Every April, I look forward to the terrific Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrations happening on the campuses of Indiana University.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which honors the contributions of people of Asian descent and the history of Asian people in this country, is a great opportunity for the entire IU community to learn more about the diverse cultures across the Asian diaspora and enjoy some wonderful activities and events.
IU celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in April—as opposed to May, when it is recognized nationally—because we want our students, who begin summer break in May, to take part.
Multiple IU campuses have had long-running annual celebrations for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, including: IU South Bend, which marks the 18th year of its Asian Festival; IU Bloomington, which has also celebrated the heritage month since 1999; and IU Northwest, which will celebrate its 11th annual Asia Day this year.
There will be plenty of exciting programming, so with the spring semester winding down and nice weather outside (hopefully), on the behalf of IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA), I invite each and every one of you—students, faculty, staff, and local residents—to participate in at least one event!
- IU South Bend’s Asian Heritage Month Celebration begins with the Asian Festival, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, March 31, at the University Grill in the Administration Building;
- IUPUI is starting its celebration with an Asian Heritage Month Kick-Off, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at the Campus Center Atrium in the Multicultural Center; and
- IU Northwest’s Asia Day—co-sponsored by OVPDEMA, IU Northwest’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, Asian American Students’ Association, School of Business and Economics, Department of Computer Information Systems, and Office of Student Activities—is taking place 12-1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, in the lobby of the Moraine Student Center.
Meanwhile, IU Bloomington’s celebration has an extensive slate of activities, including:
- The Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month opening reception, 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, featuring special guest Popo Fan, a Chinese filmmaker and LGBTQ+ advocate, and a showcase with the paintings, books, digital art, and other work by IU students, faculty, and staff;
- Asia Night, an evening of cultural performances held at Bloomington’s Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30, featuring IU Bloomington’s Chinese Calligraphy Club, Dream Corps, Filipino American Association, Hip Hop ConnXion, HooSher Bhangra, Jhanak, Myanmar Student Association, and Samulnori Korean Percussion Ensemble, and non-IU affiliated groups 40vers, Indy Hula, Jaywalkerz, and Okinawa Yu-Yu-Kai;
- The third annual Indiana Asian American Conference, hosted by IU’s Asian American Association and featuring keynote speaker Renee Tajima-Peña, an Academy Award-nominated film director, professor of Asian American Studies and director of the Center for EthnoCommunications at UCLA, and inaugural filmmaker-in-residence of the International Documentary Association 10:30 a.m.-3:10 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at the Global and International Studies Building’s auditorium;
- The Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Film Series at IU Cinema, beginning with a screening of “Spa Night,” at which director Andrew Ahn will be present, 7 p.m. Monday, April 3, and continuing with “Painted Nails,” 7 p.m. Monday, April 10.
That’s just a sample of the wide array of the events that will be hosted on IU’s campuses so again, I highly encourage you to experience Asian American and Pacific Islander for yourself. I’m delighted to see how many campus partners collaborated in a true spirit of cooperation in order to come up with the fantastic programming that’s being offered.
And while we’re certainly very proud of the effort that’s been put into this year’s celebration, it’s important to remember that honoring the heritage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—and the ethnic heritages of all of our diverse population of students, faculty, and staff at IU—is something we should keep in mind 12 months out of the year.