FIU’s APIDA movie night spotlights Asian- American heritage and experiences

Event digital poster distributed Centers for Student Engagement | Photo via PantherConnect website

Sofia Bellon | Contributing Writer

Presented by the Centers for Student Engagement on Tuesday, May 21, a panel of speakers discussed representations of Asians and Asian–Americans in popular media. 

They followed up with a showing of a popular movie portraying APIDA experiences, “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Throughout the month of May, Asian American and Pacific Islander, AAPI, and Asian Pacific Islander Desi American, APIDA, heritage are celebrated nationwide and right here at FIU. 

This forum and movie night, organized and hosted by Indee Williams of FIU’s Centers for Student Engagement, sought to open a dialogue regarding the roles and impact of AAPI and APIDA people in the entertainment industry.

“My program coordinator and I are very big on pop culture so we like to find ways that we can have conversations about trending topics at our events,” said Williams. 

The Centers for Student Engagement brought together a panel of speakers with different perspectives and life experiences to reach the student body about celebrating diversity and their heritage.

Speakers Rochelle Zuniga, a graduate student and PhD candidate, and Samantha Lambert, an FIU senior majoring in Anthropology, opened up a discussion with attendees about the importance of representation in media, stereotypes, and the roles Asian–Americans play in media and popular culture.

Together they brought attention to inequalities in the entertainment industry while celebrating meaningful representation of AAPI and APIDA communities.

Zuniga and Lambert’s presentation also emphasized the importance of students connecting to their heritage. 

“Coming to realize the importance of ethnic diversity, understanding your heritage, and appreciating it, is really important… If I was an undergrad student, I wish I would have participated in things like this in order to raise my understanding,” said Zuniga. 

Together, Zuniga and Lambert additionally discussed how representation in media shapes self-image. This was something especially important for Lambert who was part of the first Asian–American Studies course at FIU with Dr. Mitzi Carter. 

“We talked about representation in film and what the general American society thinks about what it means to be Asian–American or Pacific Islander,” said Lambert.

The presentation was followed up with a screening of the movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, a 2022 film directed by ​​Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. 

This movie is highly acclaimed for its story following a Chinese immigrant woman and her journey to understand the complicated love she has for her family in the midst of a tax audit on her small-business.

It reflected the night’s discussions with its plot about the AAPI and APIDA experience in the United States and many cultural themes with generational significance.

With this movie night to celebrate AAPI and APIDA month, the Centers for Student Engagement were able to uplift Asian–American voices while providing a welcoming environment for discussion of topics that impact all students on campus.

Events like these are essential in building a supportive community where students feel welcome. 

True to the Centers for Student Engagement mission, their APIDA Movie Night was one which provided an in-depth examination into a multi-faceted experience shared by many FIU students. 

Facilitating conversations about these experiences helps the FIU community grow stronger than ever.

To ensure you don’t miss out on the Centers for Student Engagement’s next event you can visit their website where they list upcoming events for the heritage months throughout the year.

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