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May 2023 DEIJ Newsletter

Follow the Office of Equity and Inclusion @drake_deij on Instagram!

Greetings Bulldogs,

Stop what you are doing, and go follow the Drake Asian Student Union on Instagram @asian_student_union. 

This organization was started thanks to the vision and hard work of Drake students Aleeza Ahmar, Serenity Lo, and Khushi Makhija. Let’s celebrate and appreciate them!

While the beginning of May is a time to usher in graduation (and recover from Relays), it also marks the start of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, also known as AAPI.

May was chosen as the time to formally honor and acknowledge this incredibly diverse group of Americans because it is the month that marks the first immigration of Japanese people to the U.S. (1843), as well as the completion of the transcontinental railway, largely built by Chinese immigrants (1869).

Asian American Pacific Islander identities include people whose ancestry can be traced to many different geographic regions—75 different countries—and communities whose cultural expressions are distinct. So, there’s a lot of learning to do if we are to grow awareness of and appreciation for the unique ways members of the Drake community who identify as Asian American shape who we are collectively.

I’ve been enjoying some of the resources that PBS continues to pull together to make these diverse stories and experiences visible, and I highly recommend that you check out this fantastic resource.

And, finally: like so many other communities—other communities of color, queer communities, people whose reproductive freedoms are being constrained—AAPI people in the U.S. are increasingly experiencing being targets of hostility. Hate crimes against Asian American people rose 339 percent between 2020 and 2021, and, in 2022, one out of five AAPI people reported experiencing a hate incident sometime in the prior two years. These realities place a moral question before all of us—including those of us who are not Asian American. How are we living our commitments to one another?

Diversity and inclusion are not realities we get to just claim intellectually. The times we are all living in right now—in our state and in our nation—require each of us to decide who we are going to stand with and how we are going to show our determination to protect the well-being of all. And doing so requires increased courage and determination. I’m grateful to be part of a campus community committed to fully including, celebrating, honoring, and advocating with and for diverse communities, and in doing so, fulfilling our quest that “together we transform lives and strengthen communities.”


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