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Home > Academics > Undergraduate >
Ethnic Studies

SAMEAPI Awareness Now! Events
(South Asian Middle Eastern Asian
Pacific Islander Awareness Now!)

SAMEAPI Awareness Now! Timeline
Ongoing for the month of April
Toyon Meadow

Take a stroll down Toyon Meadow and view this year’s SAMEAPI Awareness Now! time line honoring a collection of historic events in South Asian Middle Eastern Asian Pacific Islander history! This timeline is dedicated to the courageous men and women whose voices and actions brought change to South Asian, Middle Eastern, Asian Pacific Islander issues within a community and around the world. We honor those men and women who brought change so that we could prosper in a better world.

SAMEAPI Awareness Now! Kick Off
12:15 pm, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, Suzanne Adams Plaza

Come help celebrate the start of SAMEAPI Awareness Now! Month at the SAMEAPI Kick-off in Adams Plaza! Savor some delicious treats and listen to spoken word! Soak up the sunshine and festivities and learn about SAMEAPI events for the month of April!

Film Screening of "Bleached" with filmmaker Jess De La Merced
7:00 pm, Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Danforth Auditorium

BleachedPlease join us for an important film screening of "Bleached," a "dark" comedy featuring Lenny, a Filipino-American girl in high school. Her mother, a pageant queen past her prime, forces Lenny to use a bleaching cream to lighten the color of her skin in order to increase her cosmetic sales. Lenny reluctantly agrees to gain the approval of her mother, but in the process she loses herself and begins to believe and embody her mother's skewed sense of beauty. Lenny is forced to find herself again, and the result is hilarious and powerful.

View the trailer.

San Francisco native Jess dela Merced is a writer/director completing an MFA from the New York University Graduate Film Program where she received the 2012 Spike Lee Fellowship as well as the Lorraine Hansberry Arts, Performance, and Media Award. In 2011 she was selected for a unique writing internship created by Chris Rock at Comedy Central. Her thesis film HYPEBEASTS was awarded with a Hollywood Foreign Press Association grant and is an official selection of the Starz Denver Film Festival and the Cleveland International Film Festival 2014.

Dinner Honoring SAMEAPI Awareness Now! Month
5:00–7:00 pm, Wednesday, April 9, 2014, Founders Hall

Come and join the Mills Community as we celebrate our heritage with diverse and delicious foods of many Asian cuisines.

Eggroll (vegetarian)
Potato Samosa (Vegetarian) with Mango Chutney (vegan and gluten free)

Lentil Soup (vegan and gluten free)
Chicken wonton soup

Thai chicken salad Shredded Cabbage, Miso-ginger vinaigrette, Thai Noodles, Water Chestnuts, Mandarin Segments, Black sesame seeds, and Hoisin Chicken thigh, garnished with Green Onions
Hummus (vegan and gluten free) and Pita Chips

Lomi-Lomi Salmon
Sweet and sour pork
Curry vegetables (vegetarian))
Couscous (vegan)
Steamed jasmine and brown rice (vegan and gluten free)
Tomato and Chick pea stew (vegan and gluten free)

Green Tea Ice Cream
Haupia cake

Mango Lassi
Mint Tea

We are very excited to have students dancers in Rhythms of Punjab which is a part of Dholrhthms (aka Non Stop Bhangra) in SF, Berkeley and Oakland entertaining us during dinner. They will be performing a dance called Bhangra which is an Indian Harvest dance with lively music and the movement of activity people doing their work in the field.

Cost for diners without a meal plan is $10.50. Dinner brought to you by Bon Appetit.

Guest Speaker, Zeina Zaatari
"Arab Feminisms in the 'Homelands' and Diaspora: Tensions and Continuities..."
7:00 pm, Wednesday, April 9, 2014, Student Union

Zeina will address the main issues raised by Arab Feminists in the region as well as issues raised by Arab/American feminists focusing on areas of continuity of struggle and collaborations where and if possible. She will also discuss the inherent tensions that have risen over the years as a result of identity politics and the cultural/racial landscape of the United States, orientalism, and the US imperial project.

