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Embracing Cultural Diversity on Campus; Learning More about APIDA

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As the country continues to grapple with racism, new cultural engagement centers are ramping up on campus.  They’re charting a course toward better understanding of the APIDA community. 

APIDA stands for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American.  The community comprises people of Asian descent, wherever they live today.

“Since the start of the pandemic, there have been  anti-Asian, APIDA sentiments that have escalated to vandalism and now physical violence to murder,” says Nina Ha.  Ha is director of the Asian Cultural Engagement Center that opened at Virginia Tech in August of 2017.

“So, it's just been an escalation that the APIDA community has actually been calling attention to, from the very start. And unfortunately it wasn't a surprise that this occurred."

And just as APIDA itself includes a broad community of people, Ha says, that can sometimes lead to a broader brush with violence when politics and issues collide.

But it’s the groundwork that the Asian Cultural Engagement Center at Virginia Tech and five others there like it have been doing, perhaps behind the scenes, until now.

“I found, the coming together of the community, very heartening. The black lives matter movement in which the APIDA community came together in support. And, acknowledging that targeted groups, that everyone's coming together, realizing, and recognizing that if it happens to one group, it can happen to another group.”

The Asian Cultural Engagement Center is offering virtual programs, events, and discussion groups, especially for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month (APIDAHM) that takes place in April.  One of their programs is a monthly nighttime guided meditation. There will also be a Mini-Symposium featuring APIDAs in Higher Education Leadership coming up on April 16th.

***Editor's Note: Radio IQ is a service of Virginia Tech.