The University of Iowa

In Solidarity with Asians and Pacific Islanders in America

In Solidarity with Asians and Pacific Islanders in America and headshots of some panelists and organizers

April 28, 2021 | 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. CST

Presented by International Programs, the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, College of Dentistry: International Affairs and Programs Committee, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, the Office for DEI, and Tippie College of Business

Hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are on the rise. Current reports of harassment and challenges experienced by AAPI individuals across the country reflect a historical legacy of anti-Asian sentiments that impacts us today. What resources are available to address anti-AAPI biases and violence? What can we do to support AAPI communities? 
This webinar was presented to demonstrate solidarity with Asians and Pacific Islanders in America as we work towards confronting these problems to embrace our shared humanity.

Click here to access the recording


“How We Can Prevent History from Repeating Itself: Addressing Anti-Asian Discrimination and Supporting Asian Youth”

This presentation covered the prevalence and impact of COVID-19-related-anti-Asian discrimination, the brief history of anti-Asian discrimination, pervasive biases and prejudice on Asians: “perpetual foreigners” and “model minority,” the impact of pervasive bias and prejudice on Asians-- mental health effects and structural inequalities, and action plans to form solidarity with AAPI. 

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H. Chris Hahm

H. Chris Hahm, Ph.D., LCSW, Chair and Professor, Boston University, School of Social Work, Social Research Department

Dr. Chris Hahm is Chair and Professor at Boston University, School of Social Work.  She bridges epidemiology, theory building, and intervention development in order to better understand the causes of depression, self-harm, and suicidal behaviors among Asian American population. Her research includes randomized clinical trials, survey research, qualitative research, and large database studies.  She has developed and a culturally grounded interventions called, AWARE (Asian American Women’s Action in Resilience and Empowerment) and Youth AWARE, which have been implemented in colleges and high schools.

"Understanding Hate Against Asian Americans"

In response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Stop AAPI Hate was formed and collected 3,795 incident reports from March 19, 2020, to February 28, 2021. This presentation will cover incidents reported nationally and in the central regions of the United States. Stop AAPI Hate will lift real stories and incidents while diving deeper into the reports of the types of discrimination and bias, location of incidents, and targeted ethnicities. 

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Eunice Kim


Eunice Kim, MPA, Program Manager at Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that addresses anti-Asian racism and xenophobia amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Eunice received a Bachelor of Arts in Asian American Studies from SF State in 2017, then received a Master of Public Administration degree from SF State in 2020. Throughout Eunice’s career, her work consistently aligned with civic engagement, advocacy, and public administration. Eunice identifies as a first generation Korean American, and was born and raised in Monterey Bay.



"Languages as Bond and Barrier"

Language serves important functions beyond the obvious one of direct communication.  At conscious and unconscious levels, we use language as a kind of diagnostic to assess and judge others.  A particular language can bring about bonding between people, but it can also be used as a barrier to separate, reduce, and reject others.  This is true both for languages we know and those we don’t, whether in everyday life or in more formal situations such as courts, classrooms, and commercial settings.  Through observation and analysis of particular examples, we can better recognize these dynamics and how they might influence our perceptions and behaviors.

Mark Platt


Martin Platt, PhD., has worked as a translator and interpreter for Southeast Asian languages in courts and hospitals since 1989, primarily in Thai and Lao, but also Indonesian, Burmese, and Hmong.  He was Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Copenhagen University, where he taught languages, literature, history, and other subjects for twelve years.  His book, Isan Writers, Thai Literature: Writing and Regionalism in Modern Thailand, was published in 2013.  Currently he is an independent researcher, translator, and consultant.

Organizers and Co-Sponsors

Cynthia Chou

Cynthia Chou, Ph.D., dr.phil., is Professor of Anthropology, C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family Chair Professor of Asian Studies and the incumbent Director, Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Iowa. She received her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom in 1994 and was awarded in 2011 the highest Danish academic degree of dr.phil. by the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in recognition of her work on the orang suku laut (people of the sea) in the Malay World. Her research interests focus on center-periphery relations, indigenous communities and the relationship between movement and identity constructions, having worked as a social anthropologist of Southeast Asia for over 30 years. Her publications include Breast Cancer Meanings: Journeys across Asia (2018),  The Orang Suku Laut of Riau, Indonesia: The Inalienable Gift of Territory (2010) and Indonesian Sea Nomads: Money, Magic, and Fear of the Orang Suku Laut of Riau (2003).

Maria Marcela Hernandez

Maria Marcela Hernández, D.D.S., M.S., MBA. is from Bogota-Colombia where she received her D.D.S. degree from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. She obtained her MS degree and Certificate in Operative Dentistry from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in 2001 and her MBA degree from Tippie College of Business in 2019. She joined the University of Iowa College of Dentistry as a faculty in 2003 where she is currently Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Family Dentistry. Dr. Hernández is a Diplomate of the American Board of Operative Dentistry. Her expertise focuses in Cariology and Minimal Invasive Dentistry with emphasis in Esthetics. Dr. Hernández serves as a Chair of the International Affairs and Program Committee at the College of Dentistry.  

