Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration

A celebration of history, culture, traditions and contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islanders. The celebration is recognized every February through March.

Korematsu Day

Friday, January 29, 2021

6:00 - 9:00 p.m
Held virtually via Zoom


Join a panel discussion: 

Margo Schlanger is professor of Law at University of Michigan Law School. Her teaching and writing address civil rights, the constitutional law of equality and incarceration. She is class counsel in Hamama v. Adducci, a nationwide class action resisting the mass detention and deportation of Iraqi nationals. Professor Schlanger will discuss the Korematsu case, and the constitutional issues that are relevant today.

Michael Steinberg is professor of Law at University of Michigan Law School. Prior to joining Michigan Law, he was the Litigation Director at ACLU Michigan. Professor Steinberg will discuss the current state of affairs and political implications including how history could repeat itself.  

Rana Elmir is Deputy Director of ACLU Michigan. Elmir will address the lived experience of people affected by the Muslim Ban.

Mary Kamidoi is a former incarceree who was sent to Rohwer in Arkansas during World War II. She is active with Japanese American Citizens League - Detroit Chapter, and American Citizens for Justice. She will talk about her lived experience during the WWII incarceration.

Ayesha Ghazi, chair of the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, will present the Governor's Proclamation proclaiming January 30 Fred T. Korematsu Day.

Slanted: How an Asian American Took on the Supreme Court

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Held virtually via Zoom


When Simon Tam started an Asian American dance rock band called The Slants, he didn't realize that he was starting an entire movement around freedom of expression and discussions on identity. The band flipped stereotypes with their bombastic live shows and community activism. But when Simon applied to register a trademark on the band's name, the government dragged him all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.

This is the story of an indomitable spirit who so believes in the idea of justice that he's willing to risk everything along the way for the dignity of self-identity. Simon will share a deeply personal account that will take you from anime conventions to the Supreme Court, all in the name of justice. The story provides a raw look at our legal system with unflinching honesty and offers timely insights on freedom of speech, how to connect with others we disagree with, and the power of music. Join us for a fireside chat conversation with Simon, moderated by Insoo Choi, GVSU’s Asian Student Union President.

Asian New Year Festival

Saturday, February 27, 2021

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Held virtually via Zoom


Enjoy a spectacular festival that showcases the traditional Asian New Year celebration. The event highlights the richness and diversity of Asia by featuring a variety of Asian traditional performances including a dragon dance, Chinese martial arts, cultural fashion show and other educational topics.

Conversations with Asian Americans in Michigan: Voices from the Midwest Writers

Friday, March 5, 2021

1:00-2:00 p.m.

Held virtually via Zoom


Moderator - Connie Dang, Senior Inclusion & Equity Officer, Grand Valley State University


  • Sook Wilkinson, Ph.D., Co-Editor of Asian Americans in Michigan; Commissioner, Protect Michigan Commission; Board member, Michigan School of Psychology; Board member, Historical Society of Michigan
  • Joseph Galura, MSW, Lecturer and Advisor, University of Michigan School of Social Work, co-wrote, “A Brief History of Filipino Americans in Michigan”
  • Emily Hsiao, M.P.A./I.D., M.B.A., Head of Agronomic Product Development at Indigo Agriculture, wrote, “Unconscious and Unrecognized”
  • Samir Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Public Policy Associates, Inc., wrote, “Politics Runs in the Family”


The book AsianAmericans in Michigan: Voices from the Midwest has been selected by Bridge Michigan, as “15 anti-racist Michigan books to get you through the holidays and quarantine.” Published in March 2015, editors Sook Wilkinson and Victor Jew have assembled forty-one contributors to give an intimate glimpse into Michigan’s Asian-American perspectives, including first-generation immigrants, those born in the United States, and third- and fourth-generation Americans of Asian heritage. This volume’s vibrant mix of contributors trace their ancestries back to East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan), South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan), and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Hmong). Asian Americans in Michigan makes clear the significant contributions by individuals in many fields—including art, business, education, religion, sports, medicine, and politics—and demonstrates the central role of community organizations in bringing ethnic groups together and preserving memories.

Editor Sook Wilinson and writers Joseph Galura, Emily Hsaio, and Sam Singh will give a brief history around the development of the book, share some highlights of their essay, and connect their experiences as Asian Americans in the current national events and racial equity movement. Then, they will engage in an interactive conversation with the audience. 

R.I.C.E. Conference: Realizing and Addressing Issues in Our Culture and Education

Friday, March 12, 2021

5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Held virtually via Zoom


The conference is free and open to the public. Conference program will be posted here in February; please check back.


Asian Faculty and Staff Association, Asian Student Union, Delta Phi Lambda, East Asian Studies, Division of Inclusion and Equity, Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center, Vietnamese Cultural Association, and Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Events are free and open to the public.  For information on parking or for individuals requiring special accommodations, please contact us at (616)331-2177 or email us at:

Previous Celebrations

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration Contact

Connie Dang
Office of Multicultural Affairs
Grand Valley State University
Phone: (616) 331-2177