Belmont celebrated Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month throughout April, hosting guest speakers and offering students and faculty the chance to interact with and learn more purposefully from the AAPI community.
From Dr. Jenny Pak, associate Professor of Psychology at Fuller Seminary, to Dr. Won Lee, professor of Religion and Director of Asian Studies at Calvin University, guest speakers shared stories on a range of topics all centered around reframing the understanding of the AAPI community in society.
Pak shared her personal journey of moving away from an individualistic understanding of bicultural identity towards a collective focus of finding wholeness in community in her chapel event titled “Regenerated to Wholeness.” Lee led a chapel event discussing the Parable of the Prodigal Son in the Book of Luke, providing a re-imagined Korean Confucian-inspired and Christian-informed reading that highlights the failure of the father as head of the household, a failure which points back to the abiding love of God.
“Ultimately, both presentations poignantly underscore how the Christian Gospel is translatable, contextual and pluralistic insofar as it re-signifies and adapts older traditions in newer ways that speak to the present,” said Dr. Gideon Park, assistant professor of religion and AAPI heritage month committee member.
Other events and initiatives throughout the month included a community dinner hosted by Dr. Greg and Rev. Susan Jones for local Asian pastors and AAPI faculty and staff, as well as a display of undergraduate research posters created in a Multiracial Biblical Studies class centered around the theme of “Reading the Bible from Multiracial Perspectives: Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America.” AAPI Heritage Month posters were also featured throughout campus which presented notable Asian American actors, artists, educators, comedians, entrepreneurs and producers.