March 24, 2016

Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month events set

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in April with special activities and presentations. 

The theme is “Walk Together, Embrace Differences, Build Legacies” and the observance begins with a kick-off event at 5 p.m. on April 4 in the Student Center’s International Lounge. The event will provide an overview of the month and its activities. Refreshments will be served. 

Dante Basco, the actor, writer, poet and producer who came to fame as “Rufio”, leader of the Lost Boys in Steven Spielberg’s movie “Hook,” is the keynote speaker. He will present “From Lost Boy to Fire Lord: Dante Basco’s Life in Hollywood” at 6 p.m. on April 21 in Lawson Hall, Room 151. Basco has starred in numerous other films, including “Take the Lead” with Antonio Banderas, and is the founder of the weekly poetry venue, “Da Poetry Lounge” in Los Angeles. 

Several films and discussions are slated during the month, including “Meet the Patels,” a movie at 7 p.m. on April 11 in the Missouri Room of the Student Center. It’s the story of actor Ravi Patel, 29, and his traditional Hindu parents who are upset that he is single and he agrees, after a breakup with his white girlfriend, to enter the semi-arranged marriage system commonly used by Indian Americans. Afterward, an open discussion about interracial relationships and the ways culture and identity shape lives and love will take place. 

Ka Mei Vivian Chen, a senior accounting student, and the Asian Business Association will host “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling” at 5 p.m. on April 12 in the Student Center’s Illinois Room. It will highlight the workplace stereotypes Asians often encounter, both positive and negative, how the label “model minority” affects Asians, and include real-life illustrations. 

“Fresh Off the Boat: The Asian-American Journey,” will explore the diversity that is within “Asian American” as there are actually many ethnicities, languages, religions and histories represented by the people. The event will explore the stereotypes perpetuated by the media and culture, the diversity that exists and the similar experience the people share because of their racial identity. 

SIU celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander month in recognition of the cultures, accomplishments, struggles, contributions, hopes and dreams of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. It is held in April rather than the traditional month of May to allow an entire month during which the campus and community can enjoy the various events. 

With the exception of a couple of workshops, all of the Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month events are free and open to the public. 

Find the complete schedule of events and additional information online at or call 618/453-3740 to learn more.