Heritage & History Awareness

About national heritage and history observances

National heritage and history observances are designed to broaden our collective understanding of diverse cultural heritages and recognize their invaluable contributions that have and will continue to shape society today. Instituted by the United States government, national observances bring awareness to the histories, contributions, experiences, and legacies of all who identify with these heritages. At SAIC, heritage and history month observances are recognized through a variety of programs and initiatives.

Now is: 

A wide dark purple rectangular banner says "Asian, Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month." A blue, red, and yellow swoosh curves from bottom middle up to the right corner.


About Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAAPI) Heritage Month
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago joins the nationwide observance of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAAPI) Heritage Month. In May and over the course of the year, we honor the long and rich history of AAAPI individuals who are integral members of our community and who shape our collective culture. An umbrella term, AAAPI encompasses a vast diaspora of racial and ethnic communities spanning more than 40 countries that have distinct cultures, customs, religions, languages, histories, and experiences. In our communities, our programs, and our personal lives, we elevate all people who trace their origins to these 40-plus countries and we dedicate ourselves to learning about the contributions, reflecting on the histories, and understanding the experiences of all AAAPI communities.  

Programs that elevate AAAPI individuals and communities take place all-year round. Listed below is a sampling of upcoming dates, programs, and resources related to AAAPI History awareness. Stay tuned, new programs are added to this page and on Engage.saic.edu. If you're aware of other events and would like to promote them, or if you have ideas for events, contact Katrina Valera, Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion at kvaler@saic.edu.

A wide dark purple rectangle banner says "Asian, Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month" on the left. In the center is the title "Events." A blue, red, and yellow petal is on the right corner.


Hong Kong–Style Prom
Saturday, April 23, 4:30–7:00 p.m. CT
MacLean Ballroom

The Chinese Students and Scholars Association welcomes all students to a prom inspired by the disco culture of the ‘80s and ‘90s in Hong Kong. This prom will feature a casino with dice and card games, group games, dancing, and a stage performance. All attendees are encouraged to dress in ‘90s vintage style clothing. This event is an opportunity to build connections and friendship and learn more about the lifestyle and culture of the “Golden Age” of Hong Kong disco. Click here for more information. This event is organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

Access Information: Persons with disabilities requesting additional accommodations should visit saic.edu/access.

Squid Game and AAAPI Celebration
Friday, April 29, 4:30–6:00 p.m. CT
Neiman Center; 1st Floor

In order to celebrate AAAPI Heritage Month, KSA is hosting an SAIC squid game. This event features three gaming stations inspired by the Netflix series, including a dalgona game, squid game, and ddakji-chigi (paper slapping). Winners will receive prizes. This event features a variety of stations to learn and make your own tea. This event is organized by Korean Student Association, Teatime, and South East Asian Community.

Access Information: Persons with disabilities requesting additional accommodations should visit saic.edu/access.

AAAPI Heritage Month Pop-up Library & Info Table
Wednesday, April 27, 11:30–1 p.m. CT
Neiman Center; 2nd Floor

In honor of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, visit our pop-up library and information table. All are invited to browse a curated collection of resources from the John M. Flaxman Library, grab a take-away origami kit, and enjoy a diverse selection of treats. In honor of AAAPI Heritage Month, this event features an array of activities to highlight a sampling of the vast cultures that identify within the AAAPI community. This event is organized by the John M. Flaxman Library, the Heritage Awareness Programs Committee and Multicultural Affairs.

Access Information: Persons with disabilities requesting additional accommodations should visit saic.edu/access.


Asian, Asian American, & Pacific Islander Artists and Scholars at SAIC Series

Wednesday, May 4, 4:20–5:30 p.m. CT
Virtual Event; Click here to access the recording on Panopto.

This series honors the work of artists, designers and scholars within the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities at SAIC. This panel will feature a staff member, a student, and a faculty member whom will each speak about their work and practice. We invite all to attend, and especially invite members of the AAPI Community to witness and celebrate the impact of fellow community members. This event is organized by the SAIC Anti-racism AAAPI Working Group and the office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for Academic Affairs

Access information: CART Provided. Persons with disabilities requesting additional accommodations should visit saic.edu/access. You can also reach out to Dio Aldridge at daldri@artic.edu.


Anjulie Rao Lecturer, AIADO, NAJ
Anjulie Rao is a Chicago-based journalist, editor, and critic who focuses on issues of the built environment, including equitable design, exhibitions, and public spaces. She is also the founder and editor of Weathered, a newsletter publication about cities and places in the wintertime. She teaches various writing courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in the Architecture+Interior Architecture and New Arts Journalism departments. She completed her Masters in New Arts Journalism from SAIC in 2014 and her bylines can be found in the Architects Newspaper, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Curbed, Metropolis, American Craft Magazine, Chicago Magazine, The Architectural Review, and more.

