UW-Eau Claire celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

| Denise Olson

From April 29-May 13, the Office of Multicultural Affairs at UW-Eau Claire will present events in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. A wide variety of events will include opportunities to take part in dialogue sessions, Asian American cuisine, a film screening, presentation of student research, a panel discussion and more.

Dang Yang, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, explains some of the historical significance of this month in the U.S., as well as the more immediate context of what it means for this campus to recognize this type of celebration.

"Historically, this month was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese migrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, for which Chinese immigrants played a significant role as laborers," Yang said, further pointing to the fact that those railroad laborers were subjected to racial and wage discrimination along with other forms of bias while they completed this monumental task.

He also emphasized the many and diverse contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders here at UW-Eau Claire, and the need to recognize these and national milestones. This month's lineup provides not only entertainment and education, but also goes more deeply into the important components of identity and intersectionality, and he invites all of campus to take part.

"Our UWEC community is invited to participate in these events because our histories diverge in so many ways. We all learn from each other, and I hope that through the lineup of events and activities we have planned, we all take advantage of this opportunity to learn from each other in solidarity," Yang said.

Both Yang and Charles Vue, OMA associate director, are very pleased with all the work that students put into carefully creating an event calendar that hits on all the essential elements of educating, elevating and providing some fun as well.

One of the students who worked on the event calendar is Mai Nou Lee, a Hmong woman and first-generation student who wanted to show her passion for her community through working on this event. In particular, Lee wanted to bring more focus to the extended community off campus.

"I applied to be the event planner because I wanted to create more collaborative events between the campus and community," Lee said. "I think that students spend their time too focused around issues happening on campus and we forget to reach out to the resources in the community."

Lee also made it her intent to broaden the scope of that community in terms of geography and extended invitations beyond the immediate local community.

"I have contacted many organizations within campus and in the Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley and Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area to participate. I see this celebration as an empowerment for all the AAPI students on campus and everywhere else. I want our culture and identity to live on for future generations. Having a celebration like this is one solution to keep promoting and reminding the younger generation of our heritage, identity and cultural values," Lee explained. 

The events are as follows:

Korean Traditional Drumming Workshop
Monday, April 29, 4-5:30 p.m.
UWEC campus mall

See full detail.

Blugold Dialogue: LGBTQIA+ Within the AAPI Community
Tuesday, April 30, 4-5 p.m.
Centennial Hall 1204

More information.

A Taste of Asian American Cuisine
Wednesday, May 1, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dulany Inn, Davies Center
RVSP required, cost $11.25
Call dining to reserve at 715-836-5261

Chinese Feminist Movement in China
Thursday, May 2, 3-4 p.m.
Schofield Auditorium

More detail.

Movie: "Saving Face"
Monday, May 6, 4-8 p.m.
Woodland Theater, Davies Center

Full description.

Scholar Day
Tuesday, May 7, 3:30-5 p.m.
Dakota and Alumni rooms, Davies Center

UWEC students will share research and projects that highlight different topic interests of Asian American and Pacific Islander culture and temporary issues.

Outdoor Festival
Wednesday, May 8, 4-8 p.m.
Garfield Avenue

Come celebrate the night with a variety of food, music, games, and arts and crafts vendors that feature Asian American and Pacific Islander culture.

Identity Panel Discussion
Thursday, May 9, 4-5 p.m.
Centennial Hall 1204

A panel discussion with UWEC Asian American and Pacific Islander faculty and staff. See full description.

The Asian American Identity in the Midwest
Friday, May 10, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Centennial Hall 1108

A discussion led by Caitlin Lee, an equal opportunity specialist at UW-Eau Claire. More information.

CelebrAsian Banquet
Monday, May 13, 5-8 p.m.
Ojibwe Ballroom C, Davies Center

Join us for a closure celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Details and RSVP