From the first wave of Asian immigrants in the 1850s to modern refugee crises in a globally-connected world, an epic new film from PBS examines Asian Americans’ contributions to our country’s past, present, and future. Join us for the online screening and live panel discussion with a diverse panel from Erie’s Asian community on Thursday, June 11th at 6:30. "Asian Americans" is presented in partnership with the Erie Asian Pacific American Association (APAA) WQLN Public Media, Erie’s NPR and PBS affiliate station, and Erie Arts & Culture.
We encourage our followers to tune into the screening to learn about how Asian Americans have helped shape America - from the first wave of Asian immigrants in the 1850s to modern refugees - and get a new perspective on what it means to pursue the American dream. The full documentary is available for viewing online now and it has also aired on WQLN. During the panel discussion, we will screen excerpts from the documentary to frame specific conversations.
Panel Discussion: Thursday, June 11 at 6:30
About "Asian Americans":
"Asian Americans" is a new five-hour film series from PBS that examines the lives and personal stories of what the 2010 US Census identifies as “the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States.” The film delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever. As America becomes more diverse, and more divided, while facing unimaginable challenges, how do we move forward together? Told through intimate and personal stories, the series casts a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played in shaping the nation’s identity.
The release of this series is timely. 2020 is a Census year, and the City of Erie and Erie County are working diligently to ensure a full count. You can participate in this year’s count by telephone (844-330-2020) or online. The current self-response rate in the City of Erie is only at 54%, with the response rate in Erie County at 63%. And unfortunately, the majority of Census Tracts within the urban core are reporting only between 30 and 50%. We need everyone living in Erie - every infant and child, college student and senior citizen, foreign and U.S. citizen - to be counted.
Meet the panelists:
Dr. Shafiqur Rahman (Moderator)
Shafiqur Rahman is a Professor Emeritus in the Physics Department at Allegheny College in northwest Pennsylvania. He left Bangladesh for Germany in 1973 for his undergraduate education. He came to the US in 1978 for his PhD, and has lived in this country since then. His research is in the area of Statistical Physics (large scale computer simulation of complex systems). He has received three Demmler Awards for Innovative Teaching. He has offered an outreach program (SuperScience) for the local High School students for the last three decades. He is currently writing a romantic novel based on his memoirs from undergraduate years in Germany about love shattered by East-West politics during the Cold War (supported by a grant through the Mellon Foundation).
Dr. Anjali Sahay
Dr. Anjali Sahay is an educator, leader, author, researcher, and a performing artist in Indian classical dance who works at Gannon University as Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations. Her book titled: Indian Diaspora in the United States: Brain Drain or Gain? visits the migration of skilled professionals from India to the United States with a new lens receiving both national and international recognition . Originally from India, Dr. Sahay received her PhD. From Old Dominion University in International Studies in 2006 and holds additional masters in History and Business Administration. Passionate about serving the AAPI communities, she is serving a 2nd term on Governor Wolf's Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and serves on the Executive Committee of the Indian Association of Greater Erie.
Dr. Jingze Jiang
Dr. Jingze Jiang is an Associate Professor of Economics at Edinboro University. She received her Master in Statistics and Ph.D. in Economics from Washington State University in 2013, and Bachelor in Finance from Shanghai University in China in 2009. Her passion for sustainability influences many areas of her life, inspires her to develop new research projects, and pursue challenging research problems. She has developed nationally recognized research projects in energy financial economics and environmental economics, which may potentially support the revitalization of older industrial cities. Dr. Jiang has important policy and outreach contributions in environmental economics, especially plastic pollution reduction.
Brittany Fisher was born in Hawaii and mostly grew up in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. Her father is Japanese and her mother is Korean. Brittany graduated from Lehigh University with a Bachelors (’16) and Masters (’17) degree in mechanical engineering, and currently works for Wabtec Corporation (formerly GE Transportation) as a gear systems engineer. She is a member of Wabtec’s Asian Pacific American Forum as a community leader and is also a member of Erie Asian Pacific American Association as a country representative for Japan.
Nandu Subedi came to Erie from Bhutan as a refugee in 2008. He currently manages resettlement programs at Catholic Charities Counseling and Adoption Services. Additionally, Nadu runs a small chocolate store, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, inside the Millcreek Mall and owns dozens of rental properties in town. He is an active volunteer of the Bhutanese community and works as a community liaison to coordinate with the greater Erie community.
Mr. Harjinder Sabherwal has been a part of the Erie community since 1970 and is one of the first people from India to come to this area. He is the owner of Rite Sight Opticals and has been an active member of the Indian community.
Walter Ang is the author of "Barangay to Broadway: Filipino American Theater History." Currently, he covers the Filipino American Theater for Inquirer.net. His writing has appeared in Philippine Daily Inquirer, Asian Dragon Magazine, Metro Magazine, and other publications. Ang consults on marketing communications (public relations, social media, event management, advertising, etc. across online, print, broadcast, and on-ground media).
Niken Astari Carpenter
Niken Astari Carpenter serves as the City of Erie’s New American Liaison. Immigrating to Erie in 2011 to be with her husband Allan Carpenter, Niken was born and raised in Surabaya, Indonesia. She graduated from the Law Faculty of the University of Indonesia in 2003 and served as a judge in her home country. She also has a Master of Project Management degree from Pennsylvania State University. Niken has taught as an adjunct professor of Asian Studies at Mercyhurst University. She also served as the Executive Assistant to Mayor Joe Schember and the City of Erie’s Refugee and Immigrant Liaison from January 2018 to January 2020. She was also a part of the Jefferson Civic Leadership Academy Class of 2016, serves as a Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific and American Affairs, and is an active member of the Erie Branch of American Association of University Women (AAUW). Niken is also one of the Keepers of One Table, Erie’s interfaith and multicultural bridge builder, a group that has embraced her as a Muslim immigrant woman.
Major funding for ASIAN AMERICANS is provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB); Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); Wallace H. Coulter Foundation; Ford Foundation/JustFilms; National Endowment for the Humanities; The Freeman Foundation; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; Carnegie Corporation of New York; Kay Family Foundation; Long Family Foundation; Spring Wang; and California Humanities.
Erie Arts and Culture is a proud fiscal sponsor of the Erie APAA. The Erie APAA was also a recipient of Erie Arts & Culture's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award.
For more information about The Erie APAA, follow their Facebook account here.