US universities kick off AAPI Heritage Month celebrations

US universities kick off AAPI Heritage Month celebrations
via Fran on Unsplash
Michelle De Pacina
17 days ago
U.S. universities and colleges are celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month during April with an array of events that acknowledge the history and challenges of the diverse community. 
Key points:
  • Educational institutions across America, including the University of Southern California (USC), Fresno City College, Syracuse University (SU) and Yale University, are inviting guest speakers and holding numerous activities that celebrate the AAPI communities’ food, music and dance. 
  • Although AAPI Heritage Month, federally designated in 1992, is nationally observed in May, universities are celebrating it this month before students leave for summer break. The designation recognizes the contributions and influence of AAPIs and celebrates their culture and achievements.
The details:
  • Roughly 1,000 attendees gathered at USC’s kickoff celebration on Tuesday that boasted Chinese lion dancers and featured speakers, such as film producer Nina Yang Bongiovi, who is known for producing “Fruitvale Station” and “Songs My Brother Taught Me.”
  • The event, themed “Hand in Hand,” emphasized solidarity within the AAPI community despite its diverse backgrounds. Speakers discussed historical challenges, such as discriminatory laws and Japanese American exclusion during World War II, emphasizing the importance of unity.
  • At Yale University, more than 300 students got to hear from “Past Lives” director Celine Song, who highlighted the challenges of creating a bilingual film in the industry and the inspiration behind her work, followed by a performance from Yale’s traditional Korean drum and dance troupe.
  • Fresno City College and SU are set to kick off their AAPI Heritage Month this week with an array of events and performances by students and followed with keynote addresses scheduled all throughout April. 
  • SU is hosting a discussion with actress Sherry Cola and journalist Sandhya Bathija. Fresno City College will host author and journalist Jose Antonio Vargas and filmmakers Josh Chuck and Mike Siv. 
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