APIDA Heritage Month at CSUSB graphic

Cal State San Bernardino is getting a head start on the annual celebration of its Asian, Pacific Islander and South Asian communities with events scheduled in April. The theme for 2024 is “Uplifting Identities: Sharing Our History.”

Nationally, Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) 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 a month early.

Highlights this year will include the opening event on April 10 at the Santos Manuel Student Union South Amphitheater, featuring keynote speaker John Kim, the managing director of client services at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Southern California.

That event, free and open to the public, begins at 11:30 a.m. and will also include performances by Taiko Mix, Anne Zhou Guzheng Player, Kahula Voyage and DJ Sunny Mann.

Also on the calendar are two annual student organization events:

  • The Korean Festival, organized by the Korean Cultural Club, Sanangbang, on April 19 with a p.m., featuring a traditional wedding ceremony with food from 2:30-4 p.m. at the Santos Manuel Student Union North Conference Center (free admission), as well as a dinner reception and performance showcase from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Santos Manuel Student Union South Events Center, $10 per person.
  • The Celebrating of Pilipino Culture Night event, organized by Lubos PASO, on April 21, time and location to be announced.

Also planned is a collaborative celebration with the university’s Arab American community to mark Arab American Heritage Month, which is also in April. That event will take place noon-2 p.m. on May 2 at the Santos Manuel Student Union North Court Patio.

The APIDA Graduation recognition celebration will take place on May 8 from 6-8 p.m. at the Santos Manuel Student Union North Conference Center.

Check the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month calendar for more information and updates on events.

Through the theme, “Uplifting Identities: Sharing Our History,” the university’s APIDA Heritage Month committee seeks to celebrate different identities and histories that make up the unique experiences of the Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American communities.

“Our stories encompass accomplishments, triumphs, hardships, and sacrifices that have been matched with great resilience,” the committee said. “APIDA groups have actively fought to create roots in the United States from fighting citizenship rights, exclusion laws, labor activism, and more. In addition to calling attention to our rich history, we would also like to highlight collaboration, in which our struggles have the potential to keep us united and dismantle exclusivity. We do this by enhancing difficult conversations, highlighting storytelling, and exploring the intersections of our own identities to move better in community.”

Nationally, Asian Pacific Islander Desi Heritage Month is celebrated during the month of May. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. In 1977, Representative Frank Horton of New York introduced House Joint Resolution 540 to proclaim the first ten days in May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week. In 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.