ALBANY, N.Y. (May 6, 2021) – May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which since 1992 is a nationally recognized celebration of the contributions of these two groups to the culture and economy of the United States.
This year’s celebration comes in the wake of an increase in unprovoked attacks against many Americans of Asian heritage. These assaults, which many believe are incited by the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, impelled Congress to pass anti-hate crime legislation to combat violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Experts at the University at Albany are available to discuss the significance of the contributions, dating back before the Civil War, of these groups and the current challenges that face them.
Angie Chung, Professor, departments of Sociology and East Asian Studies
“Asian/ American/ Pacific Islanders come from diverse nationalities, worldviews, and backgrounds. Because of this, AAPI and API have been instrumental as both U.S. citizens, working to make America a better place through education, civic participation and social service, and as global citizens inspiring our country to explore new ideas and approaches.”
“The recent rise in anti-Asian racism has underscored the challenges of overcoming the long historical legacy of American race relations and national exceptionalism that has limited our ability to take advantage of all the contributions immigrants and other Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) have to offer. However, we are confident that with the support of our allies, we can work together toward bringing about needed change.”
Feng (Johnson) Qian, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management
“Asian Americans are the fastest-growing group in the United States. However, Asian Americans have a high prevalence of unhealthy conditions and risk factors such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, smoking, tuberculosis and liver disease. And, unfortunately, Asian Americans have remained underrepresented and understudied in clinical trials and medical studies.”
Susanna Fessler, Professor of Japanese Studies in East Asian Studies
“Japanese literature has a rich and deep history that goes back over a thousand years. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries we have seen exponential growth in translation from the Japanese, bringing works of all the ages to an eager audience. Thanks to this, the previously quiet voice of the Japanese literary world has become audible around the world.”
James Hargett, Professor of Chinese Studies
“Throughout the history of the United States, Asian-Americans — mainly because they physically look different from white people of European heritage — have had a rough time being ‘accepted’ on any level in America. One need only recall the mistreatment and lynching of Chinese laborers who helped build the Trans-Continental Railroad Line, or the Japanese-American citizens who were forced to live in internment prisons during WW II. Anti-Asian racism continues in America today in an especially ugly and form: blaming anyone who “looks Asian” for the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, fear and ignorance are powerful motivators.”
Chun-Yu Ho, Assistant Professor of Economics
“Asian researchers, like American researchers, are often the front-runners in conducting research on their countries of origin because of their personal experience, language skills and cultural understanding. This makes a significant contribution in intellectual outputs.”
About the University at Albany:
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master’s, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, education, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.