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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 important individuals 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 at Spring Fling
12:00-3:00 pm, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Holmgren Meadow

Come help celebrate the start of SAMEAPI Awareness Now! Month at the SAMEAPI Kick-off at Spring Fling! Savor some delicious treats and try your hand at Ulu Maika (a traditional Hawaiian game similar to bowling)! Soak up the sunshine and festivities and learn about SAMEAPI events for the month of April.

Dinner Honoring SAMEAPI Awareness Now! Month
5:00–7:00 pm, Thursday, April 7, 2016, Founders Hall

Come and join the Mills Community as we celebrate our heritage with diverse and delicious foods of many Asian cuisines.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Huma Dar—Islamophobia, Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Hate/Hurt: When Does This Stop?
7:00 pm, Thursday, April 7, 2016 Student Union

In “Eyewitness from Lebanon” (1996), June Jordan, the UC Berkeley Black feminist, queer, scholar, poet, activist, who died in 2002, wrote: “I went to Lebanon because I believe that Arab peoples and Arab Americans occupy the lowest, the most reviled spot in the racist mind of America. I went because I believe that to be Muslim and Arab is to be a people subject to the most uninhibited, lethal bullying possible.” June had said, "To tell the truth is to become beautiful.” Now, twenty years later, beautiful June’s truthful speech to power has only become more relevant, more necessary to a hatred more uninhibited, more lethal. But who today has the courage, the beautiful courage, to stand straight, look power in the eye, and call out this vile Islamophobia? Especially when unabashed and genocidal hatred gets the confusing liberal cover of “freedom of speech.” Granted that freedom of speech is necessarily the freedom to speak the uncomfortable, the impolite, how then do we hold this freedom accountable via the ethics of responsibility, responsibility towards life and human dignity, in particular that of the most oppressed and the most disempowered? When is “Free Speech” not “free,” but rife with potentially fatal consequences, and thus actually “Hate Speech”? Primo Levi, a famous survivor of Auschwitz, in If This Is a Man, writes, "This word ‘Muselmann’ [or Muslim], I do not know why, was used by the old ones of the camp to describe the weak, the inept, those doomed to selection [selection for killing].” What is the distance between the Muselman/Muslim of today and a Jewish person of Nazi Germany?

SAMEAPI Awareness Now!: ASWAT Concert
7:00 pm, Wednesday, April 14, 2016, Reinhardt Alumni House

The concert will be focusing on classic, Islamic, and folk music from different parts of the Middle East and North Africa, along with folk music from Persia. They preformed last year for SAMEAPI month and are back by popular demand, although this time, bringing two women vocalist from their Women's Ensemble. There will be performances by Younes Al Makboul: Aswat Director and gifted Moroccan musician and singer, Basma Edrees: Violinist and Director of the Women’s Ensemble, Rana Mroue: Singer and Aswat Vocal Trainer, Jalaleddin Takesh: Aswat Musician (Qanūn), and Loay Dabour: Percussionist. We will be serving a number of different middle eastern sweets and pastries, along with fresh mint tea and the very popular "Mint Mojitio" from local Palestinian owned coffee shop, Philz Coffee.

Younes Al Makboul, Aswat Director

Younes is a gifted Moroccan musician and singer. He began playing the ’oud and the violin at Sufi gatherings in Fez when he was seven years old. Mentored by the legendary Sufi singer Al-Haj  ’Abd al-Karim al-Rais, Younes graduated at seventeen from the Conservatory House Adeel in Fez; but instead of attending college, he went to work to support his family. Later, he made a decent living playing at nightclubs in Dubai. In addition to his participation in Aswat, he works fulltime as a limousine driver during the day and plays with various Middle Eastern bands at night. 

Basma Edrees, Violinist and Director of the Women’s Ensemble
Raised in a family of diplomats, Basma considers herself continuing this diplomatic legacy through music. Currently Associate Concertmaster of the Oakland Symphony, Basma substitute teaches music theory at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Born in Egypt, she began studying violin at age 4, made her solo debut at 10 on the stage of the Cairo Opera House, and completed her undergraduate studies in violin performance at the Mannes College The New School For Music. Basma has an MA in Music from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Laurie Smukler and the first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, Joseph Lin. 

Rana Mroue, Singer and Aswat Vocal Trainer

Rana is one likely candidate to lead Aswat when Nabila retires. Since 2007, Aswat has meant everything to the Lebanese Oaklander: all her social life and activities revolve around the musical ensemble. Rana completed her PhD in Molecular Biology at UC Berkeley and now works at Genentech.

