Dear UCLA Community.
In all honesty, I had never heard of APIDA Heritage month until this year. When I started seeing social media posts and blogs about people’s stories at the start of May, I began to wonder – why hadn’t I heard of this before? Why is this month not commonly known or celebrated outside of the APIDA community?
APIDA Heritage month is important because it showcases the diversity of experiences and struggles within the community itself. There is not a singular “Asian identity,” and this month gives us the chance to celebrate and educate ourselves about the complex issues that face each subgroup within the Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American community.
One of the issues that is particularly at the forefront in the media today is the increased prevalence of racism and hate crimes targeted against East Asian communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Misinformation about the virus and its origins has led to a marked increase in prejudicial acts and general xenophobia that can add onto already existing anxieties surrounding the pandemic, such as access to healthcare, mental health resources, financial stress, etc.
While APIDA month is a great time to celebrate the multicultural differences and resilience displayed by APIDA communities, it is also important to recognize our shared struggles to form and build cross-community support and solidarity.
Abita, Shayleen, Lorraine