The City of Santa Monica will celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with two virtual community events on May 19 and 20 celebrating the diverse cultures within the AAPI community, highlighting AAPI contributions and exploring the challenges faced by the community during the pandemic. The upcoming events follow the recognition of AAPI Heritage Month by the Santa Monica City Council at its May 11 meeting through a proclamation and video from City of Santa Monica staff who are part of the AAPI community and shared their experiences and dedication to a thriving Santa Monica.

Community members are invited to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month through two events next week:

Community Forum: Wednesday, May 19, from 6-8 p.m.
A virtual community forum titled “Being AAPI in 2021: A Discussion on Identity, Community and the Model Minority Myth” will feature AAPI leaders who will discuss the current and historical challenges faced by the AAPI community and their experiences amid the heightened acts of hate against the community during the pandemic.

Panelists will touch upon topics that include identity and belonging, the AAPI community’s history and contributions locally and nationally, the diversity of the AAPI community, the harm caused by the model minority myth, and the importance of coalition building to advance anti-racism work. Speakers include:

Congressman Ted Lieu will provide special remarks.
Jeff Nguyen, CBS2 / KCAL 9 reporter, will moderate.
Dr. Arlene Daus-Magbual, the Director of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Student Services at San Francisco State University, will speak about AAPI history in the U.S. and AAPI hate.

Hakhamanesh Mortezaie, a staff attorney and Equity and Inclusion Officer for the City of Santa Monica’s Rent Control Board, will focus on AAPI history in Santa Monica.

Christopher S. Tang, Distinguished Professor and the holder of the Edward W. Carter Chair in Business Administration at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, will focus on how the corporate glass ceiling has barred Asian Americans from leadership ranks for decades.

Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions for the panelists during the event.    

Register and learn more at Eventbrite. The forum will be livestreamed on CityTV Channel 16 and the City’s YouTube channel.   

Virtual Celebration: Thursday, May 20, from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

A virtual celebration titled “Honoring AAPI: A Celebration of Cultures” will feature segments from the following AAPI performance artists, magazine creators, and community members celebrating AAPI heritage and cultures:
Japanese drum group Kishin Daiko  
Indian drum group Dholnation 
Filipino-American singer Dasha Dorlandt  
Samoan graphic artist Jason JP Pereira 
Koreatown volunteer group Neighborhood Safety Companions 
Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee 
Hapa Mag (soon to be Mixed Asian Media)
Register at Eventbrite. The event will be livestreamed on CityTV Channel 16 and the City’s YouTube channel.   

Submitted by Constance Farrell