Academy Celebrates AAPIH Month and Pride Month

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

May marks two celebrations at Mercersburg Academy: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIH) and Pride (LGBTQIA+) Month. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni will contribute to the festivities through May 31.

In honor of AAPIH Month, the school will host events to celebrate AAPI-identifying students. Some of the events include Asian meals in the dining hall inspired by student-submitted recipes, Asian movie nights, flag representation, and more. Students also look forward to hearing from Asian-identifying parents and alumni through virtual presentations.

“I am looking forward to AAPIH Month because I would love to share my culture with our community!” says Joie Xiao ’22, who lives in Shanghai, China. “This celebration is important because we need to raise awareness of the increasing hate crimes toward the Asian community within the U.S. and speak out against xenophobia and anti-Asian racism. I hope students and faculty members can become more aware of anti-Asian sentiments within the nation and take more notice of racism and microaggressions toward Asians within the school’s community. I also hope that students will learn about and hopefully appreciate the diverse Asian cultures that significantly enrich our community.”

On May 25, five alumni shared their experiences as Asian Americans at Mercersburg and in the world today as part of a school meeting. Participants included Masroor Ahmed '99, the CFO of the Illinois- and Texas-based firm Symetria Recovery; Ji Kim '95, a senior data analyst at TargetSmart Communications in Washington, who has worked for the Democratic National Committee; Jennifer Nelson '13, a New York City-based professional dancer and actor who works for Mirror; Karen Pak Oppenheimer '93, a member of Mercersburg's Board of Regents and a principal for San Francisco-based Pandefense Advisory; and Bill Su '88, P '23, a vascular surgeon in Hagerstown, MD.

For Pride Month, which falls in June but will be celebrated while students are together on campus in May, events include a coffee house with queer music, poetry, and LGBTQIA+ trivia, a just dance game night, Pride decorations, and queer history posters.

“Pride is about visibility, and it’s a positive visibility,” says faculty member Christian Bancroft. “Queer history contains so many devastating moments—being sent to concentration camps during World War II, police brutality, systematic oppression, HIV/AIDS, and the Orlando shooting, among many others. Pride is about celebrating us: who we are and what we’re about. Queer people have this amazing resilience, even when faced with hardship and setbacks. We are amazing; we are impressive; we are powerful; we are love. Honey, we’re queer, and we’re here!” 

Check back throughout the month to see how Mercersburg's celebrations unfold. To learn more about Mercersburg’s initiatives surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion, visit this web page.