From Where We Are

USC Hosts Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration

Event at Founder’s Park showcases AAPI culture to USC community.

USC students celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month. (Photo by Jason Goode)

Earlier today, the USC’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Kickoff Celebration took place at Founder’s Park.

Jeffrey Lee has more on the significance of the event.

Mostly what I wanted to say is congratulations...I just love it when we have these opportunities to talk about each other’s culture. And I love it that people from all cultures love to participate in it.

That was USC President Carol Folt, who spoke earlier today at the at the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Kickoff Celebration.

Amid performances from student groups, guest speakers, and free food, attendants of the event weighed in on why they found the celebration to be so important to them.

Jeffrey Dang is a junior at USC. He found a community through events like the kickoff celebration.

Dang: I’m from Louisiana, so like out of a school of 2000 people, I was maybe like one of only like five Asians there. So like, these events are or the first opportunity my life I’ve had to I connect with my culture and like peers my age from like a similar ethnic background.

Ada Yeh is a USC alum and is also the President of the Asian Pacific Alumni Association. She sees this event as a way to highlight the diversity in the Asian community, both in terms of countries and socio-economic statuses.

Yeh: I think that we tend to not have corporate support in terms of scholarships and funding because the assumption is that Asians are doing fine. There’s a lot of first generation college students, parents that are blue collar workers, hard working non-college backgrounds where the students really don’t get to come to USC or to certain schools of stature or, you know, private schools because they can’t afford it. So I think that if we can get our stories out there and that there’s a general a more real understanding of our community, that other groups would come to the forefront and also support the Asian community.

Going forward, community members like Glenn Osaki, who is a senior advisor for international communications and marketing at the University of Southern California and part of the Asian Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Association, want to further help AAPI students in their work.

Osaki: We want to be mentors and we want to help them in advancing their career and networking and things like that. So we’re starting to work with a parser and a pass to be able to identify those ways that we as adults who have worked in the profession can support our students more.

So this AAPI Heritage Month, keep in mind the incredible diversity that exists in the AAPI community, enjoy any upcoming performances and of course the food, and celebrate with us!