Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month...Resource information

Monday, May 3, 2021

Asian Pacific American Student Development (APASD)
Journalist, feminist, and activist Helen Zia was the keynote speaker at the annual Asian Pacific Islander Issues Conference (APIICON) hosted by Asian Pacific American Student Development. In 1982, the former autoworker brought attention to the brutal killing of Vincent Chin and the need for stronger federal hate legislation - something urgently being called for again today. 

Undergraduate student Cori Kumamoto, Community Advocacy Programming Intern for APASD, has dedicated her research skills to developing a wellness resource by and for AAPI students called the AAPI Mental Wellness Guide 2021

In partnership with the South Asian, Southwest Asian, and North African (SSWANA) Initiative, Bay Area activists and community-based historians Anirvan Chatterjee and Barnali Ghosh (MLA '01) hosted a virtual walking tour for Berkeley students on the rich history of South Asian activism and community-building. Their tour covers more than 100 years of activism on the streets of Berkeley and on our very campus. 

Through the advocacy of the Pacific Islander (PI) Initiative, housed in APASD, and its student interns, UC Berkeley has just changed the way Pacific Islanders are reported. While PI's make up 0.5% of the state population, they make up only 0.2% of our undergraduate student body. Until now they have been counted in the category of "Asian/Pacific Islanders". They are now included in the underrepresented minority (URM) students category. Organizing also brought an important change to the PI initiative staff. Program Manager Angel Halafihi is the first full-time staff member. 

Pacific Islander students at UC Berkeley have been especially resilient through these challenging times with 100% of PI students that transferred in 2018 graduating in 2020. 

The PI Initiative, in partnership with Pacific Islanders at Cal and the Asian American & Pacific Islander Standing Committee, also hosted a screening of "This Is The Way We Rise" and discussion with Dr. Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, a Kanaka Maoli three-time national poetry champion, activist, and assistant professor of Indigenous and Native Hawaiian Politics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa about her efforts to protect Mauna a Wakea. 

The PI Initiative also worked closely with Pacific Islanders at Cal to host the first annual OMAOCH Conference in an effort to build community among Pasifika communities in the Bay Area. This conference was inspired by the stories of youth conferences in the past led by PI student leadership on our campus and many other campuses. 

Asian Pacific American Systemwide Alliance (APASA) 
As part of their ongoing efforts to promote wellness on campus, APASA has held a number of community spaces for staff to process recent events, including the mass killings in Atlanta. In these digital memorial spaces, participants have shared their needs, hopes, and wishes for and from their community. 

The Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian (MENASA) staff organization was established in August 2020 to provide employees a space to support one another, create avenues for professional development, and provide opportunities to educate the broader UC Berkeley community. Sign up here to join the MENASA Staff Organization or receive updates. 

Asian American Research Center (AARC)
Last fall the campus celebrated the launch of the research center under the direction of inaugural chair Michael Omi, associate professor of Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies and Ethnic Studies. The event included a talk by Taeku Lee, professor of Political Science and Law, entitled A Defining, Movement-Making Election:  Some Findings on the AAPI Youth Vote in 2020.

Under the executive sponsorship of E&I, the Asian American & Pacific Islander Standing Committee (AAPISC) continues to be an important partner and leader on campus, working to address the needs of AA and PI undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty.  One of its recommendations is that xenophobia training be a mandated part of all anti-racist and diversity, equity & inclusion modules. AAPISC is finalizing a briefing that, for the first time in 20 years, provides a comprehensive demographic overview of the AAPI campus community.

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