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Uplifting Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Uplifting Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By Robyn Ayers, Circulation Support Staff, Quinn Library

Content Warning: this blog post will briefly reference Anti-Asian violence.

The month of May is unearthing a plethora of complexity within the Fordham community. The pandemic is over a year old, vaccine research brings both promise and hesitancy, the days grow longer and warmer, and in the midst of all this we find ourselves celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

A man wearing a face mask stands in front of a crowd during a protest. He is holding a poster with an image of a closed fist and the words "Filipinx for Black Lives" across the top and bottom of the poster. Under the image of the fist are the words "no justice, no peace."
Activist Kalaya’an Mendoza (Instagram).

Like most happenings of the last year, these celebrations are miserably overcast by violence, sorrow, and grief. Not only have countless community members lost loved ones to Covid-19, but countless others have lost loved ones to anti-Asian violence. Reports have shown that Anti-Asian hate crimes have increased exponentially over the past year, and that this targeted violence is a devastating historical pattern.  Last April, Father McShane wrote to the Fordham community, challenging us to “enlarge, rather than shrink, our circle of compassion.” Unfortunately, Father McShane’s charge is still poignantly necessary now, nearly a year after he first wrote them. 

How can we hold the complexities of a month meant to center celebration, when so many members of the community are suffering? How do we acknowledge pain, without tokenizing it? How do we stand in solidarity with vulnerable communities, without leaving anyone behind?

Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers to these questions. As the academic community searches for nuance, it is important to remember that what is ethically asked of us is honesty. Honesty requires information, and that is precisely where the Fordham Libraries can help.

Library Resources

The Asian diaspora is vast and full of beautiful nuance and cultural complexity that is often erased in popular culture. While it is impossible to give a full overview in a single blog post, we can offer a few places to start!

First, check out the Asian American & Pacific Islander Research Guide. Curated by library staff, research guides are subject-based collections that serve as a roadmap for your exploration. The navigation bar lists several different sub-categories and source types including articles, databases, books, archival collections, and organizations. You can browse the listed resources on your own, use the linked journals to start your own search, or contact the authors of the guide for more individualized direction.

Here are a few articles and books to get you started:

If you’re not particularly interested in any of the titles listed above, head over to the library homepage and click on “Library Catalog.” From there, you can change the library location to “Online Resources,” which will limit your search results to e-books. Each listing will have a small blue URL link that links directly to the book. If prompted, enter your AccessIT ID username and password, and you’re all set!

Looking for audio/visual resources instead? Head over to the Videos & Multimedia tabon our Electronic Resources homepage. Both AVON and Kanopy are excellent video streaming services to start with, and Kanopy is currently featuring a collection of films for AAPI Heritage Month.

Community Resources at Fordham & Beyond

Beyond the academic resources available to you, there are also additional resources within the Fordham community at large. Fordham students can gather at student-run organizations and groups like the South Asian Law Students Association, Fordham University Philippine American Club, Asian-Pacific American Coalition (APAC), the Korean Students Organization, and many more. Groups like these offer a place to build relationships and community both within and beyond your academic pursuits.

A group of people smiling and standing joyfully with their hands up.
Writers at the 2019 Kundiman retreat. Source: Kundiman.

Another fantastic resource is Kundiman, a national non-profit founded by Fordham’s own Director of Creative Writing, Professor Sarah Gambito. Kundiman supports Asian American literature by providing mentorship, workshops, and an annual retreat for writers, held at the Rose Hill campus. You can find many books published by Kundiman fellows at the library – check them out, along with Professor Gambito’s books of poetry.

In addition, Fordham previously held Community Convenings on Anti-Asian Violence and Racism, virtual spaces designed to bring the difficult conversations up and into the open. A follow-up email to the Fordham community also highlighted these resources and upcoming events:

Logos for Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM).

Outside of Fordham, organizations like Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM) offer both local and national opportunities to get involved in civil rights activism.


Hopefully, these various offerings can help ground you and your community as you navigate this month. While we hold space for the complexity of grief and celebration, it is my sincerest wish that we will use these resources to intentionally build a world of care, safety, and imagination – both within Fordham, and wherever our lives might take us.

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