Huntington Library to host symposium on Asian American experience

Its panels are split into three themes: Historical Roots (pre-1965), Shaping the Present (1965–present) and Panel 3: Future Provocations. The topics aim to challenge attendees’ conceptions of Asian history, Asian immigration reform and activist movements and to reflect on anti-Asian racism in light of recent violence. Ultimately, the goal is to plot a path toward an equitable future for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, organizers said.

According to U.S. Census Data, the Asian diaspora composes 61% of the San Gabriel Valley population. The Huntington’s Asian art collection ranges from small Chinese export wares to rare Chinese books and paintings, as well as Japanese ceramics.

AAPI Equity Alliance (formerly, A3PCON) launched the Stop AAPI Hate coalition to respond to incidents of hate, violence, harassment and discrimination. While much of the contemporary violence is linked to COVID-19 conspiracies, Manjusha “Manju” P. Kulkarni, executive director of AAPI Equity Alliance and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, knows that this is nothing new and cited historical scapegoating of the AAPI community, such as the alien land laws of the of the 1920s.

“History is repeating itself, and I wish I could say and be hopeful that these hate incidents and attacks were behind us, but I think they will only continue to be fueled by political rhetoric and policies that seek to blame our communities for these issues,” she said.

Kulkarni added that AAPI nonprofits and mutual aid initiatives continue to work toward engaging community members and advocating for the safety and supportive resources needed to thrive despite the historic hurdles.

“Looking forward, we have seen the hate that our communities have experienced really serve to activate our community members,” she said. “I’ve been really heartened by that. We’ve seen increases in voting numbers … People want to be involved in solution. They want to be civically engaged and have lawmakers address their concerns. And so that’s sort of my hopeful note.”

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