Celebrate the Connected Roots and Collective Futures of APIDA Cultures

Free community festival is an opportunity to honor APIDA Heritage Month

Bellingham, WA - Everyone is welcome at a free community event to celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage month from 6 – 9 p.m. on May 14, 2024 at the Syre Student Center at Whatcom Community College. Hosted by a consortium of local educational institutions and community organizations, the “Connected Roots, Collective Futures” festival will be all-ages, family-friendly fun featuring a free community dinner, panel presentation, performances, local vendors, art, food, and more!   

“We are excited to share an event that centers Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi stories and experiences. It is about celebration and education as much as it's a community-oriented gathering to build relationships, share experiences, and hold space for joy,” said Dr. Janis Velasquez Farmer, one of the event organizers and director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Bellingham Public Schools. 

The event is also an opportunity to experience the offerings of several local, APIDA-owned businesses. Bry’s Filipino Food and Naan and Brew will be catering the community dinner, and Ink Drop Tattoo will offer temporary tattoos with flowers representing different APIDA cultures. Shogo Ota, a Washington-based artist known for graphic design, murals and custom art, will be live-painting a custom mural to be auctioned off at the event. 

Silent auction proceeds, temporary tattoo donations and other fundraising opportunities at the festival will support families displaced by the fires in Lahaina, Maui. Donations will go directly to Hawaii- and Lahaina-based organizations working to provide shelter, food, medical and hygiene supplies and other critical needs. 

A panel presentation will address the event theme: Connected Roots, Collective Futures. Performances and activities will be offered by local students, artists, and educators. 

For more information about the May 14 event at Whatcom Community College, as well as a diverse range of APIDA events hosted at WWU throughout the month, visit wwu.edu/apida

Syre Student Center is wheelchair accessible. ASL interpretation for the formal program is available upon request. Please contact Chris.Roselli@wwu.edu no later than three days prior to the event to request specific accommodations.

About the Connected Roots, Collective Futures festival theme

Every May we reach toward the past, embrace the present, and move towards the future of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) cultures.  APIDA represents a diverse community of more than 50 ethnic groups and includes people of Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi ancestry who trace their origins to the communities of these geographic regions. This year, we honor the APIDA legacy by sharing stories, collaborating, and enjoying everything from our Connected Roots to our Collective Futures. 

Connected Roots

With roots in more than 20 countries, Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi Americans represent diverse cultures with strong connections to family heritage and histories that center community, endurance and celebration. For many APIDA communities in the United States, there is a shared parallel experience of racial injustice, xenophobia and lasting impacts of colonialism that continue to have an impact today.  As we connect our present to our past, we can look toward a hopeful future. 

Collective Futures

Standing strong and holding tight to the wisdom of those who paved the path before us, we work in community to amplify our voices now and far into the future. 

About the event sponsors 

This event is sponsored by the Community Consortium for Cultural Recognition (CCCR), a partnership comprising an array of local organizations: Bellingham Public Library, Bellingham Public Schools, Bellingham Technical College, City of the Bellingham, Northwest Indian College, Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College. 

Past CCCR events include Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrations from 2021-2024, Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month celebration at Depot Market Square in May 2023, and Martin Luther King Day events in 2020 - 2024.

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