Due to the negative connotation related to the word “Desi,” we will now use “Asian Pacific Islander South Asian American Heritage Month” an inclusive term to describe the Asian American community that’s comprised of individuals of East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Central Asian and Pacific Island backgrounds who represent over forty countries and hundreds of languages.
Asian Pacific Islander South Asian American Heritage Month celebrates the rich history, culture, and contributions of the APISAA community. As we acknowledge the historical violence and the increase of violence towards the APISAA community during the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is important to continue to center their voices. In 1978 a Congressional resolution was passed to commemorate Asian American Heritage Week during the first week of May. The week recognized the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (by many Chinese laborers) on May 10, 1869. In 1990 the week was extended to a month to continue to honor and center the various cultures within one community.
Here at NC State, APISAA Heritage Month is held from March 15th – April 15th in order to ensure celebration with our community before the end of the academic school year. This year’s celebration is themed “Consciousness, Solidarity, Liberation.” Focusing on the ways in which we as people can use consciousness and various forms of accountability to lead solidarity and liberation.
In the words of Yuri Kochiyama “…Consciousness is power. Consciousness is education and knowledge. Consciousness is becoming aware. It is the perfect vehicle for students. Consciousness-raising is pertinent for power, and be sure that power will not be abusively used, but used for building trust and goodwill domestically and internationally. Tomorrow’s world is yours to build.”
Solidarity is the state of being in unity and community with mutual support, collectively recognizing and celebrating differences while centering growth and liberation. As members of a multiplexed community, we can work towards solidarity with the APISAA community by challenging the Model Minority Myth, recognizing and addressing anti-Asian sentiment, and erasure of the APISAA experience on NC State Campus.
Liberation can hold different meanings based on a person’s identities and lived experiences. In this space, we hold liberation as a place free of oppression, equitable access to resources, freedom of thought, freedom of self-expression and so much more. As we prepare to travel this journey together please remember, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”- Lilla Watson
If your organization is hosting events for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month and would like to be included in our 2022 calendar, please fill out the form here.
Thank you to the APISAA Student organizations for lending their time and voices in the planning and framing of this year’s celebration.