Dongwang Liu is Associate Director of the University of Iowa Center for Asian and Pacific Studies. He coordinates lectures, workshops and conferences sponsored by the center. He manages grant projects and facilitates exchanges between the University of Iowa and institutions in Asia. He teaches as an adjunct faculty on family studies and Chinese popular culture.  


Michelle McQuistan

Michelle McQuistan, DDS, MS, is Associate Professor and Officer for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She received her DDS and MS in Dental Public Health from the University of Iowa and completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry certificate program at the University of Florida-Jacksonville Clinic. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health and is past-president of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry. Dr. McQuistan’s research focuses on access to care issues with an interest in 2 main areas: oral health literacy, and dental students’ and dentists’ willingness to treat underserved populations.


Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy

Natalia Restrepo-Kennedy, DDS, MS, is Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Operative Dentistry, and Chair for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Clinics. She received her DDS from the University CES, Medellin Colombia and her MS in Oral Science and Certificate in Operative Dentistry in 2012.  She is a Qualified Dentist from the AADSM for Sleep Apnea, since 2020. She has a heavy teaching component with predoctoral students and participates in the Faculty General Practice with patients.  Her interests are teaching in the operative and biomaterial course, longevity of direct restorations, whitening, the application of caries management in the pre-clinical and clinical components, and sleep apnea in dentistry.


Gabriela Rivera

Gabriela Rivera, MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs, a Mexican immigrant and first-generation college student. She received her master degree in higher education and students affairs from the College of Education at the University of Iowa. She worked as an admissions counselor in the Office of Admissions, multicultural specialist at the Center for Diversity & Enrichment and currently serves as an Associate Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Tippie College of Business. She has been a co-chair and member of the UI Latinx Council at the University of Iowa and has advised the Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, one of the Latina sororities at the University of Iowa. At the state level, Gabriela co-chaired the Strengthening and Valuing Latino/a Communities in the state of Iowa Conference and the Latinx Youth Summit. She is a recipient of the Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award, the Susan Buckley Distinguished Achievement Award, the Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Advocacy and was selected as an inductee for the Latino Hall of Fame at the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs and the Iowa Department of Human Rights. Gabriela is the co-founder of the chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council in Iowa City founded in 2013. She lives in Coralville with her husband Diego, son Omar, and two daughters, Isabel, and Camila.


Shaoping Zhang

Shaoping Zhang, DDS, MS, PhD., is Assistant Professor in the Periodontics Department at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry (UI-COD). He is an active member in the International Affairs and Programs Committee in the College of Dentistry. He received his dentistry degree in China and Ph.D degree in Oral Biology at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry (UNC-CH). He completed his residency training in Periodontology and received his MS degree at UNC-CH. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. Dr. Shaoping Zhang’s research primarily focuses on the genetic risks for periodontal inflammation and biological assessment of a novel periodontal profile classification.


UI Collaborators

  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Religious Studies
  • Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • International Studies Program
  • Global Health Studies Program
  • Pan Asian Council
  • Department of Surgery, Carver College of Medicine
  • Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies
  • Asian American Student Union
  • Department of Communication Studies
  • Obermann Center for Advanced Studies
  • College of Public Health
  • College of Pharmacy
  • College of Nursing
  • Carver College of Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • UI Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Asian Pacific American Cultural Center (APACC)
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of History
  • School of Art and Art History
  • School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Department of Linguistics
  • Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences

Community Collaborators

  • Iowa City Foreign Relations Council
  • Saint Thomas More Parish, Stephen Ministry
  • Alliant Energy


Report an Incident

Resources to Educate

  • AAJC with Hollaback! free Bystander Intervention Trainings to stop ani-Asian/American and xenophobic harassment
  • PBS Asian Americans  is a five-hour film series that casts a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role Asian Americans have played in shaping the nation’s story.
  • PBS Chinese Exclusion Act film. Examine the origin, history and impact of the 1882 law that made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America and for Chinese nationals already here ever to become U.S. citizens. The first in a long line of acts targeting the Chinese for exclusion, it remained in force for more than 60 years. This film sheds a light on the important connections between the Chinese Exclusion Act and the history of American civil liberties, immigration, and culture. By examining the socio-economic and geo-political forces that led to the Act, the film will uncover its unmistakable and wide-ranging consequences on national attitudes towards race, culture, politics, and society. At its core, this is a film about American identity, tracing the arc of what has defined being American from the time the United States was a fledgling republic through its astronomical rise as a world superpower.
  • publication, Anti-Racism for Kids: An Age-by-Age Guide to Fighting Hate

Course Offerings

Department of Anthropology, University of Iowa

  • ANTH:1101: Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH:3133: Anthropology of Race 
  • ANTH:3308: Human Variation
  • ANTH:2136: Race, Place, & Power: Urban Anthropology