Flowing, wavy background of three stripes in mustard, purple and a deep teal bracketed by large, pink 5 petaled flowers around the edges.

Celebrating APIDA Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American Heritage Month

APIDA Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month which uplifts and honors the identities, experiences, histories and cultures of Asian Pacific Islander and Desi-identified individuals.

APIDA is a pan-ethnic classification that intentionally includes South Asians (Desi) as part of the community along with those in the community of East Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander heritage. APIDA represents a diverse community of more than 50 ethnic groups and includes all people of Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander ancestry who trace their origins to the countries, states, jurisdictions and/or the diasporic communities of these geographic regions.

The APIDA Heritage Month Planning committee has coordinated a month of events that celebrates and honors APIDA communities, but also unpacks the label APIDA to allow for a deeper conversation and understanding of the many different cultures and ethnic groups included under the term APIDA. We hope that through your attendance at these events you engage with community and learn about how to support APIDA communities.

Thank You

A special thank you to the APIDA Heritage Month Planning Committee for your hard work, organization, and commitment to providing important programming to the community.  

APIDA Heritage Month Planning Committee Members: 

  • Tulea Enochs, Administrative Assistant  
  • Shrija Ghandi, ESC Advocacy Coordinator  
  • Chelsea Joefield, ESC Club Advisor & Program Manager  
  • Erin Magarro, ESC Cultural Program Coordinator  
  • Alexandra Rodgers, Resident Director  
  • Bryce Sasaki, Academic Support Coordinator 
  • Shalini Singh, Diversity Recruiter & Retention Specialist 
  • Jeremy Wang, Academic Support Coordinator  
  • Amy Salinas Westmoreland, Director of Multicultural Student Services 

What does APIDA mean to you?

A less traveled forested path.

As we celebrate APIDA Heritage Month, we invite you to think about

“What does APIDA mean to you?”

History of APIDA Heritage Month

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. Most of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants. Please visit the Asian Pacific Heritage website to learn more about this month.

APIDA history is an important part of the American experience, and we encourage our community to celebrate and learn about the achievements, hardships and sacrifices of APIDA people that deserve to be explored. 

A woodblock print of a blossoming yellow lotus flower

Support our Student Clubs

Support our student clubs as they celebrate their culture and community during their heritage dinners. Information for how to purchase tickets can be found on the WIN website.

April 29, 2023 - Vietnamese Student Association

May 6, 2023 -  Korean Student Association

May 13, 2023 -  Filipino American Student Association

May 27, 2023 -  Pacific Islander Student Association

Resources and Reading

A Special Thank You to our Community Sponsors

Bellingham Public Schools logo
PeaceHealth depicting a blue square with the outline of a dove inside it.
Bellingham Technical College
Whatcom Community College
Northwest Indian College
Western Washington University
City of Bellingham, Washington


Amy Westmoreland, Director of Multicultural Student Services, Western Washington University