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COCC sets events to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon Community College is celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a lineup of free virtual activities for the community throughout May.

Organized by the college’s department of diversity and inclusion, the events include a discussion with veterans and historians on Asian American contributions throughout U.S. history and a panel talk with community leaders, including Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang. For complete details and to register and receive the event links, visit

“We’re excited and honored to host these important events, to help Central Oregon celebrate and recognize our Asian American and Pacific Islander community members,” said Dr. Laurie Chesley, president of COCC. “It’s a chance to engage in understanding and advocating, which is particularly important at this current moment.”

First in the program’s lineup is an event titled “Acknowledging Asian American Contributions: Awareness of Mutual Struggles and Successes Quells Anti-Asian Hate,” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 6. Guest presenters will discuss contributions made by Asian communities that have helped the advancement of the United States, from the first transcontinental railroad to how Asian Americans served in all branches of service during World War II.

At 5 p.m. on Monday, May 10, a panel talk titled “Addressing Issues AAPI Communities are Facing Nationally and in Central Oregon” will include Central Oregon leaders to discuss issues that are currently impacting these groups. On the panel: Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang, Bend City Councilor Rita Schenkelberg, Ami Zepnewski, an educator for the Bend-La Pine School District and a member of the Restorative Justice & Equity Group, and student Miina McCown, a writer for The Broadside, COCC’s student-run newspaper.

On May 14 and 15, free online access will be made available to the Academy Award-winning film “Minari,” with streaming time accessible from 3:30-7:30 p.m. on both days, intended as a chance to encourage community screening parties. The film follows a Korean American family as they move to an Arkansas farm in search of the American dream. Contact for this limited-availability link.

COCC’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month lineup concludes with a study-abroad seminar for those considering studying in Asia (or elsewhere), at noon on Wednesday, May 19. Join two COCC faculty members with experience in studying and living abroad to learn about options for studying in Asia, with a look at the benefits of a global education and a host of resources to pursue international education. Contact for this Zoom link.

For information on any of these events, contact Christy Walker, director of diversity and inclusion at COCC, at or 541-383-7412.

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