DEI Digest Summer 2022

The 2022 summer edition of the DEI Digest covers the topics of Pride week, Juneteenth, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, and much more.

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Bridgewater College Publication

Summer 2022

DEI Digest

Commemorating Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month

Our diversity digest for this summer focuses on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. Before we dive into the history of AANHPI month and recognize some trailblazing people, it is important to note that the month of June commemorates two themes – Pride Month & Juneteenth celebrations. June is Celebrated as LGBTQI+ Pride Month The genesis of celebrating June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Pride Month is related to the Stonewall Uprising of June 1969 which took place in Manhattan, New York. In the United States initially celebrations were held on the last Sunday in June to honor the memory of the Stonewall Uprising. Over the years however, the one-day celebrations have evolved to become a month-long celebration which usually includes a series of events.

In This Issue

Pride Month


Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month

Today Pride month is celebrated all over the globe during the month of June. Pride month gives members of the LGBTQI+ community an opportunity to shine light on the issues that community members face in the present times. This month also helps educate everyone on the historical and present- day circumstances of the LGBTQI+ community. Pride

Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Dr. Gauri A. Pitale, Associate Dean Anna Cho, Assistant Director Dr. Robbie Miller, Chaplain Contact:

Follow the rainbow to your home away from home. This PrideMonth, BC affirms its commitment to equality and an inclusive community—a core value that leads to a connected campus community.

month is a time when allies of the LGBTQI+ community can march with community members to support their ongoing struggles and show solidarity. LGBTQI+ Pride month was first proclaimed by President Bill Clinton in June of 1999. This has been continued by President Joe Biden who proclaimed June 2022 to be LGBTQI+ Pride Month this year.

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In his Presidential Proclamation, President Biden stated, “ Today, the rights of LGBTQI+ Americans are under relentless attack. Members of the LGBTQI+ community — especially people of color and trans people — continue to face discrimination and cruel, persistent efforts to undermine their human rights. An onslaught of dangerous anti- LGBTQI+ legislation has been introduced and passed in States across the country, targeting transgender children and their parents and interfering with their access to health care. These unconscionable attacks have left countless LGBTQI+ families in fear and pain. All of this compounded has been especially difficult on LGBTQI+ youth, 45% of whom seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year — a devastating reality that our Nation must work urgently to address. ”

The “Model Minority” Myth Today people belonging to the AANHPI group are viewed as the “model minority”. This term was coined in 1966 by an article written by William Petersen titled “Success Story: Japanese American Style”. In his article Petersen states, “ Japanese cultures have strong work ethics and family values... These values prevent them from being a problem minority ”. Petersen’s article attributes the successes of Japanese Americans in America, a mere 20 years after World War II, to their cultural values, their family structures, their genetics, and their work ethic. This article was written after the 1965 Moynihan Report which alleged that the issues faced by African Americans in the United States of America was related to their culture and family structure.

Anti-Asian Hate Crimes in the United States

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti- Asian hate crimes are on the rise in the United States of America. The hate crimes against Asians have risen in the past two years by 164% according to a study done by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. Cases are on the rise with elderly Asian people being willfully hurt by being physically shoved, slashed, slapped, set on fire, or shot across the country. The increase in crimes is related to blaming Asians for the spread of COVID-19. Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based organization, has received more than 2,800 hate incident reports and has recorded almost 7,000 hate incidents that involved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This sudden increase in anti-Asian hate crimes has resulted in Congress passing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on May 20, 2021.

The “model minority” myth is problematic and in the present day AANHPIs vociferously fight against this stereotype for two main reasons. One, such a stereotype pits AANHPIs against other minorities and distracts from the reality of institutionalized racism. And second, because as Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Acting Director Jeanny Kim said, “ This stereotype has plagued our communities for a long time... Its longstanding use is not only homogenizing but also harmful to Asian Pacific Americans whose experiences are not reflected in the stereotype. ” The model minority myth disregards the struggles faced by AANHPIs and the discrimination and institutionalized racism that they combat on a day-to-day basis. As a result, many AANHPIs have started fighting this stereotype.

