The University Heritage Committee is hosting events for Asian Pacific Heritage Month through May 4, with a virtual display that ends May 31.
The Asian Pacific American Heritage sub-committee’s role is to identify activities and events that students, faculty and staff can participate in, challenging them to rethink certain stereotypes and increase their understanding and awareness.
“The whole goal is to recognize all the contributions Asian Pacific American people have brought to the United States,” said Dr. Hsiao-Ping Wu, associate professor of bilingual/ESL education.
People of Asian Pacific American heritage hail from or trace their ancestry to all of the Asian continent, the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, American Samoa, etc.
The University Library will host a physical and virtual book display exhibiting resources relevant to the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month throughout May.
The resources to be displayed are links to books, articles, Asian American studies and research guides.
A typical heritage month runs throughout the whole month, but the committee doesn’t see it as a limited time frame to host events. Instead, they take it as an opportunity to create awareness while also giving an authentic lived experience to the community.
“We want to sustain and support that this isn’t just in one month,” said Dr. Esther Garza, president’s faculty fellow for diversity, equity, & inclusion. “But that this is ways that we connect throughout the entire year.”
But the committee acknowledges that May is also finals season, the end of the semester and graduation. So the committee works around that by starting earlier, from April 11-May 4 to ensure that students, faculty and staff are included.
The Heritage Committee plans to bring political figures on campus, host an art exhibit, invite an author and academic scholars to talk about their research and their personal experience as Asian Pacific American scholars in the U.S.
Other events that come after graduation will be posted on the Heritage Month’s website and still be promoted, Garza said, who is also an associate professor of bilingual education.
Wu, who also serves in the department of educator and leadership preparation, said that with the committee’s limited time, their goals are to dismantle racism and stop producing the same stereotypes while urging the community to be open-minded and more appreciative of other cultures.
“Culture is multidimensional, multifaceted, dynamic and it’s always changing,” Garza said.