Chinese dragon and lion dance celebration.

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at CU Denver and In the Community

May 17, 2022

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, an annual celebration that recognizes the broad historical, political, scientific, cultural, and artistic contributions of Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. In alignment with CU Denver’s 2030 Strategic Plan goal of becoming the nation’s first equity-serving institution, our university continues to invest time, money, and resources into initiatives that support AAPI students, faculty, and staff through the AANAPISI (Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution) Operational Team, led by Assistant Vice Chancellor Sam Kim.   

Though CU Denver celebrates AAPI Heritage Month in April to encourage student involvement before the semester ends, we’ve compiled a list of ways to honor the AAPI community and get involved through May and the summer.  

“CU Denver recognizes the importance of celebrating AAPI Heritage Month because it honors the contributions, influence, and enriching traditions of our AAPI students,” said Sam Kim, assistant vice chancellor for student community. “Throughout May, CU Denver encourages everyone to come together to honor and celebrate the history, accomplishments, and culture of these crucial communities.”

CU Denver-Related Events  

To commemorate AAPI Heritage Month, the CU Denver Ethnic Studies Department and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Continuing & Professional Education (CPE) has partnered with The Clayton Members Club to present an interactive evening of spoken word and acapella hip hop exploring the nature of roots May 31, 6-7:30 p.m. The “Roots & Wander” event, located at OAK Market at The Clayton and free and open to the public, features award-winning poet and rapper Meta Sarmiento, a Guam-born Filipino now based in Aurora, Colorado, whose work mines themes of cultural and political identity, climate change, masculinity, and love.  

Two CU Denver faculty members, Boram Jeong, assistant professor of philosophy, and Chad Shomura, assistant professor of ethnic studies, are curators in the art exhibit and conversation on Asian American show Invisible/Hypervisible, at the Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder, CO, May 20 to July 16, including an artists’ talk May 20, at 4:30 p.m., followed by a 5 p.m. reception.  

Events and Happenings in Denver 

Coined by 5280 Magazine as “one of Colorado’s greatest festivals,” this year’s Colorado Dragon Boat Festival at Sloan’s Lake Park is themed #representASIAN. The two-day festival on July 23 and 24 at 1700 N Sheridan Blvd. features a dragon boat competition with more than 50 teams, as well as five performing arts stages with nearly 100 shows, an Asian Marketplace featuring gifts, artwork, crafts and novelties, a Taste of Asia Food Court showcasing some of the area’s favorite Asian restaurants and chefs, a traditional lion dance, and more. 

Denver is home to many beloved Asian American and Pacific Islander businesses, restaurants, nonprofits, and more. Show support this month and throughout the year by stopping by one of these establishments