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Summer 2022 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

was constructed mainly by Asian immigrant workers, in May of 1869, and to mark the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States in May of 1843. In October of 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed a resolution to make this a week-long celebration. This was further extended to include the entire month of May in 1990 when President George H. W. Bush signed a bill passed by the Congress. Since then, every year the sitting President proclaims May as the Asian American and Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Heritage Month. During the AANHPI heritage month, community festivals, educational activities, and celebrations that involve expression of ethnic wear, dances, martial arts, and food samplings take place all across the United States of America. In his proclamation this year, President Biden stated, “ This month, we celebrate our fellow Americans from Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities and pay tribute to all they have done to help fulfill the promise of America for all. Together, let us recommit ourselves to building a country in which every American — regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what they look like — has an equal opportunity to thrive .”

Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month is celebrated during the month of May. This month commemorates the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the culture of the United States of America. In June 1977, a resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives to proclaim the first 10 days of the month of May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen in remembrance of the completion of transcontinental railroad, which

Juneteenth Celebrations Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day when more than 200,000 slaves were issued freedom due to a regiment of Union army soldiers reaching Galveston Bay, Texas. This day has hitherto been referred to as “Juneteenth” as it was named by the newly freed people in Texas. Juneteenth is a holiday that is celebrated by the African American community in the United States of America. Many refer to Juneteenth as the second Independence Day of the United States of America. Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday on January 1, 1980. On June 19, 2021, President Joe Biden signed legisla­ tion to make Juneteenth a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States of America. This is the first federal holiday to be declared since the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

When President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, he stated in his remarks that, “ Juneteenth marks both the long, hard night of slavery and subjugation, and a promise of a brighter morning to come. This is a day of profound — in my view — profound weight and profound power. A day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take — what I’ve long called “America’s original sin.”… By making June­ teenth a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day, and learn from our history, and celebrate progress, and grapple with the distance we’ve come but the distance we have to travel… ”

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Famous Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders Heritage People

AANHPI have contributed a great deal to the history and achievements in United States of America. In this digest we will focus on a few famous AANHPI people.

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) A Chinese American physicist, Wu was born in a small town near Shanghai and went on to study physics at the University of Shanghai. She came to America in 1936 to pursue advanced education and completed her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1940. Wu joined the Manhattan Project at Columbia University in 1944. Wu is well- known for having won several awards and for having made significant contributions to the field of nuclear and particle physics throughout her career. She is credited to have been the first physicist who confirmed Enrico Fermi’s theory of beta decay. Her research is also known to have helped clarify confusion regarding sickle cell disease. Wu is also referred to as the “First Lady of Physics” and the “Queen of Nuclear Research”.

George Takei (born: 1937) A Japanese American actor and activist, George Takei was born to Japanese-American immigrants. Between the ages of 5 to 9, Takei was imprisoned in one of the Japanese internment camps. He has vowed never to allow that history to be forgotten, lest is be repeated. Takei is a prominent LGBTQI+ rights activist. He came out as gay in 2005. Takei became famous when he took on the role of Sulu in Gene Roden­ berry’s Star Trek television series in 1965. At that time, Takei was a one of the few Asian Americans who was prominently featured in a tele­ vision series. Since then, he has appeared in many different roles. For his humanitarian and activist work, Takei has won several awards and accolades.

Ajay Bhatt (born: 1957) Born in India, Ajay Bhatt is an Indian-born American computer architect who has developed several technologies that are widely used today. Bhatt attended Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda. He came to America to pursue a graduate degree and to that end he completed a master’s from the City University of New York. He has since worked with Intel. Bhatt is famous for developing and defining PCI Express, AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port), and is most well-known for having invented the USB (Universal Serial Bus). Today Bhatt holds 132 international and U.S. patents with more in filing status at the moment.

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Summer 2022

Japanese Internment Camps Established during World War II, the Japanese internment camps were created as result of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. These internment camps forcefully relocated thousands of Japanese Americans, including U.S. citizens, and incarcerated them in isolated camps between the years 1942 and 1946. The formation of Japanese internment camps, also referred to as concentration camps, were a direct result of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. War Department alleged that Japanese Americans could act as spies for the Japanese government and therefore justified relocating them into internment camps. In March 1942, the U.S. government formed the federal War Relocation Authority (WRA). The mission of WRA was to, “ take all people of Japanese descent into custody, surround them with troops, prevent them from buying land, and return them to their former homes at the close of the war .”