Isabel Garcia-Gonzales Associate Director of Faculty Data and Review, Academic Affairs
Isabel Garcia-Gonzales is a writer, artist, educator, facilitator, and fledgling comics maker. She has received fellowships, residencies, and awards for her writing, including support from Hedgebrook, VONA/Voices, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including Nonwhite and Woman: 131 Microessays on Being in the World; Kuwento: Lost Things, An Anthology of New Philippine Myths; and Riksha: Asian American Arts in Action. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College and is a core organizer of Banyan: Asian American Writers Collective. Her artistic practice is strongly rooted in her community work and explores themes such as diaspora, decolonization, lineage, and accessibility. More at isabelgarciagonzales.com.

Jason Luo, '22 BFA '22
Jason Luo is a filmmaker that focuses on cinematography and editing. He makes films that provoke the audience to think about the subject matter, and explore the deep characteristics of human nature. After many years of learning, whether by himself or with various academic courses and professional training, he has formed a strong foundation for the holistic process of filmmaking. He is also a very futuristic person, using the tools and technology we have right now to imagine how the future may unfold.


A wide dark purple rectangle banner says "Asian, Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month" on the left. In the center is the title "Resources." A blue, red, and yellow hourglass shape is on the right corner.


Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Pop-up Library

Curated by members of the SAIC community and John M. Flaxman Library librarians, this virtual pop-up library features a non-exhaustive list to help folks learn, explore, and celebrate AAAPI history, resources, and creators. Are there resources you would like to see included? We welcome you to email flaxman@saic.edu to suggest additions. Click here to view the virtual pop-up library, and stop by the library from April 18 to May 13 to browse and borrow from our in-person book display.

Multicultural Affairs Learn and Unlearn Resource Guide

Multicultural Affairs created the Learn and Unlearn Series and Resource Guide to support the ongoing process of self-awareness, understanding, and dismantling of racialized oppression. The Learn and Unlearn Resource Guide features a number of topic-based lessons and a sample of videos, a reading list, and a collection of links. Click here to view the lesson about the often overlooked history of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. The notable spike in anti-Asian sentiment in 2021 is preceded by a long history, but by increasing our awareness we are better equipped to disrupt the growth of anti-Asian sentiment and build a more equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist community.


Fall 2021:
September 15 - October 15 - Latinx/e/a/o Heritage month
October - LGBTQIA+ History month
October 10 - Indigenous Peoples’ Day
November - Native American Heritage month

Winter 2021-2022:
January 17 - Dr. MLK Jr. Day of Service

Spring 2022:
February - Black Heritage month
March - Women’s History month
March 31 - Trans Day of Visibility
April - May - Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islands Heritage month
May 5 - Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness

Summer 2022:
May - Jewish American Heritage month
June - Pride month
June 19 - Juneteenth

Note: This calendar is not exhaustive and may be altered. If you are aware of any events that are happening on-campus, or have an idea for heritage month events, please email: kvaler@saic.edu.

The committee recognizes there are currently more than 112 national observances. From an equity-minded standpoint, the committee has defined the above calendar for the 2021-22 academic year to amplify members of underrepresented communities that identify as Black, Brown, Indigenous, and person of color. This does not preclude other important dates from being recognized. Rather, the schedule listed above outlines specific months for which there are associated programs and is determined based on available resources.

Logo displays a solid black circle. Atop the circle is the group name "Heritage Awareness Programs & Initiatives"

The Heritage Awareness Programming Initiatives (HAPI) committee is composed of representatives from a number of departments across the school who endeavor to honor and raise awareness of the rich diversity and the myriad of intersectional identities represented at our school. The HAPI committee organizes programs, outreach, and learning opportunities for holistic heritage awareness with special emphasis on those that elevate Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color.

The HAPI committee is composed of several members who represent a number of departments and oversee the planning of heritage and history observances. The 2021-22 standing committee includes:

  • Alberto Ponce, Academic Advisor
  • Alex O'Keefe, Research and Instruction Librarian
  • Cheeyon Cha, Director of Student Affairs for Korean and Chinese Advising
  • Danny Boucher, Assistant Director of Residence Life for Special Programs
  • Emily Crum, Program Coordinato, CAPX
  • Katrina Valera, Director of Student Affairs for Diversity & Inclusion
  • Laura Bustamante (Gomez), Graduate Assistant for Multicultural Affairs
  • Laura Lamb, Director of Campus Life
  • Rosalie Shemmer, Dean of Career & Professional Experience

The committee meets regularly and connects with student groups, committees, and any student, faculty, or staff member who are interested in being involved.