Island University Celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, April 19-May 6

By Richard Guerrero | Published: April 19, 2021

Island University Celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, April 19-May 6

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi continues to lead according to its guiding principles of equity and inclusion by launching Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The celebration, which will be held April 19 through May 6, will feature a mix of virtual and in-person events. Organizers say although Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is technically celebrated in May, most colleges move the AAPI Heritage Month earlier from mid-April to early May due to conflicts with finals week and commencement.


The schedule begins with the virtual presentation “What is AAPI? An Overview” by Dr. Scott Kurashige, professor and chair of the Department of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies at Texas Christian University and past-president of the American Studies Association, at 11 a.m. April 19. Kurashige will discuss the cultures, peoples, and regions that make up AAPI heritage and history during the talk, which is presented by Academic Affairs. To watch the presentation, go to WebEx and use the access code: overview.   

Among the celebration’s highlights is a forum on anti-Asian racism on April 20, a message-writing campaign on April 26-27, several film screenings, and A Celebration of Culture: Focus on China on May 3. AAPI Heritage Month is hosted by the Division of Student Engagement and Success, with support from Academic Affairs, Bell Library, and the College of Liberal Arts. While all events are free, some require pre-registration. For a full list of AAPI offerings on campus, go to https://aapi.tamucc.edu/.

Susan La Torre, Campus Activities Board advisor and co-chair of the AAPIHM committee, said the kickoff event, “What is AAPI? An Overview,” will serve as an educational primer for three solid weeks of events.

“Dr. Kurashige will talk about the many cultures that make up AAPI heritage. Our campus community will be able to hear from some of their peers on being a member of the AAPI community and their lived experiences here on campus and beyond,” La Torre said. “I am looking forward to ‘Campus Conversations: A Forum on Anti-Asian Racism’ especially because our TAMU-CC AAPI community has been given a platform for the campus to get to know us and what we individually bring to the campus.”

La Torre said faculty and staff from across campus have stepped up to put together the celebration.

“The planning that has gone into these events has also brought people together that normally might never meet, thus expanding our own support and social networks,” La Torre said.

Rishi Raj, an Educational Leadership doctoral candidate and First-Year Seminar instructor, is presenting “Lunchtime Learn: How British Colonialism Changed South Asia Forever” at noon on Thursday, April 29, via WebEx (Code: aapi21) and Instagram Live. Raj said while violence against the Asian community has been an ugly truth in the United States for a long time, recent media coverage has inspired students and others to speak out on the issue.

“We now have the opportunity to get together and start a critical dialogue about what is happening and how to fix it,” Raj said. “Awareness leads to dialogue, which becomes the first step towards a big change.”

Raj encourages all members of the Islander community to make the most of celebration as a learning opportunity to gain a broader understanding of Asian culture, heritage, food – and especially, history.

“AAPI Month is the beginning of a new tradition at the Island University, so it is our responsibility to ensure that our students learn what we are doing, along with why we are doing this,” Raj said. “To understand that, one must be aware of the historical context because history shows how the issues we are facing today began.” 

AAPI Month joins a growing list of other cultural celebration at TAMU-CC including Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, and Women’s History Month.

Additional Information

More about Asian American Pacific Islander Month:

In 1978, Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution to commemorate Asian American Heritage Week during the first week of May because of two important anniversaries: 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, this week was later expanded into a month-long celebration.