BLOOMINGTON, IN - "Borders and Pathways: Shaping Identity in Modern America" is the theme for Indiana University's 2011 observance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Coordinated by the IU Asian Culture Center, the month will feature a series of events relating to issues facing Asian Pacific Americans, including lectures, roundtable discussions, films and concerts.
This year's popular Taste of Asia event, which features food sampling and entertainment, will include an appeal for victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Melanie Castillo-Cullather, director of the Asian Culture Center, said activities will include offering support for victims of Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which is being called the world's most costly natural disaster.
"Japan has been on our minds since March 11 when the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck the country," she said. "We will be including fundraising opportunities in many of the activities planned for the Asian Pacific American heritage awareness month. We encourage groups on campus and in the community to use any of these programs to make an appeal."
For example, the Japanese Student Association will set up a donation booth in the main lobby of the IU Auditorium at the Taste of Asia event on April 8. Footage of the earthquake and tsunami will be played on television monitors and the event's organizer, the IU Asian American Association, will make announcements about donations throughout the program.
According to the APAHM Committee, the theme of this year's APAHM celebration "explores the fragile frontiers between disparate identities, a space experienced by so many Asian Pacific Americans.
"Borders, real or imagined, political or social, create zones where individuals become both American and Un-American, both visitor and resident. Citizenship forms only a part of one's larger identity. It is this difficult tension between one's heritage and one's current home," the committee said in a statement.
To kick off the month, the Hutton Honors College, 811 E. Seventh St.0, is hosting a forum on immigration and Burmese Refugees, featuring representatives from the Burmese Community Center for Education and Exodus Refugee Immigration as panelists. The program will begin at 4 p.m. on April 4.
APAHM will continue many of its annual traditions, including the annual APAHM Creative Writing Contest, Taste of Asia on April 8, the Annual Recognition Banquet on April 28, and AsianFest at the Farmer's Market on April 30.
In addition, APAHM will hold its first annual Pan-Asian Town Hall Meeting from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on April 9 at the Monroe County Public Library, 303 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Each April, IU commemorates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month a month early in order to increase student participation. It was established as a national observance in May 1978, to commemorate both the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America and the completion of the transcontinental railroad by many Chinese laborers.