May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and it offers a great opportunity to reflect on the many contributions that people who identify as AAPI make to our world, our country, and particularly to Antioch University. Antioch as an institution is defined by the people who make it up, and for at least eighty years, many of us have identified as AAPI.
This history goes back to 1942 when alumni set up special scholarships for Japanese-American students who had been forced to withdraw from West Coast universities due to the U.S. policy of forcible internment and relocation. Some of these early Japanese-American Antiochians include Alice Kozaki, Lois Noda, Nao Okuda, Mari Sabusawa, Fumiko Shitamae, and Earl Yonehiro. The welcoming of Japanese-American students in this period, when many of their families were incarcerated in concentration camps, is a proud moment for our institution. But it is unfortunately tied to a dark chapter in U.S. history.
It is important, in this month when we are called on to recognize the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the history, culture, and achievements of the U.S., to remember past injustices that Americans and our Federal and state governments have perpetrated against these communities. This is doubly true when some of these injustices continue to this day. Antioch’s leaders have spoken out against the upswing, in recent years, of violence targeting AAPI people. The good news is that here at our university, we have only benefited by welcoming more and more AAPI students and faculty, celebrating our alumni from these communities, and by building an inclusive learning community.
Here we have pulled together twelve recent stories, podcast episodes, and presentations to draw attention to the contributions of a few of our many AAPI Antiochians. Antioch’s community is rich with scholars, artists, activists, and citizens from the many different ethnicities and heritages that fall under the umbrella of the terms Asian American and Pacific Islander. We hope you take some time to learn more about these remarkable Antiochians.