Zeina Zaatari is currently a Research Associate at the Zeina ZaatariUniversity of California Davis, a Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology at Santa Clara University, and an independent consultant focusing on gender and sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, she worked as the Regional Director for the MENA Program at Global Fund for Women, 2004-2012. She earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis in Feminist Theory from UCD, with dissertation fieldwork focusing on women’s groups and women activists in South Lebanon. Zeina is currently working on a book project Interrogating Heteronormativity in Lebanon: Family, Citizenship, and Access to Adulthood. Her publications include an edited book Telling Our Stories: Women’s Voices of the Middle East and North Africa (2011), and several chapters/articles including “Re-Imagining Family, Gender, and Sexuality: Feminist and LGBT Activism in the context of the 2006 Invasion of Lebanon” co-written with Nadine Naber in the Journal Cultural Dynamics: Insurgent Scholarship on Culture, Politics, and Power (forthcoming 2014), “Arab Feminist Awakening: Possibilities and Necessities” in Arab Feminisms: A Critical Perspective (Bahithat, 2012 Arabic), “In the Belly of the Beast: Struggling for Non-Violent Belonging” in Arab and Arab American Feminisms (2011), and “Production of Knowledge: International Development Agencies” in Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (2010). She currently serves as Secretary of the Board of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development and is a former board member of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies. Zeina is also a founding member of Radical Arab Women’s Activist Network and Sunbula: Arab Feminist for Change.

SAMEAPI Cultural Night
Ripples Across the Diaspora: Celebrating Unity and Fluidity
7:00 pm, Thursday, April 17, 2014, Student Union

Please join us for an exciting night of song, dance, and drumming performances reflective of a diverse array of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Pacific Island cultures.

We will start off the night with a performance by Emeryville Taiko Drumming! Try your hand at Taikotaiko drum drumming with the experts. Taiko drumming is an exciting modern art form with ancient roots. With origins in the religious ceremonies and folk festivals of Japan, it has experienced a worldwide renaissance that began in the 60s and continues to grow today. The history of Taiko is interwoven in the fabric of Japanese history. Regarded as sacred since ancient times, the drum was first used to drive away evil spirits and pests harmful to crops. It was believed that by imitating the sound of thunder, the spirit of rain would be forced into action. At harvest time, Taiko was joyfully played in thanks for a bountiful crop.

We will be entertained by the LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble. Founded in 1992, LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble believes in the power of dance and music to educate the community at large about the beauty of Philippine culture. LIKHA works to showcase the diversity of Philippine culture to bridge differences within the Pilipino American community, and to educate youth and adults who do not have the opportunities to learn about their culture. LIKHA also seeks to educate individuals from other cultures who have little or no knowledge about the Philippines. Aside from versatility in costume and dance, LIKHA boasts an accomplished string and percussion ensemble, as well as educational workshops on music and dance, annual field research to the Philippines, and ongoing classes aimed at developing talent among youth in the community. After 22 years of accomplishments, LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble has emerged as a San Francisco Bay Area premier folk dance company rooted in Philippine dance traditions, with a repertoire that reflects the vast diversity of the Philippine Islands, performed by an active membership of over 30 dancers and musicians. For more information about LIKHA and our programs, please visit

Our next performance will be by Amir A. Etemadzadeh and Neema Hekmat, Middle Eastern musicians. Amir A Etemadzadeh is a Middle Eastern musician, instructor, performer and composer. Born and raised in Iran, he received extensive musical education. After arriving in the U.S. in 2002, he expanded his portfolio to include world music drums. He enjoys teaching and performing, and is open for collaborations.

Neema Hekmat is best known for his widely performed compositions that promote cross-cultural understanding and unique style of santur performance. Neema is the director of Bay Area-based Zaryab Ensemble and collaborates with numerous Iranian and international artistic groups. He is one of the few experts of an old style of Santur performance developed by Reza Varzandeh. Among Neema's teachers include Behrouz Sadeghian, Mahmoud Zolfonoun and Daniel Wood.

