The film, the art, the food, the conversations celebrate Asian Pacific American culture

Celebrate Asian Pacific American heritage on campus this April in a variety of ways.

  • Watch a movie about Chinese immigrants in the Deep South.
  • Attend a keynote speech by technology attorney David Liu, an early supporter of the Carolina Asian American Center.
  • Visit a new art gallery at the Carolina Asian American Center.

May is the official month designated nationally to recognize the rich culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. But like many universities, Carolina is moving the holiday to April, when more faculty, staff and students are on campus.

“Programming ranges from a talk by Pacific Islander researcher Dr. Lisa Uperesa about her book, Gridiron Capital: How American Football Became a Samoan Game to a student-led art installation at the Asian American Center,” said Kumarini Silva, Interim Director of The Asian American Center. “All of this shares a small fraction of the breadth and depth of the Asian Pacific American community in the Carolinas and beyond. We hope the wider university community will join us in celebration.”

A complete list of programming is available on the Asian American Center website. Here are some highlights from the event:

Pride Event, 7:00 p.m., April 4, Genomic Sciences Building, Room G010

The event will highlight queer Asian American artists and include a community-building activity and discussion.

Far East, Deep South Screening and Discussion, 5:30 p.m., April 12, Stone Center, Hitchcock Room

The film focuses on Chinese immigrants in the Deep South, revealing how the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 affected the Chiu family for generations. The family learns about the symbiotic relationship between the black and Chinese communities during the Jim Crow era. Sign up for a post-screening Zoom discussion with writer-director Larissa Lam and actor Baldwin Chiu. Pizza will be provided.

Chandler Lecture, Samip Mallick, 7pm 13 April, Hyde Hall

Malik, executive director and co-founder of the South Asian American Digital Archive, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will speak on “The Missing Stories: South Asian American History from 1700 to the Present.” SAADA gives voice to South Asian Americans by documenting, preserving and sharing stories that represent their unique and diverse experiences.

Arts Everywhere Day Gallery Opening, noon-2 p.m. April 14, UNC Asian American Center

The gallery will open with works that artistically reflect a historical event from the 1950s to the present day to create an understandable narrative of Asian American stories and experiences. Please register to help plan food for the event.

APAHM Dinner, 5-8pm April 19, Chase Dining Room

The meal will include grilled pasta, vegan and sweet dishes from Burmese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Malaysian/Singaporean and other origins. The student price is one swipe on the meal plan; other $14.75 + tax.

APAHM Keynote, David Liu, April 21, Genomic Sciences Building, Room G200

A 1995 graduate of Carolina and a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Liu is a veteran Silicon Valley-based general counsel and technology attorney who is vice president of legal affairs, corporate development and partnerships at Sounding Board Inc. He has worked for technology and education companies Clever Inc., Coursera, Essential Products and Google. In 1994, Liu first proposed a campus Asian American Center. Register for the event and reception afterwards.

“Navigating Athletic Labor: American Football and the ‘Polynesian Pipeline'” with Lisa Uperesa, April 26, 6pm via Zoom

Uperesa, a senior lecturer and head of the Pacific Studies Department at Oakland University, is the author of Gridiron Capital: How American Football Became a Samoan Sport. The book describes the cultural, economic, social, and political dynamics of the “Polynesian Pipeline” that brought soccer players from American Samoa to Hawaii and the continental United States to play collegiately and professionally. Uperesa is also co-head of Te Wānanga o Waiapapa, or School of Māori Studies. Zachary Kerr, associate professor in Carolina’s Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, will be the moderator. Register to participate.

Asian Scholars Network Pan-Asian Student Symposium and Conference, April 29, 9:15 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., FedEx Global Education Center

Kim Jones, associate professor of dance at UNC-Charlotte, will deliver the keynote address for this conference of scholars working on topics related to Asia. With strong partnerships across the 16 campuses of the UNC system and North Carolina community colleges, the network welcomes the participation of scholars based in the state. Contact the conference organizer Carolina Asia Center for more information.

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