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Tar Heels have a wide range of events to choose from to honor Asian Pacific American heritage this April.

Dark blue banner with light blue accents. Yellow lettering in the center reads “Asian & Pacific American Heritage Month.” UNC logo and “Asian American Center” in light blue on bottom right.

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

Celebrate Asian Pacific American heritage on campus during April in different ways.

  • Watch a film about Chinese immigrants in the deep South.
  • Attend a keynote address by technology lawyer David Liu, an early proponent of Carolina’s Asian American Center.
  • Visit a new art gallery at Carolina’s Asian American Center.

“The programming ranges from a talk by Pacific Islander studies scholar Dr. Lisa Uperesa on her book, ‘Gridiron Capital: How American Football Became a Samoan Game,’ to a student-driven art installation at the Asian American Center,” said Kumarini Silva, interim director of the Asian American Center. “It all shares a small slice of the breadth and depth of the Asian Pacific American community at Carolina and beyond. We hope that the broader university community will join us in celebration.”

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

“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 Southern Black and Chinese communities during the Jim Crow era. Register for the event, which will include a post-screening Zoom discussion with writer and director Larissa Lam and actor Baldwin Chiu. Pizza will be provided.

Chandler Lecture, Samip Mallick, 7 p.m. April 13, Hyde Hall

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

Arts Everywhere Day Gallery Opening, 12-2 p.m. April 14, UNC Asian American Center

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

APAHM Dinner, 5-8 p.m. April 19, Chase Dining Hall

The meal will feature pasta, grilled, vegan and sweet dishes of Burmese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Malaysian/Singaporean and other origins. Cost for students is one meal plan swipe; others $14.75 + tax.

APAHM Keynote Speech, David Liu, 5:30 p.m. April 21, Genome Science Building, room G200

A 1995 Carolina graduate and native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Liu is a veteran general counsel and technology lawyer based in Silicon Valley who is vice president of legal, corporate development and partnerships at Sounding Board Inc. He has worked for tech 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 a reception to follow.

“Navigating Athletic Labor: American Football and the ‘Polynesian Pipeline’” with Lisa Uperesa, April 26, 6 p.m. via Zoom

Uperesa, senior lecturer and head of the Pacific studies department at the University of Auckland, is author of “Gridiron Capital: How American Football became a Samoan Sport.” The book charts the cultural, economic, social and political dynamics of the “Polynesian Pipeline” that brings football players from American Samoa to Hawaii and the continental U.S. to play collegiately and professionally. Uperesa is also co-head of Te Wānanga o Waiapapa, the school of Māori and Pacific studies, at the University of Auckland. Zachary Kerr, associate professor in Carolina’s exercise and sport science department, will moderate. Register to participate.

Pan-Asia Graduate Student Symposium and Asia Scholar Network 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 give the keynote address for this conference of scholars working on Asia-related topics. With strong partnerships across the 16 UNC system campuses and North Carolina’s community colleges, the network welcomes participation from scholars based in the state. Register to participate.

By Scott Jared, The Well

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