We will conclude with an interactive performance by Nicole Fox and Bay Area Hula. By paying homage to a wide range of cultures representative of SAMEAPI Heritage month, we commemorate our histories and traditions in order to create a multiplicity of dialogues, revealing how we are all interconnected in our struggles yet unparalleled in what makes each of us stand out. Whether honoring our past or embracing our future, the ebb and flow of our arts allows us to wash away barriers and inundate the world with our presence.

Honoring Guest Panelists and Activists Helen Zia and Beckie Masaki
7:00 pm, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, Student Union

The Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance (APISA) is hosting a panel to honor influential activists Beckie Masaki and Helen Zia by presenting them with the Asian Pacific American (APA) Activist Award for their dedication and leadership in addressing gender-based violence, racial violence and promoting social justice in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Panelists will share their stories about their journey with activism and social justice, their insights on the most important trends facing API leaders or activists, and social change.

Beckie Masaki, MSW is the Associate Director of the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence, a Beckie Masakinational resource center on gender-based violence in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Beckie has worked in the movement to end violence against women for over thirty years. She co-founded one of the first programs in the nation that could meet the language and cultural needs of Asian survivors of domestic violence and trafficking, Asian Women’s Shelter (AWS) in San Francisco, and served as the founding executive director for over twenty-one years. Beckie has extensive experience in providing multilingual, multicultural services to domestic violence and trafficking survivors and their children, innovative program development, prevention, community building, policy and institutional advocacy, training, technical assistance, and cultural change work.

Beckie is committed to make her best contribution to the movement for gender justice as part of a critical mass of intergenerational, diverse leaders in a new era of shared leadership, shared power, and co-creation. She is dedicated to working through an intersectional approach that builds the power of the margins and is marked by collective power, collaboration, creativity, and love.

Helen Zia is an award-winning journalist and scholar who has covered Asian American communities and social and political movHelen Ziaements for decades. She is the author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, a finalist for the prestigious Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. She is also co-author, with Wen Ho Lee, of My Country Versus Me, which reveals what happened to the Los Alamos scientist who was falsely accused of being a spy for China in the "worst case since the Rosenbergs." Zia is former Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, books and anthologies. She was named one of the most influential Asian Americans of the decade by A. Magazine.

A second generation Chinese American, Zia has been outspoken on issues ranging from civil rights and peace to women's rights and countering hate violence and homophobia. In 1997, she testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the racial impact of the news media. She traveled to Beijing in 1995 to the UN Fourth World Congress on Women as part of a journalists of color delegation. She has appeared in numerous news programs and films; her work on the 1980s Asian American landmark civil rights case of anti-Asian violence is documented in the Academy Award nominated film, "Who Killed Vincent Chin?" and she was profiled in Bill Moyers' PBS documentary, "Becoming American: The Chinese Experience."

South Asian, Middle Eastern, Asian Pacific Islander Celebration Dinner
5:30–7:30 pm, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, Reinhardt Alumnae House

The South Asian, Middle Eastern, Asian Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Dinner is an occasion to celebrateSameapi dinner and honor faculty and staff who have made an impact on the students. This event is an opportunity for the students to meet SAMEAPI faculty and staff and establish relationships that will enhance their experiences here at Mills. In addition to a night of food and entertainment, there will be certificates of recognition from the Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance, the Muslim Student Association, and the Mills College Ohana Club. This event is invitation only.

Sponsors for SAMEAPI events:
Events are co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance, Muslim Student Alliance, Mills Ohana Club, Ethnic Studies Department, French and Francophone Studies, Diversity and Social Justice Resource Center, and Associated Students of Mills College.

Mills College Heritage Months are supported in part by the Ethnic Studies Fund. To learn about and donate to the Fund, please click here: Ethnic Studies Fund. Many thanks for your generosity in support of Ethnic Studies and students of color at Mills.

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Last Updated: 4/16/14