UW to hold Asian Heritage Month speakers’ panel on identity, perceptions and belonging

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Asian Heritage Month speakers' panel, from left to right: event moderator Anne Galang, panelists Tanya "Toni" De Mello, Jason Tham, Sidra Hasan and Vinh Nguyen. Graphics by Alexandra Holyk

The University of Waterloo is hosting a virtual event called the “Explorations of Asian Identity, Perceptions and Belonging,” scheduled for Tuesday, May 25 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT. 

Hosted by the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART), the event’s panel will explore Asian-Canadian identity and anti-Asian racism, particularly in light of the rise in hate crimes over the past year. 

Waterloo’s own Bardish Chagger, Candian Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth, said in an official statement: “Asian Heritage month is about celebrating the resilience of communities of Asian descent who have faced racism and discrimination for generations.” 

She highlighted that since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Canada has seen a devastating rise in acts of anti-Asian racism in addition to the disproportionate impact of the virus on minority communities.

“The theme for Asian Heritage Month 2021, ‘”Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve’,” embodies the myriad of sentiments that peoples of Asian descent in Canada have experienced,” according to the Government of Canada website.

This event will feature a moderated panel discussion featuring the following UW alumni with diverse backgrounds and perspectives on Asian heritage: Tanya De Mello (BA ‘02), Asst. Dean of Students from the Ryerson University Faculty of Law; Vinh Nguyen, an Associate Professor at the Renison University College who specializes in topics of refugee, Asian diasporic literature, and critical race and autobiography studies; Jason Tham (BSc ‘02), CEO and co-founder of Nuology — a globally-recognized software company connecting consumer brands with their external suppliers; and Sidra Hasan (BA ‘21) a workshop facilitator at Bad Subject with over three years of experience in delivering workshops on subjects such as anti-racism, sexual violence and media literacy.

The panel discussion will be moderated by alumna Anne Galang (MA ‘15), UW associate director of executive communications.

“Before the pandemic, [racism] may have been more subtle so I think some people would have been surprised by the amount of anti-Asian racism whereas others may not have been surprised at all,” Galang said in an interview with Imprint

UW is addressing systemic racism on campus through the work of PART. This panel event is the latest in a series of events dedicated to race, culture and ethnicity awareness. All UW employees, students, alumni and the wider community are invited to join.

Learn more and register through Ticketfi.

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