Heritage month honors Asian, Desi, Pacific Island community

Logos of ADPI student groups

Whether remotely or on-campus, the UO honors and celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month each May, paying tribute to the achievements and contributions that generations of Asian, Desi and Pacific Island Americans have made to the UO, Oregon and the United States.

To more accurately reflect the diversity of the community, the UO refers to the month as Asian, Desi and Pacific Island American Month. “Desi" refers to the people and culture of the Indian subcontinent and South Asia, including Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Throughout the month, festivals, lectures, panel discussions, art exhibits, marketplaces and opportunities for community dialog will be offered in a year with a steep rise in anti-Asian sentiment across the country.

In her essay “ADPI Heritage Month Has a New Sense of Urgency in 2021,” Yvette-Alex Assensoh, vice president for equity and inclusion, notes that “The spike in anti-Asian hate crimes adds a particular sense of urgency to Asian, Desi and Pacific Island American Heritage Month. Recognizing and celebrating the contributions and diversity of ADPI communities is especially important in combating marginalization at all levels of society.”

The Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence, University Counseling Services and Sexual Violence Prevention and Education are offering a space to validate and name the racialized nature of these violent incidences. “Addressing Anti-Asian Violence: ADPI Student Community Dialogue” will take place May 12, from 4 to 5 p.m.

Mariko Lin and Bango Gancinia from University Counseling Services will facilitate the group for any student living in the Eugene/Springfield area that identify within the Asian, Desi and Pacific Islander community.

Student group events started at the end of April, including the Vietnamese Student Association and Kultura Pilipinas Culture Shows, and will continue throughout May. On May 9 at 4:30 p.m. the Asian and Pacific American Student Union will hold a night market. See their Facebook page for further information. The Hui'O Hawai'i Club will hold the 47th Annual Lu'ua: "A Hui Hou/Until We Meet Again," on May 22 via Zoom. More information is available on the club's Instagram page.

The fourth annual Asian Studies Undergraduate Research Event and new Asian Studies Award will be hosted virtually May 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. Current undergraduate students from any major are welcome to present independent research and creative work focused on a topic in the interdisciplinary field of Asian Studies. More information is available on the Asian Studies webpage.

The Center for the Study of Women in Society will present a discussion of the book “The Race Card: From Gaming Technologies to Model” by Tara Fickle, associate professor of English. Her book shows how games and game theory shaped fictions of race.

The virtual event is May 7 from 3 to 5 p.m. Guest panelists include Crystal Parikh, professor of English and social and cultural analysis and director of the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University, and Lynn Fujiwara, UO associate professor of Indigenous, race, and ethnic studies.

A virtual conference about adoption presented by UO Adopted Students United and sponsored by the Division of Equity and Inclusion, Mills International Center, International Business and Economics Club and Holt International, will be held April 30 from noon to 5 p.m. and May 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The conference features keynote speaker Angela Tucker; a film screening of "Geographies of Kinship" and a question-and-answer session with filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem; and student-led workshops and panels.

The conference is offered in conjunction with Gustavus Adolphus College, Lewis & Clark College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Western Washington University. Register online.

The UO Coalition Against Environmental Racism will offer its 26th annual spring conference with the theme “Environmental Racism by Design.” The conference will address how the processes, industries and built environments of design have led to racism and present innovative solutions to combat those societal problems.

A 3D virtual art exhibition will also be on view. The conference is May 21 from noon to 3:30 p.m. and May 22 from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. For more information see the website.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art offers an array of Asian, Desi and Pacific Islander exhibits and is offering a virtual tour of “Myriad Treasure” to celebrate the reinstallation in the Soreng Gallery. The gallery features works spanning four millennia of Chinese history.

Alex-Assensoh writes that despite “our backdrop,” Asian, Desi and Pacific Islander Heritage Month can be a time for hope and engagement.

“…(I)t’s critical that we use this month to highlight the broad experiences of ADPI communities and share visions and stories of hope, as opposed to letting this moment be defined by trauma and white supremacy. ADPI Heritage Month provides a great opportunity to do all of the above and encourage continued engagement throughout the rest of the year.”

For more information on the heritage month, see the Division of Equity and Inclusion website.

—By tova stabin, University Communications