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Despite only being a sophomore, Tina Li has years of experience in activism and has received accolades for her hard work.

Tina Li uses her voice to help amplify others

Tina Li entered the social activism scene in 2020, making it clear she has a strong voice and will not be silenced anytime soon.

Li has been amplifying Asian-American voices for many years. Currently a sophomore, watching hate crimes increase following the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted her to take action.

Following the 2021 Atlanta shootings, in which six of the eight victims were women of Asain-American background, Li collaborated with the Asian Pacific American Club (APAC) to form a vigil to honor and mourn the victims of the shooting.

“I realized the impact of my voice, being that I can actually benefit a lot of people—both Asian-Americans and other people–and help them to learn about what’s going on and to support us individually. APAC really helped a lot in supporting me and allowing me to voice my own opinions in the community,” Li said.

After the vigil, Li became the leader of the Massachusetts Asian American Students Political Initiative (MAASPI), a group of Asian-American high school and college students that operate with the goal of increasing the political involvement of Asian-Americans in politics.

“It starts by educating the members of our organization, and answering questions like how do we get involved in politics, what rights do we have and how can we stand up for ourselves in our community? We have to start at a young age so we can begin impacting the future,” Li said.

Beyond this, Li is heavily involved in the student council. Those closest to her admire her, not only for her courage and passion for her work, but for her character. Senior Lilia Burtonpatel, co-president of APAC, has worked closely with Li.

“When you have a conversation with her, there’s an equal split between her sharing about her day and being curious about you, which is really rare to find. She’s a brilliant conversationalist,” Burtonpatel said. “She doesn’t hesitate. It’s so rare to find that in a speaker, and she’s one of the best I know.”

Senior Lily Lockwood, another APAC co-president, is just as impressed by all of the work Li does.

“She’s young; I mean we’re all young, but she started her freshman year right away getting involved. She really just threw herself into everything,” Lockwood said.

Li was recognized by the town of Brookline when she won the 2021 Activist Award for an essay that she submitted to the 2021 Brookline Asain American Family Network student essay competition. She encourages inspired Asain-Americans and allies to join her either in APAC or in MAASPI.

“In MAASPI we organize community events like food drives or webinars to educate people and to have weekly meetings to talk about what’s going on. Like APAC, it is a safe place for Asian-Americans,” Li said.

Those around Li are excited to see what she continues to do for Asian-Americans, both in and outside the Brookline community, by doing what she does best: working her hardest to put others before herself.

“She’s a force to be reckoned with,” Lockwood said. “She’s so unapologetically powerful.”

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