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CFA Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, CFA recognizes and appreciates our Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) leaders who have contributed to making our union and the APIDA caucus stronger and more forward-thinking. 

CFA honors the unionism, advocacy, and work of so many of our strong APIDA leaders – past and present – including Dorothy Chen-Maynard, Kim Geron, Susan Chen, and Darel Tai Engen, all of whom helped pave the way in CFA for many of our member and student leaders. Their work – on campus, in their CFA chapters, and at CFA statewide – continues to bring forth successful campaigns for the union and admiration from their colleagues.

“CFA is a union of faculty from all ranks and classifications in the CSU, but it wasn’t until I attended the Equity Conference hosted by CFA that I saw and met so many APIDA faculty,” said Vang Vang, CFA APIDA Caucus co-chair and CFA treasurer-elect. “I was amazed and inspired by them, their dedication to APIDA causes, issues, and students. They invited me into their circle and encouraged me to be involved, engaged, and participate.”

CFA understands this work is far from over. In the backdrop of AAPI Heritage Month, anti-Asian racism and hate crimes have surged across the country since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 19, 2020, Stop AAPI Hate notes more than 6,600 incident reports have been filed to their center, with 3,795 of those incidents coming in March 2021. (Stop AAPI Hate was co-founded by Dr. Russell Jeung, a CFA member and chair of the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State). Of those types of discriminations, Stop AAPI Hate reports:

  • Verbal harassment constitutes 65 percent of total incident reports;
  • Physical assaults comprise nearly 13 percent of reported incidents, the third largest category, while shunning is second at 18 percent;
  • Civil rights violations – such as workplace discrimination, refusal of service, and being barred from transportation – make up 10 percent of all incidents;
  • And, the majority of these incidents are happening in public view: nearly 38 percent of the reported incidents happened in public streets and parks and 32 percent happened in businesses.

Like so many, CFA was drowning in pain and anguish after the March 2021 white supremacist, misogynistic murders of eight Atlanta-area victims, six of whom were Asian women. Our union and APIDA leaders urged Chancellor Joseph I. Castro and CSU leadership to take action to protect our APIDA faculty, staff, and students immediately and to pursue inclusive, structural changes on our campuses.

As we stated in March, eliminating racism and ensuring social justice is an ongoing effort that demands our continued awareness and action. That continues today as we celebrate and honor our APIDA members and leaders across the CSU system.

“More than ever, APIDA voices must be heard in all discussions,” said Lisa Kawamura, CFA APIDA Caucus co-chair. “Our struggles have been unseen by so many and in many ways our contributions have been overlooked by most.

“I am thankful that CFA and the APIDA Caucus have dedicated time and effort to uplifting APIDA voices and experiences. Let us continue making waves together,” she added.

One way to honor our APIDA members and leaders is listening to their lived experiences. At CFA’s recent virtual Spring Assembly, Dr. Jeung and Dr. Wei Ming Dariotis, a CFA member and professor in the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State, presented how to combat anti-Asian hate. You can watch their full presentations here.

Additionally, please visit Combating AAPI Hate in the Age of COVID-19 on CFA’s website. The page includes educational curriculum and video resources produced by Dr. Jeung, the APIDA Caucus, and CFA’s Council for Racial & Social Justice, as well as an episode from Radio Free CSU – a podcast produced by CFA – which dives into vulnerable CSU populations.

The APIDA Caucus also has a list of video and article resources for members to access.