USC Celebrates AAPI month in April

The kick-off event took place on Thursday, April 6.

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Thursday, April 6 marked the kick-off event for USC’s observance of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) month with a celebration in Founders Park, which brought out support from students and staff alike. USC observes AAPI month in April instead of May, to avoid the conflicts of finals season and commencement.

To commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad—the majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants— on May 10, 1869, the Congress had chosen the month of May to celebrate and pay tribute to the community.

APIFSA was formed two years ago following the shooting in Atlanta that targeted spas as the rate and an overall rise of Asian American hate crimes. APIFSA provides a safe space with resources for the AAPI faculty and staff on campus.

According to Glenn Osaki, the Senior Advisor to the President of International Communications and Marketing, is one of the staff members from the Asian Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Association (APIFSA) the university celebrating it in the month of April shows its commitment because nationally it’s celebrated in May, said Osaki. “But here at USC, we do it in April to ensure that our students, our staff and faculty have a full month, because with commencement in the middle of the month, we really would lose out on that opportunity.”

More than 24% of undergraduates and 16% of graduates identify as Asian, USC President Carol Folt said at the event. Having events like this increases Asian visibility on campus while celebrating their culture and history.

From various dance performances, Trogons A Capella to a Band Kori performance, this event highlighted unity in the Asian diaspora. The smiles on the faces upon making lanterns and getting free boba represented a community coming together in a day of celebration.

Grace Zhang, a junior, majoring in American studies and ethnicities, attended the event in support of the AAPI community.

“I think it’s important because I feel like a lot of times people don’t recognize just how diverse the diaspora is,” said Zhang. “I think these events are a good space for people to come together and learn about other people’s cultures that they may have not grown up knowing.”

Coming off of USC having 10 former Trojans receiving Oscar nominations and Trojan Ke Huy Quan receiving the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor this event was a celebration of the Trojan family and AAPI achievements and visibility.

Runyi Li, a graduate student majoring in PR and advertising, found the celebration a success as he was happy to see minorities receive recognition.

“No matter what ethnic background you are from, you should be proud of it and who you are,” said Li. “As a part of the API community, I feel like we need more representation.

Li was happy to see Asian Americans represented on a big stage when the film Everything Everywhere All at Once received high praise at the Oscars.

“It’s great timing since Everything Everywhere All at Once just got an Oscar nomination and just won the award, so I think it is a great time to recall to get more people’s attention,” said Li.

APIFSA will continue to have events to honor and celebrate AAPI heritage month throughout April.

Click here to view the scheduled events