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The 2023 celebration of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month at Cal State San Bernardino will formally open with the kickoff event “South Asian Stories at Sunset,” 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, at the Santos Manuel Student Union South Fourplex.

Hosted by the SMSU Asian Pacific Islander Center, the free event, to which all are welcome, will feature a Pakistani dinner, breaking fast with those who are observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and will highlight the marginalized histories, stories and struggles of the South Asia diaspora. Space is limited; RSVP at “South Asian Stories at Sunset” by Tuesday, April 4.

The university is getting a head start on the annual celebration of its Asian, Pacific Islander and South Asian communities. Nationally, Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month is celebrated during the month of May, but because the university has a short month in May with finals and commencement, CSUSB starts its celebration in April.

The theme for 2023 is “Rebellion with Love.”

The organizing committee says on its website that for this year, it is “committed to doing the uplifting as well as the disrupting. By disrupting, we aim to push the conversation around inclusivity a bit further perhaps even with the intention to critique what we typically mean by inclusion. For example, while we understand the necessity to hold space for joy and celebration given the hostility of white supremacy in our daily lives, we also recognize the importance of centering discussions that are otherwise left out. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, topics, themes, and events exploring the intersections of APIDA and LGBTQIA+ histories and futures, Hindu nationalism and its impact on Muslim, Sikh, and caste-oppressed communities in India, heightened surveillance of Uighur communities in China, Asian Pacific Islanders and their resistance to settler colonialism, Rohingya refugees and state violence, as well as the many ways APIDA folx experience and resist structural violence.

“In April 2023, we intend to celebrate and confront: celebrate the beauty of our communities and confront the realities of oppression that impact our communities,” the committee said. “We believe these can work together powerfully. We hope you will join us in this effort not only during the month of April but beyond as well.”

Listed on the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month are links to resources and lists of organizations, articles, podcasts and books that encourage exploration of topics that focus on this community.

Events for the month also include:

·       From noon to 1 p.m. also on Wednesday, April 5, the Women’s Resource Center and Asian Pacific Islander Center will host a “Celebration of Asian Women,” which will focus on Asian women who have served as inspirations and hold cultural importance to the APIDA communities’ identities. The program will take place at the SMSU North Conference Center C. RSVP online at Celebration of Asian Women.

·       At 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, the Asian Faculty, Staff and Student Association will host its 23rd annual AFSSA Scholarship Awards and Recognition Ceremony. This event is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the academic achievements of CSUSB students, as well as to honor individuals and student organizations who have made a significant contribution to AFSSA and/or the campus community. The celebration will take place at the SMSU North Conference Center C and D. Space is limited; RSVP online at 2023 Spring AFSSA Scholarship Award and Recognition Ceremony.

·       The Modern China Lecture Series will host two free presentations, both on Zoom, during APIDA Heritage Month.
The first will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 17, when Gina Tam, associate professor of history at Trinity University, presents “Gender and Agency in Hong Kong Activism.”
The second, at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 19, will feature Daniel Mattingly, assistant professor of political science from Yale University, who will present “Chinese State Media and Its Global Audience.”
Both talks can be accessed at

Stay up to date on events during the month by regularly visiting the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month website