Honoring Black History Month and Lunar New Year

Photo of Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi

Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi is Pacific's vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. 

Dear Pacificans,

Today we welcome the beginning of the Lunar New Year and Black History Month and affirm our commitment to the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion and the promise that we can make a more just and inclusive world.

However, becoming an anti-racist institution takes work. 

We become anti-racist when we honor histories, experiences and voices of diverse groups and communities that may have been overlooked or excluded. We become anti-racist when we are attentive, curious and responsive to the ways sociocultural forces propel some, while impeding others. And we become anti-racist when we view origins with renewed perspectives so we can become our highest and truest selves.

Embracing this spirit of lifelong learning and personal development, I’d like to announce upcoming opportunities for Pacificans to learn and become more knowledgeable in their leadership and practice of DEI. 

Black History Month
Pacific will celebrate Black History Month with many programs and learning opportunities. The following are available to all Pacificans. Visit for more information.

  • Feb 17: Yardie to a Yankee: A one-woman play featuring Sardia Robinson, actress, writer, comedian and producer that tells her life’s story in a transparent and deeply moving way.
  • Feb. 22: Syracuse 8: Level the Playing Field. These members of the Syracuse University football team boycotted the 1970 football season to demand an end to racial discrimination within the football program.
  • Feb. 26: Health Fair/Gospelfest: Pharmacy faculty and students will facilitate a health fair followed by a concert headlined by award-winning band Red Hands and Grammy-nominated gospel artist Anita Wilson.
  • Feb. 28: Christina Elmore: Black Stories Matter. Christina Elmore is a film, television and theater performer who now stars as Maria on BET’s Twenties. Elmore has appeared in many other roles, including Condola on HBO’s Insecure.

Pacific DEI Challenge
Starts Feb. 24 | More information coming soon
Students, faculty and staff will engage in an exciting 10-week challenge designed to spark dialogue, thought and action for anti-racism and inclusivity at Pacific. Each week will be a fun, new opportunity to learn about DEI with a focus on a key social justice topic. Sponsored by: Staff Advisory Council, Academic Council, Associated Students of University of the Pacific (ASuop) and University Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (UCDEI).

Transformative Allyship
Starts today (Feb. 1) at noon through April 19 | Via Zoom
This biweekly lunch-and-learn series is a brave, supportive and nurturing space for white people to deepen their capacity to partner with people of color to create a racially inclusive organization. Open to any employee who self-identifies as white. Facilitators: Elizabeth Trayner (Title IX Coordinator) and Elizabeth Orwin (Dean, School of Engineering and Computer Science), with Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi.

Teaching and Learning Book Club: So You Want to Talk About Race 
Starts Feb. 22 (in person) and Feb. 23 (virtual)
All faculty are invited to join the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) in honest conversations about the ways that racism shows up in our communities and on campus, and how we can be anti-racist in our everyday lives. Books by author Ijeoma Olua will be provided. (Facilitators: Leslie Bayers (CTL), Veronica Wells (Library) and Marisella Guerrero (Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy).

ASuop DEI Cinema Series
Feb.–April in the Janet Leigh Theatre | Flyer and schedule | Virtual gathering space
A series of film screenings to elevate the stories and voices of underrepresented communities while promoting community. Special presentations of independent and foreign films will take place on most Sundays, with an additional three-day Film Festival on the last weekends of February, March and April. Presented by ASuop's Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Lunar New Year: Year of the Tiger
Today is the start of Lunar New Year, which marks the beginning of the calendar year for many East and Southeast Asian countries. In 2022, Lunar New Year lasts from Feb. 1, the first new moon, to Feb. 15, the first full moon, and is a time to bring family and friends together and prepare for a prosperous new year. 

Although this is the Year of the Tiger, it’s important to note that this holiday is not about Pacific or Powercat. As we celebrate and honor the holiday, we do so from a space of appreciation—not appropriation. We must take the time to educate ourselves and each other on history and traditions in order to maintain an inclusive and open community. 

I offer the following guidelines as you create content for your social media channels and encourage you to share them with others: 


  • Recognize the holiday and its history. Many of our students celebrate Lunar New Year and our acknowledgment of it verifies that we see and respect them.
  • Recognize that it is the year of the Tiger.
  • Use these 15 days to celebrate and uplift Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) voices.
  • Ask questions if you’re unsure about what to post or how to phrase something. We are all learning and part of a learning community.


  • Refer to it as “Year of the Powercat” or “Year of Pacific.” This holiday isn’t about our university.
  • Use Lunar New Year to sell or promote anything Pacific or Powercat related.

February is a great time to engage in anti-racist work and learn about other cultures. I can’t wait to hear about what we have learned about others and about ourselves.


Mary J. Wardell-Ghirarduzzi
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer
Professor of Communication