and/or gender identity part of what makes you who you are?
  • When you are your true self, how does that also create a better neighborhood or community?

Online submissions will open on March 1, 2023 and close on March 15, 2023. Winners will be announced on May 1, 2023.

For more details about the contest and how to participate, visit or email We look forward to receiving your submissions!



Hosted by AACI and in partnership with NBC Bay Area, Growing Up Asian in America (GUAA) is an annual art, essay, and video contest that reaches thousands of Bay Area students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Founded 25+ years ago, GUAA encourages young Asian Americans to take pride in their identities and helps others understand the varied experiences of our youth growing up in the Bay Area’s diverse communities.

Founded by Lance Lew of NBC Bay Area in 1995, the contest provides a unique platform for young artists to creatively explore and celebrate being both Asian or Pacific Islander and American. It remains one of the essential celebrations of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Visit to learn more. For questions, please contact AACI at (408) 975-2730 x403 or e-mail

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