Asian-American Month Showcases Diversity Among Asian Cultures
April 5, 2017
Fresno City College will celebrate its annual Asian-American month this April.
The month-long celebration kicked off with the two hour long Celebration Night Show on March 31, which featured drum group Clovis Heiwa Taiko, guitarist Kevin Fox, dancer He Guiping, and other cultural groups. Proceeds from the show help fund Asians In the City (AITC) events held later in the month.
The skit “How Do I End?” was performed by FCC staff to end the Celebration Night Show. This skit was the end of a trilogy that has been performed for the last two years and told the story of redemption for the “evil Asian dean” played by John Cho.
Cho, an Asian-American Studies instructor at Fresno City College, has been an organizer for Asian-American Month for nearly 14 years.
“We started out with Asian-American week and gradually added more events until it became a full month,” said Cho.
This month the campus can expect 15 separate events, including a performance from The Slants, AITC Student Film Festival, AITC Booklet Reception and Asian Fest.
The Slants, an all-Asian dance-rock group, performed on April 3. Before the performance, the band’s founder Simon Tam spoke on the band’s journey to the U.S. Supreme court while trying to get the band’s name trademarked.
Both the AITC Student Film Festival on April 22 and the Booklet Reception on April 28 will showcase artistic work from students.
The Student Film Festival, a new addition to Asian-American month organized by Cho and Michael Takeda, encourages students to try their hand at making short films and offers cash prizes to its winners. The festival also features guest speaker Tyler Wong. Wong is an assistant editor to A&E Network’s original TV series “Born This Way,” which is a documentary series featuring adults who live with Down Syndrome.
The Book Reception shows students’ work in poetry, art, photography, fiction and nonfiction writing in a single booklet. Attendees can receive a free copy of the booklet and meet the writers and artists involved in making the piece.
“This booklet is Asian themed, but the contributors don’t have to be Asian,” said Cho. “We’re also trying to branch out so that it’s not just FCC students contributing; so far we have a few submissions from Fresno State students and one from a high school as well.”
Asian-American Month celebrations will wrap up with Asian Fest on April 29. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will feature a variety of live cultural performances, a vendor’s fair, anime alley and much more.
“Asian Fest is like a combination of Asian-American month in a sense that it’s our chance to give back to the community,” said Cho. “It’s a free event and we usually get over 2,000 people that show up; it’s a great way to end the month.”
According to Cho, celebrating Asian-American month serves a dual purpose. “For the people of Asian background, we want them to be proud of their cultural and ethnic heritage,” said Cho. “We also want to engage and welcome non-Asians, so that everybody fits in. It’s important for everyone to work together.”