Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month will be honored during the month of April through a series of events that students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend. The monthlong celebration was planned by the AAPI Heritage Month Planning Committee, with efforts led by Multicultural Affairs in collaboration with campus departments and student organizations. While celebrated nationally in May, the committee plans the events in April while community members are still on campus together.
This year’s AAPI Heritage Month Kick-Off is scheduled for Friday, April 1, in Schine Student Center from 4 to 6:30 pm AAPI student organizations and campus departments will table from 4 to 5 pm, and a program beginning at 5 pm where attendees can learn about the month’s events, enjoy student performances and have an opportunity to engage with each other. This will be followed by the Anti-Asian Hate Vigil, bringing attention to the Anti-Asian Hate Crime Exhibit displayed in Bird library for the month.
Events continuing throughout the month include an alumni panel discussion, the commemorative lecture with musician and New York Times bestselling author Michelle Zauner, a badminton tournament, K-Night, Mr. ASIA 2022 and many more. The planning committee aimed to include events that represent the diverse needs of the campus community and center on intersectionality, explains AAPI Planning Committee Co-Chair Merci Sugai G’22, a graduate student in the School of Education. “We had students and staff create artwork, podcasts, performances and large-scale events to celebrate AAPI identity,” says Sugai.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Regrounding: Celebrating Our Identity,” which focuses on sharing and celebrating the pride, strength and joy of the AAPI community, especially after a challenging two years in light of the pandemic and rise in anti-Asian hate and bias.
“I hope people take away the joy of celebrating AAPI students, staff and faculty at SU, but also take time to learn about ongoing racism, acts of violence, xenophobia and discrimination impacting the AAPI community and other minority communities in America,” says Sugai . “We can simultaneously express joy in our identities as AAPI individuals while taking time to mourn the lives we’ve lost and the growth we can make on campus and in our local communities.”
One of the month’s signature events is the commemorative lecture with Zauner, taking place on April 7, from 7 to 9 pm in Huntington Beard Crouse Hall, Gifford Auditorium. A meet and greet and book signing will follow.
Zauner is best known as a singer and guitarist who creates dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast. She has won acclaim from major music outlets around the world for releases like Psychopomp (2016) and Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017). Her most recent album of hers, Jubilee (2021), earned two GRAMMY nominations for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album. Her first book, Crying in H Mart, now a New York Times Bestseller, is an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother and forging her own identity. She’s currently adapting her memoir of her for the screen for MGM’s Orion Pictures. Campus community members are invited to join a book club discussion of Crying in H Mart on April 5, from 7 to 8:30 pm
“Michelle Zauner’s life experiences, as she has shared in her memoir, will resonate with many of our students, especially our AAPI students, as she touches upon food, culture, grief and finding pride in one’s own identity,” says AAPI Heritage Month Planning Committee Co-Chair Huey Hsiao, associate director of multicultural affairs and the Kessler Scholars Program.
Visit the full AAPI Heritage Month Calendar for all scheduled events and additional information. Follow AAPI Heritage Month events and updates using the hashtag #CuseAAPIHM.
– Story by Division of the Student Experience communications intern Isabella Podgorski ’22, College of Visual and Performing Arts.