College celebrates Asian and Pacific Islander Month at proclamation

Photo by Erica Meline

The term Asian and Pacific Islander encompasses a vast range of people and cultures, each rich in history and tradition. To celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander communities and people and all the contributions they have made, Ramapo college will be celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander Month throughout April.

To commence the events, the Office of Equity and Diversity held the Asian and Pacific Islander Month Proclamation this past Monday, complete with a performance by Nalani Maile.

Chief Diversity Officer of Ramapo College Nicole Morgan-Agard read the proclamation, expressing the immense appreciation the campus has for Asian and Pacific Islander people and recognizing the contributions they have made throughout history.

“We want to continue to strive in creating a diverse and culturally enriched community for our college and acknowledge Asian and Pacific Islanders and people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent represented within our student body and other capacities,” said Morgan-Agard.

According to the U.S. Census, Asian and Pacific Islander refers to “all people of Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander ancestry.” This includes a multitude of regions and territories, and each or which carries their own unique traditions and culture. This is why Morgan-Agard announced that the theme for Asian and Pacific Islander Month this year will be “stronger together.”

“We want to emphasize community, diversity and the amazing differences and similarities that make each group unique,” said Morgan-Agard.

After Morgan-Agard concluded speaking, Maile came out to perform two types of dances: the first a Tahitian style and the second a Hawaiian Hula. Maile’s performance was beautiful and the audience seemed riveted by her dance moves.

Dressed in a purple hula skirt and equipped with instruments, Maile’s dancing was an immersion into a new culture for many in attendance. After completing two dances, Maile asked for some volunteers to come up and dance with her.

While the attendees appeared hesitant at first, some brave students decided to join Maile. Maile started by teaching them basic hula steps, instructing them how to properly sway their hips and move to the music.

Throughout the song, Maile would throw in symbolic motions for the students to mimic. These motions represent things like palm trees, flowers, rain, waves and the island.

Maile’s performance was the ideal way to initiate Asian and Pacific Islander Month. Throughout April, the campus will be holding events aimed at celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander culture and honoring people of this descent.

To find out more about the month’s festivities, email