HomeAAPI Heritage MonthUSC gets an jump start on AAPI month celebrations

USC gets an jump start on AAPI month celebrations

The University of Southern California got an early start on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrations in Founders Park on Tuesday.

This April, the school will host a range of different events to honor all of the different AAPI cultures.

Although the heritage month usually takes place in May, USC celebrates in April before their semester ends.

USC provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs opened the event, filling in for USC president Carol Folt.

“First thing I need to get out of the way is you may have noticed that I’m not Carol,” Guzman said. “But she has a pretty good excuse, which was she was up in Portland for the women’s basketball yesterday to watch our amazing women’s basketball team,” USC Annenberg Media reports.

He continued to talk about the importance that such celebrations have on such culturally diverse college campuses, like USC’s.

“More than 24% of our underrates identify as AAPI and our history with AAPI students dates back to our very founding,” he said.

According to the Daily Trojan, the opening event featured performances and food. Whether that be the dragon show, boba booth, or the Hawaiian and Indian food stand aspects of the different AAPI cultures were all around.

“As an Asian American person myself, celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences is really important to me,” freshman Mylie Rodrigo said, per the Daily Trojan. “This is a cool event.”

The event also included various speakers including Nina Yang Bongiovi, a film producer.

While speaking, Bongiovi shared her experiences as a young Asian American who’s family struggled to find housing.

“Looking for an apartment that would accept a mom of four kids wasn’t easy,” Bongiovi told the Daily Trojan.

Eventually a senior citizen’s apartment building took them in because she and her siblings were “well-behaved and really quiet.”

But, Bongiovi said that “that quietness continued.” Whenever her or her family spoke Mandarin in public they were “mocked and ridiculed.”

As she grew older, Bongiovi began to produce films that shares AAPI stories.

“I came to understand that my heritage became my superpower,” she said. “I stand with you today as a proud Asian American producer of film and television.”

Bongiovi’s story was one of the many highlighted at USC’s event that celebrated the trails and tribulations of Asian Americans in the community.

Graduate student, Ini Ishola said “It’s really emotional when people tell their stories.” She continues “It’s nice to see another group of people of color coming together and being expressive.”

The entire day was filled with celebrations. On the stage, the USC Hawaii Club performed a Hawaiian dance and Asli Baat, a South Asian a cappella group, sung. And on the lawns, different student organizations had boots that promoted other AAPI opportunities.

Freshman, Rullan Wu, enjoyed the event, but also had some critiques.

“I think the university is taking a good step forward in promoting DEI- diversity, equity, inclusion in the campus space but I think they could diverge from representing mostly East Asian identities to including more obscure Asian identities that don’t get a lot of representation.”

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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