BLOOMINGTON, IN — Indiana University Bloomington’s annual observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM) will take place throughout April with various events, cultural festivals, film screenings, workshops and panel discussions celebrating the achievements of and highlighting issues facing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).
AAPIHM is celebrated nationally in May to recognize the diverse experiences and honor the profound contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The IU Asian Culture Center (ACC), a program of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, with the support of many departments on campus, coordinates and co-hosts their campus celebrations during April to allow IU and community members to engage in activities before the end of the spring semester.
This year, the AAPIHM theme “Radical Revelry and Mobilization: Affirming AAPI Stories and Experiences” offers a unique opportunity to address recent acts of racism and rally community members in hopes of establishing a revitalized sense of solidarity, affirmation and radical celebration. The theme further reflects a commitment to uplift and amplify AAPI stories through a more compassionate lens. Programming throughout the month strives to accomplish the following goals:
- To foster a sense of belonging by recognizing and celebrating the diverse stories and histories of AAPIs on campus and community.
- Promote awareness of the diverse experiences of Asian American and Asian diaspora.
- Resist anti-Asian racism by empowering the community with knowledge so they can be informed allies to the AAPI community.
- Collaborate with minority groups and allies in developing and exploring ways to address issues of anti-Asian racism, myths and stereotypes.
The month-long celebration involves numerous activities and events, including an interactive event about Chai tea, a short film festival at the local Buskirk Chumley theater, a bystander prevention workshop hosted by the Asian Americans Advancing for Justice Chicago, cultural performances and more.
Among other events, the ACC is thrilled to invite Rosalind Chou, the Kathleen Flores Women’s Rugby head coach and Brown University sociology lecturer, as this year’s opening feature speaker. Chou’s talk on the State of Asian America will discuss far-reaching laws and policies impacting Asians in the United States. In addition, this year’s closing speaker is the acclaimed George Takei. While famously known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the original TV series “Star Trek,” he is also a powerful voice in fighting for social justice, LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality.
“Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportunity to learn about and be inspired by the stories, experiences and contributions of people of AAPI heritage,” says Melanie Castillo-Cullather, director of the Asian Culture Center. “It takes a community to put together these educational events and programming efforts. We are especially grateful to the IU Arts and Humanities Council for their generosity which made this month’s AAPI heritage events possible. We invite all students and the larger campus community to join us in celebrating and gaining a greater understanding of the space Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders occupy in our world.”
Castillo-Cullather adds that she hopes the events honoring AAPIHM will promote awareness of the complex experiences of the Asian diaspora and encourage conversations on how to be informed allies to the AAPI community.
A complete listing and descriptions of the 2023 events can be found on the Asian Culture Center website.