The Japanese internment camps caused incredible amount of hardship for Japanese Americans. The conditions in the camp were not healthy. Most internees faced monetary and property losses. There have been recorded cases of violence occurring in the internment camps. In 1946, the last Japanese internment camp was closed. However, Executive Order 9066 was not officially repealed until 1976 by President Gerald Ford. The younger generation of Japanese Americans in 1960s joined the efforts nationwide during the civil

rights movement and began the “Redress Movement” which called for an apology and reparations by the U.S. federal government. In 1988, a formal apology was issued by the Congress which passed the Civil Liberties Act and awarded over 80,000 Japanese Americans with $20,000 as reparations for their treatment. Japanese internment camps resulted in the egregious treatment of Japanese Americans and remains till date one of the most blatant violations of American civil rights.

Discrimination Faced by AANHPI People AANHPIs have been migrating to the United States of America since the mid-nineteenth century. Their history is fraught with discrimination, mistreatment, and harassment. This continues in the present day with the rise in hate crimes against AANHPIs in recent years. To understand the present circumstances, it is important to note AANHPI history.

industry. Chinese immigrants were hired to construct American’s first Transcontinental Railroad after receiving very few responses from white laborers to the jobs advertised. From 1865 to 1869, Chinese migrants worked at a breakneck pace in dangerous working conditions to complete construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Many workers died from accidents and diseases at this time due to being paid lower wages than white laborers and being made to do the most dangerous tasks. Additionally, historical sources inform us that these laborers also were at times physically abused by their supervisors.

The first group of Asian migrants who arrived in significant numbers to the United States were Chinese immigrants in the mid-1800s. These Chinese immigrants arrived first to work in the gold mines. They subsequently went on to do take jobs in the agricultural sector, factories, and garment

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Bridgewater College

Where are Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders from?


I Asian Population Was the Fastes -


Group from 200 -


Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander American Indian and Alaska Native

African American


Total resident population: 16.3

Source: 2000 to 2010 Intercensal Estimates (2000-2009) and Vintage 2019 Estimates (2010-2019)

According to the U.S. Census Bureau people of Asian descent are classified as, “ A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.” Native Hawaiian and

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Summer 2022

Pacific Islanders are classified as, “A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands .” There are 22.9 million Asian Americans in the United States of America and 1.6 million Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders in the United States of America according to the 2019 census. AANHPI are one of the fastest growing population groups in the United States of America in the present day. The AANHPI community in the United States is very diverse with people tracing their roots to more than twenty countries, each with unique histories, languages, cultural behaviors, dressing patterns, and cuisines. AANHPI heritage month gives educators a good opportunity to learn more about the people belonging to this group, their history in the United States of America, and the bias and discrimination that they face even today in the United States of America.

Chinese Exclusion Acts

skilled and unskilled laborers was expanded to further include Hawaii and Philippines. After this, the Chinese Exclusion Act was indefinitely extended by Congress until it was repealed in 1943. The Chinese Exclusion Act marks one of the first immigration restrictions put into place against a specific nationality. This act would go down in history as the precedent used by the United States government to restrict the migration of specific ethnicities and nationalities in the future. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Immigration Act of 1924 which was one of the most stringent U.S. immigration policies to have been drawn until that time. This act restricted immigration of “undesirable” groups such as Middle Easterners, Hindus, East Indians, and Japanese to the United States of America.

As the number of Chinese immigrants in the United States rose, they went on to become entrepreneurs. At this point, people began to be concerned about maintaining the white “racial purity” in America and demanded that the Chinese not be allowed to enter the United States of America despite only being .002% of the nation’s population at that time. This led to an anti-Chinese sentiment that grew across the United States of America. The result was a passing of a series of legislations that sought to curb immigration of the Chinese to the United States of America which came to be known as the Chinese Exclusion Acts. In 1879, a legislation was passed in Congress that limited the number of Chinese people who arrived in America to fifteen people per ship. In 1880, a new treaty was negotiated with China that restricted Chinese immigration to the United States of America. Finally, in 1882, President Chester A. Arthur passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which suspended the immigration of any skilled or unskilled Chinese laborers for a period of 10 years. Any Chinese person who entered the United States of America had to carry a certificate that identified their status. In 1888, the Scott act was passed which prevented Chinese immigrants from reentering America if they visited China. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was renewed in 1892 and the prohibition of the entry of

Content Creator and Researcher Dr. Gauri A. Pitale Contact her at if you have any questions. Designer Martha Ray Library Liaisons Taylor Baugher & Vickie Montigaud-Green

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For more information on the subject addressed in this issue of the DEI Digest or to find out more about the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, visit

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