Messages to the Community

The Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Honors and Celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month 2021

A message from Melanie Hart, Senior Vice President for Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice and Chief Diversity Officer

The United States Congress originally authorized an Asian Pacific American Heritage week in 1978, which encouraged “all people of the United States, especially the educational community, to observe such week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” Today we question, what are the appropriate ceremonies and activities given our current conditions?

What are the appropriate ceremonies and activities given the tremendous burden under which India’s health system now suffers due to the pandemic and the global impact upon our families? We stand in support of our community members, and share the following resources: students can email and employees can contact the Employee Assistance Program. We also encourage all who would like to get involved to click here.

We ask what are the appropriate ceremonies and activities when there is a surge in anti-Asian violence across the United States? Our university’s response has been to issue public statements (President McBrideEISJ, and Student Success) of condemnation of the violence and the white supremacy that fosters it. The statements were intended to offer solidarity, support, and resources. We also invited all faculty, staff, and students to engage in a dialogue to identify issues, strategies, and tangible next steps for our community to work toward effective change. As a result, there are now five working groups addressing issues of student, staff, and faculty safety, the international student experience, as well as anti-Blackness.

In honoring Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we challenge ourselves to continue the work for equity, inclusion and social justice for the AAPI community, while also celebrating the histories, diversity, and strength of that community. Identity/heritage months leave much to be desired in their broad grouping of diverse identities; and yet we take these months as opportunities to encourage celebrations of cultures, and the reclamation and restoration of identities that have been and continue to be systemically marginalized.

AAPI Heritage Month 2021 Events:

Therefore, in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month 2021, the Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice is proud to partner with faculty, staff and students to present two special events

On Wednesday, May 12, join us for a wide-ranging discussion on global social movement building between Assistant Professor Mia Charlene White and Margo Okazawa-Rey, professor emerita, educator, writer, social justice activist and founding member of the Combahee River Collective.  

On Thursday, May 20, join us for a short-film series event entitled Envisioning Beyond the Silence: Asian American Filmmakers Speak their Truth.” This event will be presented by Creatively Speaking in collaboration with the Institute on Race and Political Economy and the Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice. Associate Professor and Director, Media Management Program, Michelle Materre, will host the event and a panel discussion will follow the screening.

To RSVP and learn more about these events, visit:

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