Celebrating APIDA Heritage Month with Courage and Community 

University of Wisconsin–Madison dedicates the month of April to celebrating and uplifting the identities, histories, and cultures of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) identifying students, faculty, and staff on our campus and across the world for APIDA Heritage Month

For the next several weeks, programming and events that center on the APIDA experience will take place in spaces across campus and we invite you to participate in this meaningful celebration.

APIDA encompasses people indigenous to the many Pacific Islands of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. Many share in the narrative of being immigrants, refugees, and dreamers. 

“Our own history as Asian Americans is much deeper than what your typical textbooks will depict,” says Tev Lee, Program Coordinator at the APIDA Student Center within the Multicultural Student Center, part of Student Affairs, “are not a homogenous group of people; we are connected geographically, and we share similar values and practices. But there are so many different lived experiences as Asian Americans and it’s important that we highlight and speak up about them, and celebrate the unique ways in which we exist as Asian Americans and APIDA — especially here in the Midwest and in Wisconsin.”

The theme for this year’s month-long celebration, Community in Courage, illustrates the bravery needed and gained in the process of fostering and being in community. It also honors the legacy of advocacy and action within APIDA communities at UW–Madison.

“APIDA Heritage Month has its origins in student activism” explains Daniel Sanji, APIDA Heritage Month Chair, cultural programming intern at the APIDA Student Center, and a senior at UW–Madison. “On our campus, APIDA student activists envisioned there being a system of support and belonging for other APIDA-identifying students. Reflecting on our theme, I think it  takes a lot of courage and bravery to find and create community, especially since we have historically struggled to find space here.”

APIDA identifying students may build community in over 30 APIDA-affiliated student organizations at UW–Madison and at the APIDA Student Center, which opened its doors in spring 2019 as a result of dedicated activism from two APIDA students.

Today, the APIDA Student Center offers a holistic approach to supporting and serving APIDA identifying students. With a variety of advising and support services for individual students, groups and student organizations, and programmatic initiatives throughout the year, the Center aims to provide opportunities for community, support, and fun. The APIDA Student Center offers a collaborative gathering space, places for independent study, and a well-stocked APIDA library on the 2nd floor of the Multicultural Student Center

“I think it is beautiful that such different cultural and ethnic groups can unite as one for the very conscious decision to build community, ” Sanji says. “Celebration is both an act of radical self love —something very individual to us. But it’s also fighting for something beyond us as individuals, for the greater good of our community on campus, and in the United States.”

APIDA Heritage Month is brought to you by the APIDA Heritage Month Planning Committee, the APIDA Student Center, and partners across campus. Visit https://www.wisc.edu/APIDAHM for a complete list of events happening this month and follow the APIDA Student Center Instagram or Facebook to stay connected. 

For more information, or if you would like to participate in helping plan APIDA Heritage Month 2023, please contact Tev Lee at tev.lee@wisc.edu

Featured Events:

Courage in CommuniTea — April 6, 7 p.m.

Dive into the theme of this year’s APIDA Heritage Month through open and structured discussions regarding Courage in Community. We will have small group and large group discussion as well as enjoy Kung Fu Tea and Ambers Samosas in the On Wisconsin Room in the Multicultural Student Center from 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

APIDA Heritage Month Art Show — April 16, 6 p.m.

The 2022 APIDA Heritage Month Art Show highlights art created by APIDA-identifying members of the UW–Madison community. Following this year’s theme, “Courage in Community,” the art show is a dual art gallery and magazine launch to display the unique ways artists are intertwined with their community. Featured artists in this event use a variety of mediums to reflect aesthetic, compositional, and thematic choices in their individual pieces that shed light on the diverse APIDA experience. 

APIDA Gala — April 23, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

This will be a formal banquet in celebration of APIDA Heritage Month with social activities, performances, a keynote speaker, and an awards ceremony in the Symphony Room at Gordon Dining and Event Center. Invite your friends and nominate outstanding APIDA students for a Gala Award by Friday, April 15t at 11:59 p.m.! Please indicate your attendance by RSVPing by April 15. 

APIDA Heritage Month Speaker: thuy — April 28, 7 p.m.

Spend an evening with Vietnamese-American artist thuy! The Los Angeles-based artist has released several records and modern R&B stylings amassing over 50 million streams worldwide. Enjoy a musical performance and Q&A session to end the month.