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HOLLAND, Mich. — May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate Americans who hail from the Asian continent and Pacific Islands.
The Holland Museum is hosting a panel discussion Thursday night about the Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the West Michigan community.
The AAPI community in West Michigan is a thriving, growing population.
The intent of the panel discussion is to showcase their culture and history, but also to address ongoing issues.
Ace Marasigan, the founder of the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival and one of the panelists, says the goal of the discussion is to start a conversation. Marasigan believes by inviting people in to listen and learn, it will break barriers and build bridges.
During the pandemic, there was a rise in anti-Asian rhetoric across the country. A number of Stop Asian Hate rallies were held in Grand Rapids, and although there haven’t been any this year, Marasigan says racism is still a concern.
“We have to bring people together. And that’s where we can first start talking about the rise of the Asian hate, you know, when we have the allies to back us up to really listen to our story. That’s what we’re working on this year,” Marasigan said. 
The panel discussion is from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Holland Museum. The event is free, but registration is required. To learn more or to register, click here.
This won’t be your only opportunity to learn more about the AAPI community. The Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival returns June 10-11.
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