Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2013

Examining the Meanings of Home

Press Release: Indiana University kicks off Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Cultural festivals, documentary film screenings and panel discussions are among the highlights for Indiana University's annual observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Last year's Holi celebration was a highlight of Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month. This year's event will begin at 4 p.m. on March 27 at Collins Living-Learning Center.

This year's celebration, "Examining the Meanings of Home," coordinated by the IU Asian Culture Center, will feature a series of events relating to issues facing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month (formerly Asian Pacific American Heritage Month) is celebrated nationally in May to recognize the history and diverse cultures, and honor the contributions of Asians and Pacific-Islanders in the United States. The Asian Culture Center of IU celebrates during the month of April to accommodate the academic calendar.

"During this month, we will be creating a dialogue on how one defines home, in addition to the ironies inherent in trying to define it. One can feel a sense of belonging through cultural values and identity, but can also feel estrangement and isolation from their home," said Melanie Castillo-Cullather, director of the IU Asian Culture Center. "Join us in our attempts to define the meaning of home and learn about the importance of belonging. Explore the challenges of claiming a home or identity by participating in our activities throughout the month."

The month-long celebration was established as a national observance in May 1978, to commemorate both the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America and the completion of the transcontinental railroad by many Chinese laborers.

The Asian Culture Center will announce the launch of the Joon Park Leadership Experience Fund at an invitation-only reception Tuesday celebrating the opening of the Asian American Pacific Islanders Heritage Month. With the exception of the opening reception, all events are free and open to the public.

Film Screenings

Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words presents a vivid picture of the first Chinese American movie star (1905-1961), and will be screened at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, in the Dogwood Room of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. Produced by Yunah Hong, it depicts Anna May Wong as both an architect and a victim of her times. The film had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival in Korea in October 2010, festival runs in the United States and Asia, and is scheduled to be broadcast on PBS Plus in May during the national observance of Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month. The filmmaker will be in attendance to introduce the film and will be available for a Q&A session after the film showing. The event is being hosted by the IU Asian American Studies Program.

The film Danny in North Korea will be screened at IU Cinema at 4:30 p.m. on April 4, and presented in collaboration with Liberty in North Korea and Oxfam of IU. It follows Danny, one of thousands of North Koreans who make the dangerous journey across the border to escape oppression and poverty. In March of 2005, he left his country in search for his mother who promised to return home once she found food and made money. After five months of waiting, Danny fled into China to find her. As Danny traveled through China, he saw a world he never knew existed. A world where information was not entirely controlled by the government. He had access to world events, and most importantly at the time, food. With this new perspective, Danny wanted a new life. He escaped China in hopes to resettle in the United States, where he arrived in 2007. There will be an informal discussion following the screening.

The documentary Tokyo Ainu will be shown at 5:30 p.m. on April 12 in room 150 of the Student Building. The film focuses on the Ainu, an indigenous people of Japan, who are active in practicing and promoting their traditional cultures in a metropolitan environment away from their traditional homeland. Shedding a common assumption that all Ainu live in Hokkaido, the film captures the feelings, thoughts and aspirations of Ainu people who try to follow the Ainu way of life no matter where they live. A question and answer session on the documentary and more broadly on indigenous Ainu culture and people will be facilitated after the show.


Shu-Mei Chan's Art Exhibit and Reception: Zhua Jin Shijian / Grasp Tight Time, begins at 5 p.m. on April 17 at the IU Asian Culture Center, 807 E. 10th St. Born in Hong Kong and raised in New Jersey, Shu-Mei Chan is a clay-based installation artist who thinks of herself as a gatherer of moments. She has exhibited works in major cities across the United States and abroad. Chan received a master of fine arts degree in ceramics from IU Bloomington in 2008 and has a bachelor of arts degree in studio arts from Wesleyan University. The installation on display is inspired by a Chinese idiom that her mother used to hasten her children on chore days and is in homage to the ever-evasive "Dust Bunny."

Art and Storytelling: Showcasing Representations of Ganesh, Buddha, and Shotoku Taishi, from 4 to 6 p.m. on April 9 at the IU Art Museum, 1133 E. 7th St. This event will feature a viewing of several religious and cultural pieces, followed by storytelling performed by members of the Bloomington Storytellers' Guild at the atrium. A light reception will be served following the program.


On Wednesday, March 27 at 4 p.m., Asian Cultures Around Campus will present Holi Festival, co-sponsored by Collins Living-Learning Center, Dhar India Studies Program, and the Indian Student Association. It will take place in the courtyard of Collins Living-Learning Center and will include a color fight near the end of the program, from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

Holi, one of the most festive holidays in India, is commonly known as a festival of colors, Holi is a day to dance, eat delicious food, and throw colored powder to symbolize the coming of spring and the bringing of good harvests. Holi typically falls on the day after the first full moon in the month of March and is an occasion for celebration and fun.

Southeast Asia Night will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, in Willkie Auditorium, 150 N. Rose St. A collaboration among the Filipino, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, and Vietnamese Student Associations, Southeast Asian Night will exhibit various Southeast Asian cultural heritage to the Bloomington community. It will feature traditional performances and food from the region.

Taste of Asia, the Asian American Association's biggest event of the spring semester, will begin at 5:30 p.m. on April 12 at the IU Auditorium. Highlights include a showcase of cultural and modern Asian American performances from students and local talents in addition to a sampling of Bloomington's finest Asian cuisine.

Asianfest will be from 10 a.m. to noon on April 27 at the Bloomington Farmers Market, 401 N. Morton St., and is co-sponsored by the City of Bloomington's Safe and Civil Program and the Bloomington Farmers' Market. Diversity within Asian cultures will be on display through cultural performances, art crafts, and activities such as chopstick challenge, calligraphy, henna, and many more. Cooking demonstration also will show traditional Asian dishes are prepared. In case of rain, the event will be held indoors at the Showers City Hall Atrium.

A range of other programs is also planned. More information about all 2013 Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month events is available at the Asian Culture Center website.

The sponsors and participating organizations for 2013 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and its events include the Asian American Studies Program, Dhar India Studies Program, IU Student Association, Collins Living-Learning Center, IU Cinema, the IU Art Museum, IU Mathers Museum, Bloomington Farmers Market, City of Bloomington's Safe and Civil Program, Liberty In North Korea, Asian American Association, Asian Graduate Student Association, Filipino Student Association, Indian Student Association, Indonesian Student Association, Malaysian Student Association, Singapore Student Association, Thailand Student Association, Vietnamese Student Association, Oxfam of IU and Los Musicos de Alfanso.