Asian American violence has been on the rise in the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate, a coalition that tracks reports of violence and harassment against the AAPI community across the nation, reported a steady increase in the number of hate incidents since March 2020. The month of May is Asian Heritage Month and there are plenty of events coming up designed to raise awareness and challenge biases.
Lin Hong, a professor at Central Oregon Community College, pioneered several Chinese and Asian programs throughout Central Oregon. After moving to the area in 2017, she launched the Chinese program at COCC and has helped bring Chinese programs to various high schools and middle schools. She is a supporter for the on-campus Asian club and continues to brainstorm ways to bring Chinese summer exchange and internships to students.
- Courtesy Mark Johnson
- Lin Hong at COCC's 2018 Chinese New Year Celebration.
One of the students inspired by these programs is local Summit High Schooler, Rachel Wallace, an 18-year-old who has been studying the Chinese language for the last three years. After completing a two-week study abroad in Beijing and Shanghai, she marveled at how quickly the experience improved her language skills. Eager to continue her studies, she applied and was accepted for a prestigious scholarship with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study Mandarin in China. She will leave for eight months in the fall of 2021 and then begin her studies at the University of Oregon in their flagship Chinese programming after she returns.
COCC has a long tradition of offering unique programming for AAPI Heritage month. Hong described the 2019 experience as one of the biggest events of the year for the college campus, where unique Asian culture had activities and performances throughout the month. After canceling most of last year's events, the Diversity and Inclusion team is thrilled to bring back some virtual events for 2021. County Commissioner Phil Chang will present virtually on his experiences during a community discussion May 6. Other events include online film screenings, study abroad discussions and a panel on addressing issues unique to Central Oregon AAPI communities.
COCC's Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Events throughout May 2021