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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA celebrates APIDA Heritage Month

Erika Howlett

AZ AANHPI Students for Equity hosted a painting night in honor of APIDA Heritage Month on Wednesday, April 12. Students were invited to create art inspired by elements of their own culture.

The University of Arizona’s celebration of Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American Heritage Month is underway. Though the national APIDA Heritage Month is in May, the UA honors these communities in April, while students are still on campus. 

The university is commemorating this month with themed merchandise, a curated reading list and several events. Aside from the school’s official celebrations, many student organizations within Asian Pacific American Student Affairs have their own events planned.

AZ AANHPI Students for Equity is an APASA club focused on social justice issues within Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander communities.

On Wednesday, April 12, Students for Equity hosted a painting night in honor of APIDA Heritage Month where members created art inspired by aspects of their culture. Sakshi Karra, a senior studying molecular and cellular biology, is the Students for Equity’s vice president

“This is just a nice, chill night where we can be ourselves, be who we are culturally and share with each other what we find significant within our cultures,” Karra said.

Students for Equity also co-sponsored an Anti-Asian Hate Panel with APASA on Friday, April 14. Panelists Ishani Deo, Kenny Wong, Raini Wijeweera and Jacqueline Barrios, who all work at the UA and support the APASA community in different ways, discussed rising anti-Asian hate in the pandemic era. 

“I think it’s really important to have this discussion because sometimes we’re left out of the conversation,” Karra said. “So SFE wanted to use this as a platform to voice our opinions on what was going on.”

There are still several upcoming on-campus events for APIDA Heritage Month:

April 20: Sustainable Cooking Discussion

Students for Sustainability is hosting a sustainable cooking event at APASA (on the fourth floor of the Student Union Memorial Center) in honor of APIDA Heritage Month at 12 p.m. on April 20. Student leaders will lead a discussion and demonstration about environmentally sustainable cooking, focusing on dishes from different APIDA communities.

April 21 and 25: Heritage Healing Practices Speaker Series

One of the university-sponsored events for APIDA Heritage Month is the Heritage Healing Practices Speaker Series. On April 21, Tamara Venit-Shelton, professor of history at Claremont McKenna College will give a talk on ‘Chinese Herbalism as American Medicine: a History of Chinese Doctors in the United States.’

On April 25, Hong Jin, a professor at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, will give a talk entitled ‘Chinese Medicine: An Ancient and Holistic Medicine.’ Both of these talks are presented by UA Health Sciences and take place at the Health Sciences Innovation Building.

April 28: PAC Mini 520 Night Market

The Pan-Asian Council includes representatives from different APASA clubs, as a way to make connections and inform groups about each others’ events. Clubs like the South Asian Student Association and the Japanese American Student Association and more are joining together for a night market at APASA on April 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. Each organization will bring a drink and packaged food from their culture. 

“It’s more of being able to recognize the different, diverse cultural makeup of the Asian diaspora so that students can see themselves reflected on campus so that they feel a sense of belonging,” said Kenny Importante, the director of APASA.  

April 29: FASA Fiesta

The Filipino American Student Association is hosting their end of the year celebration, FASA Fiesta, on April 29 at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center.

Virginia Javier is FASA’s event coordinator and a junior studying natural resources. Since winter break, she has been putting this event together, which will include over 200 people and last four hours.

“That’s how we close out our year,” Javier said. “We try to end on a high note and show everyone what accomplishments we had this year.”

FASA Fiesta is an annual event that features performances from FASA members, including several traditional Filipino dances. There is also a performance from the event’s headliner, singer AJ Rafael. The theme for this year is celebrating the natural beauty of the Philippines. At the end, students are presented with superlatives and a recap of the year. 

“The bonds that we create in FASA, they can be lifelong,” Javier said. “It’s important to get our voices out there because everyone has something to say.”

More information about APIDA heritage month and an event calendar can be found on APASA’s website and Instagram.

Follow Erika Howlett on Twitter

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