Asian and Pacific Islander/American (APIA) Month Begins

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

APIA Heritage Month began last Friday with a workshop on interracial dating—one of many events hosted by SAO that will continue through late April.

The goal, according to SAO president Arthur Chyan, is mainly “to increase awareness about these communities.” For this reason all the events are open, except for one workshop closed to those who identify as APIA.

“We bring a lot of speakers and performers who know how to convey [cultural issues] in a way that everyone can relate to and understand,” said SAO secretary Sara Kim.

The workshop that kicked off the heritage month, led by Carmen Van Kerckhove, embodied this well.

Van Kerckhove works for the firm NewDemographic, which provides a way for people to “learn about race and racism without having to endure the misery of diversity training,” according to its website. She spoke about racial stereotypes in a historical context, in the media, and in the national consciousness using popular examples—OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown, the case of Everett Till, and an episode of “The L Word” where an interracial lesbian couple struggles to find a sperm donor.

The event was co-sponsored by MULTi at the end of their own awareness week, as SAO has worked with many other groups on campus to bring the APIA Heritage Month events to campus, including Vertigo-go, FOTS, Deshi, and SQU.

Events to look forward to in the coming month include a comedy performance by Stir-Friday Night!, I-20’s annual cultural show, and an Asian American alumni panel.

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