Speaking Out Against Hate - Queensborough Hosts a Virtual Event, Solidarity Now! Creating Awareness of Anti-Asian Racism

Published: April 25, 2022

This month, the Asian American Faculty and Staff Association (AAFSA), the Asian Heritage Month Committee (AHM), and Student Activities hosted a virtual online seminar, Solidarity Now! Creating Awareness of Anti-Asian Racism.

The event drew more than 150 participants including students, faculty, QCC community, and guest speakers Congresswoman Grace Meng; Ms. Tram Nguyen, Co- Executive Director New Virginia Majority; Dr. Charissa Che, English Department, Queensborough; Jun Ishidoya-Wang, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct of Queensborough. President Mangino introduced the event and welcomed the speakers and panelists.

Panelists were Joyce Moy, Asian American Research Institute (AARI), CUNY; and Professor Vinit Parmar, Brooklyn College Film Department. From Queensborough: Dr. Kathleen Alves, Associate Professor, English, and Professor John Yi, Lecturer of English. Dr. Joanne Chang, Professor in the Department of Music (President of AAFSA) and the Asian Heritage Month Committee, including Chair of the AHM committee, Dr. Meghmala Tarafdar, moderated the question-answer session with Professor Alison Cimino, Lecturer in English and member of the Asian Heritage Month Committee. Additionally, Dr. Trikartikaningsih (Kiki) Byas and Professor Alisa Cercone of the English Department and Asian Heritage Month committee, assisted with the Q&A.

“Our students, who live in the most diverse melting pot in the country, were very engaged and had so much to share on this topic,” said Chang. “They were clearly enthusiastic and eager to be part of an event that brought this issue to people's attention.”

Chang added, “We felt that this event was timely, especially with increasing fear of racial bias and attacks among all of us in the community.”

Featured speaker Congresswoman Meng grew up in the largest Asian community in Queens. She emphasized that education is needed so people understand Asian American history, their challenges, and the micro-aggressions they face.

“As we approach Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI), we must reflect on our successes and our challenges, especially over the last two years as our country has been dealing with this pandemic, and our AAPI community has been dealing with this additional virus of discrimination and bias. Our city has witnessed increased violence against our AAPI community, especially AAPI women.”

Last year, Meng passed on the federal level, her Covid 19 Anti-Hate Bill and said she is thankful for the allyship and solidarity from the Biden Administration and from other communities beyond the AAPI community, many of whom have provided comfort and guidance and showed up at rallies across the nation.

Professor Alison Cimino, Lecturer of English at Queensborough, acted as liaison to Meng’s office. “It was very meaningful to all of us that, despite her demanding schedule, Congresswoman Meng was so generous with her time and answered as many questions as possible. Her participation uplifted the whole event.”

On April 27, Queensborough will celebrate one of its most signature events of the year: the Asian Cultural Heritage Festival, which will be held in hybrid format both at the Student Union and virtually. The celebration will explore the resources that highlight aspects of Asian culture and tradition. Over the years the annual event has included Asian dance, music, food and Asian arts and crafts.

This year, in addition, a special and first celebration of Multilingualism at QCC will include students sharing their multilingual experience and stories living in NYC and studying in English at QCC. It is sponsored by three Departments (English, Foreign Language and Music) and CLIP with 12 faculty members. For more information, please see the Asian Heritage Month website.

The Asian Heritage Month Celebration is co-sponsored by: Creative Writing Club, Mindfulness Club, PTK Club, Students' Health Club, Office of Affirmative Action, Pluralism and Diversity Compliance, Queensborough Student Government, Muslim Student Association, and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). In addition to those mentioned, Ms. Gisela Rivera and Ms. Cha Huang of the Student Activities office, assisted in planning the event as part of the Asian Heritage Month Committee.

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