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English professor and Asian American Studies Program director Josephine Park. 

Credit: Emily Xu

The Asian American Studies Program will be celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this fall. We greet this milestone in brutal times, but with a resurgence of the student activism that launched ASAM in 1996. From then to now, our students have led the way: they enlisted faculty and staff to their cause of making Asian America seen and heard, and, year after year, our extraordinary Undergraduate Advisory Board has taken up the fight. Our alumni have applied the lessons they learned in our classrooms, as they cogently attest in their Letter to the Deans of Arts and Sciences, which features 200-plus testimonials on the value of ASAM to their post-Penn lives.

The future vitality of ASAM requires the University’s renewed commitment. ASAM’s renowned standing faculty must be supported and, critically, retained. The search for multiple new faculty recently announced by the School of Arts and Sciences represents a significant and long-awaited investment in the program, and I am eager to work with departments across the humanities and social sciences to welcome new faculty. ASAM’s exceptional core of staff and lecturers, guided by Associate Director Dr. Fariha Khan, requires adequate support and compensation. Their labor is crucial to the mission of ASAM: to explore Asian American experience in the service of antiracist solidarity.

JOSEPHINE NOCK-HEE PARK is a professor of English and is the director of the Asian American Studies Program. Her email is