Honoring AA & NHPI Heritage Month – A Message from the CBE Diversity Council

Dear CBE Community,


May is Asian American & Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islanders Heritage Month


Recognized by federal law, May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month — a celebration of Asians, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities represent a wide range of ethnicities, nationalities, and identities, including all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands that make up Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. AA and NHPI history, art, heritage, and struggles are woven into the fabric of the Pacific Northwest. While we celebrate these communities’ collective contributions to our nation, our region, the UW, and CBE, we recognize the cultures, languages, identities, histories, and more that make them unique. We also acknowledge the deep trauma due to harassment, violence, discrimination, incarceration, and expulsion that are part of AA and NHPI stories globally, nationally, and right here. Racism against AA and NHPI communities is not new, and it continues to cause harm to this day. It has escalated significantly in the past two years due to false and damaging narratives surrounding the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to dire costs to these communities’ lives and livelihoods. The CBE Diversity Council condemns the continued hate, violence, and erasure of the AA and NHPI communities, and stands in solidarity for justice and healing.


Because of the deep AA and NHPI roots in the PNW, there are abundant opportunities to engage with these communities. We encourage everyone to take part in local events, to shop at and support local small businesses, and to learn more about the rich history and contributions of AA and NHPI communities — this May and any month of the year. Remember to engage with cultures that are not your own respectfully. You can do so by staying aware of how you show up for culturally specific events and ceremonies that are not aligned with your cultural identity. Below are just a few resources; we welcome you to share more. Thank you for doing your part to advance diversity, equity and inclusion: for our college, and the communities we hail from and partner with. 


“In early 2021, I wrote the most personal essay that I’ve ever shared with an academic audience in the form of a letter to my students. I was deeply moved by the warm responses, including from folks who had a Chinese grandparent or Japanese great grandparent and had ambivalent feelings about talking about or claiming their AANHPI identity. As we celebrate this month, we know there are many who will choose to celebrate privately, publicly, or in community, and all are equally valuable.”


– Renée Cheng, John and Rosalind Jacobi Family Endowed Dean of the College of Built Environments



Thank you to UW Advancement DEI Team, Leilani Lewis and Isi Ogwude, for sharing these resources originally, and to their message collaborators in UMAC, Misty Shock Rule and Alice Lee. Guidance from our colleagues and UW community recommends using either AANHPI and/or AA & NHPI acronyms generally.  


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Diversity Council

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