Jalaleddin Takesh, Aswat Musician (Qanūn)

Known as “The Pasha,” Jalaleddin is Aswat’s qanūn master and a veteran of the Bay Area Arab music scene. At one time he was a recording artist, releasing seven Arab music albums in the 70, and a successful San Francisco restaurateur. His mother was originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, but she left for Urmia, Iran, in 1917, at the beginning of the Bolshevik Revolution. Jalaleddin moved to the US in 1964 to study engineering, but decided his true calling was music. 

Loay Dabour, Percussionist

Loay is an Uber driver by day and a percussionist by night in San Francisco. A Palestinian, Loay was born and raised in Kuwait. He moved to the US in the early nineties during the first Gulf War. He is a practicing Muslim in his early 40s and the son of a prominent photographer who ran one of the first photography studios in Kuwait. An accomplished percussionist who is also passionate about photography, he recently enrolled in City College to pursue his dream of a career in film and photography.

This event is co-sponsored by the French Club, with funding from a grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Mills 'Ohana Club Annual Luau
6:00-9:00 pm, Friday, April 15, 2016, Student Union

Please join us at our Second Annual Luau! Luaus are widely popular amongst other colleges and universities and now, Mills Ohana Club is bringing it to the Mills campus. Join us in celebrating traditional Hawaiian culture with authentic Hawaiian food and entertainment. Food will be catered by Grindz, whose owner and chef’s passion is to share his love for Hawaiian food.  Entertainment will be by Island Breeze, a Bay Area Hawaiian entertainment group. The performance will feature three hula dancers, as well as an interactive hula tutorial! To RSVP for this event, please click here.

Let’s Talk API Health with Nwe and Tai
6:00-8:00 pm, Wednesday, April 20, 2016, Faculty/Staff Lounge
Presented by speakers Nwe Oo and Fatai “Tai” Tokolahi from the Community Health for Asian Americans (CHAA) in Oakland, CA. Tai is a community advocate for the Pacific Islander people here in Alameda County and he will be talking about deconstructing masculinity in the Pacific Islander community, sexual health in the API community, and how men can be better allies for women. Nwe is a social worker and human rights activist. She has spent most of her life advocating for refugees / immigrants/ Indigenous people. Nwe will be talking about advocating for better health equity for refugees and increasing awareness of API mental health. There will also be time for Q&A too. Please come and learn! Light refreshments will be served. This is an event open to the public.

Feminist Social Movements in North Africa—a talk by Karima Bennoune
Thursday, April 21, 2016

Karima Bennoune is a professor of international law at the University of California–Davis School of Law. She is also the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights. She grew up in Algeria and the United States and now lives in northern California. Professor Bennoune graduated from a joint program in law and Middle Eastern and North African studies at the University of Michigan, earning a JD cum laude from the law school and an MA from the Rackham Graduate School, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies.

In 1995, she served as a Center for Women’s Global Leadership delegate to the NGO Forum at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing where she provided legal advice to the Tribunal for Global Accountability for Violations of Women’s Human Rights. From 1995 until 1999 she was based in London as a legal adviser at Amnesty International.

In 2007, Professor Bennoune became the first Arab-American to win the Derrick Bell Award from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Minority Groups. She has served as a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law and on the board of directors of Amnesty International USA. Currently, she sits on the Board of the Network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws and on the Scholar Advisory Board of Muslims for Progressive Values.

Her articles, essays, and editorials have been published in a number of scholarly journals, as well as the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the website of Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Reuters, Open Democracy and the Huffington Post.

This event is co-sponsored by the French Club, with funding from a grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Mills College presents Steven Lim from BuzzFeed—a discussion of Asian Representation
12:00-2:00 pm, Saturday, April 23, 2016, Faculty/Staff Lounge

Steven Lim of BuzzFeed is coming to speak at Mills on Asian Representation. There will be a section on his journey to BuzzFeed, the importance of Asians in the media, how to better advocate for that, and Q&A. This is an event open to the public and Mills College students will get priority. RSVP will be required. Lunch will be served.   

South Asian, Middle Eastern, Asian Pacific Islander Celebration Dinner
5:30–7:30 pm, Wednesday, April 27, 2015, Reinhardt Alumnae House

The South Asian, Middle Eastern, Asian Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Dinner is an occasion to celebrate and honor faculty and staff who have made an impact on Mills students and community. In addition to a night of food and entertainment, this event is an opportunity for the students to enhance their experience at Mills by connecting with SAMEAPI faculty and staff.  The Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance, the Muslim Student Association, and the Mills Ohana Club would like to thank the SAMEAPI faculty and staff for all that they do. This event is invitation only.

Sponsors for SAMEAPI events:
Events are co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance, Muslim Student Association, Mills Ohana Club, Ethnic Studies Department, the Center for Student Leadership, Equity & Excellence, and the 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 visit 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: 4/13/16