Asian American and Pacific Islander Speaker Series

Women and men review a set of documents

By Anubha Pathak with support from SJPL's Family Learning Center Coordinators

The observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month began in 1978, when President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution to proclaim the first "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.” In 1990, it was extended to a month-long observance through a bill co-authored by then Congressman Norman Mineta. That year, SJPL held special programs throughout the library system, including a large celebration.

SJPL Asian American and Pacific Islander celebration, 1990
SJPL's AAPI Heritage celebration, 1990

This year, SJPL continues the tradition of celebrating contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to our nation’s culture. The Family Learning Center Coordinators will be hosting a virtual AAPI Heritage Month Speaker Series during the weekly Community Connection Hour (CCH) program. Community members will get the chance to hear from local and national community members as they take us on a journey reflecting on their successes, struggles and what makes them unique. 

Our Esteemed Speakers

Portrait of Imran Siddiquee. They are wearing glasses and a multi-colored collard shirt.
Imran Siddiquee

Imran Siddiquee - "What We Learn About Love from Hollywood: Race, Gender, and Power in Romantic Film” 

Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Imran Siddiquee (they/them) is a filmmaker, writer, speaker, and activist confronting representations of race and gender in popular culture. Imran is the current Communications Director at BlackStar Projects, home of the BlackStar Film Festival and Seen. They previously also worked at MediaJustice and The Representation Project.  Imran is also the writer and director of Sea of Fog, a short film about the impact of whitewashed romantic cinema which premiered at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. Their short, Love Reset, was a winner of MTV's Look Different Creator's Challenge. They have also participated in the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive and are currently in development on a short narrative film, supported by the Philadelphia Independent Media Fund and the Sundance Institute.

Portrait of Tomiko Townley. She is wearing glasses and a black jacket and shirt with a pin.
Tomiko Townley

Tomiko Townley - "SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Policy, Federal Nutrition Programs, and Focus on Tackling Food Insecurity"

Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Tomiko is the Advocacy Director at Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. Tomiko implements strategies to raise awareness about legislation and policies that negatively impact access to nutritious food for Arkansas families, seniors and children. She acts as a liaison between elected officials, the Alliance and the hunger relief community.

Portrait of Dr. Angelica Cortez. She has long black hair, wearing a blue jacket and tan shirt.
Dr. Angelica Cortez

Dr. Angelica Cortez - "Journey to Establishing LEAD (Leadership, Education, Activism, and Dialogue) Filipino"

Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Dr. Angelica “Gel” Cortez, is a second generation Queer Pinay from Pittsburg, California. Influenced through student activism, she studied Political Science to understand systems of oppression, governance, and foreign and domestic policy to provide ways to engage minority voices in policy and social change. Her interests led her to work on immigrant rights in Los Angeles, for human services in San Jose, and for legislators based in Sacramento. Often reflecting on her own family’s struggle, she continues to believe that those most impacted by public systems need to be the ones that lead. In 2015, she founded LEAD Filipino, a San Jose-based nonprofit organization that has grown to serve hundreds of community members each year. In her spare time, she enjoys concerts, traveling, painting, and sleeping!

Portrait of Tram Vu. She has long dark hair and is wearing a gray long-sleeve shirt.
Tram Vu

"Short & Fierce: Dream-chasing and mental health from the lens of a female Vietnamese immigrant"

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Tram Bao Vu, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Parent Coach who has specialized in working with children, adults and families for over 10 years. She has honed her therapeutic craft and knowledge in the areas of child development, conscious parenting and social/emotional development to support parents in creating a sense of calm, confidence and connection within themselves and their families.

Blog Category
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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