Sean Keohane / Arts Director

Hunter Oberst
News Editor

Keene State College is hosting screenings, readings and lectures in celebration of May as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.

Associate Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity Dr. Dottie Morris said the school is not typically in session during May and they wanted to find a way to honor the faculty, students and citizens in the country of Asian American descent.

“We wanted to do something with the violence against AAPI,” Morris said. “We’ve seen such sharp increase in violence and we want to show solidarity with the AAPI community both in the area and globally.”

Plans for hosting these events came from a faculty and staff meeting in early April of this year, Morris added.

Morris said the rise in hate and violence against the AAPI community “calls upon us to do it in a way we haven’t before.”

“It’s an opportunity to come together and learn what it’s like as someone living with Asian descent in America,” Morris said.

Morris hopes that by hosting these events, first that people attend these events and also that they attend with an open mind to learn and confront stereotypes and misinformation in order to understand more.

“Think about how it will have an impact on your behavior and how you can create a welcoming environment,” Morris said. “Transform what you have learned into a behavioral shift.”

On May 5, 12 and 19, facilitators Jeff Kazin and Kya Roumimper will host readings from “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri. Kya Roumimper, Richard Roumimper and Annie Tran will facilitate a workshop series called The Complicated History of Asian Experiences in the United States on May 13 and 20.

Then, on May 18, Psychology Professor Dr. Jeffrey Scott Mio from California State Polytechnic University will host a lecture titled “Violence Against Asian Americans: How Did We Get Here?” Mio obtained his PhD in clinical psychology from University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on metaphors and their use in political persuasion; multicultural issues, and tools needed to develop allies for marginalized groups. Throughout his career, Mio has been active in six APA Divisions, including Div. 45, Society for the Psychological Study of Culture Ethnicity and Race, for which he served as president. He also served as a chair for various boards within the Asian American Psychological Association and as a past president of the Western Psychological Association Dr. Mio has been the recipient of the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Asian American Psychological Association.

A film screening event is also planned, but the date and time is to be determined.

All events for AAPI Heritage Month will be virtual and accessible via Zoom.


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