MU hosts first Asian American Awareness Month

Twenty-one events will be held over the course of the month.
Senior Joey Huynh listens to instructions to a game during the Asian American Association Barbecue on Monday at South Memorial Union. This year AAA is celebrating Asian Awareness Month for a full month, instead of a week as it did last year.

A week wasn’t enough to hold MU’s Asian American programming.

The university is hosting its first ever Asian American Awareness Month throughout April.

“My freshman year when it was Asian American Awareness Week, it was really just AAA planning and coordinating all of the events,” Asian American Association President Christyona Pham said. “Since my freshman year, we’ve had a lot more Asian-interest groups come about and get stronger.”

Because of this, she said the organizations oftentimes had trouble fitting all of the events they’d hoped to host into just one week. As a result, they didn’t have as many programs.

“It just came to the point where there weren’t enough days for everyone,” Pham said.

The month’s programming began Monday with a Kick-Off dinner held in Memorial Union. About 30 people showed up to the event, which was originally slated to be a barbeque outside but was held inside because of the cold temperatures.

Monday’s dinner was one of 21 events being hosted throughout the month. Hereandnow, an Asian American theatre troupe, is making a stop at MU on Thursday. This is an event that has Pham particularly excited.

“I’ve heard from many student leaders from across the Midwest who have brought them say they’re really good,” Pham said. “I’ve never personally seen them, but everyone seems very excited for them to come.”

Friday, the South Asian Students Association will host its second bone marrow drive of the year.

“The low matching rate among minorities is problematic especially when a large majority of the population is considered a minority,” SASA member and event organizer Sheela Lal said. “Lymphoma and other lymphatic diseases hit people from all ethnicities. Registering to potentially donate as a minority will make a difference.”

On April 18 on Lowry Mall, AAA will host an Asian Street Market, which will feature food from seven Asian countries spanning Vietnam, Korea and China.

“I’m excited, but kind of scared, for the Asian Street Market because that’s the one I’m in charge of,” AAA webmaster Danny Poon said. “They’ve done it the past few years.”

Later in the month, Mike Song, a former member of the Kaba Modern dance crew on the first season of “America’s Best Dance Crew,” will be hosting a dance workshop in the Student Recreation Complex.

The Filipino American Students Association and AAA are bringing Abet Lardizabal, a Filipina American spoken word artist and singer, and Vida Benvides, who is the founder of APIAVote, an organization aimed to promote civic participation amongs the Asian American community.

Jason Yang, a YouTube electric violin celebrity, will perform April 28.

The conglomeration of events is sure to make for an interesting and exciting month, AAA External Vice President Avy Kea said.

“I don’t have just one event that I’m more excited for than any of the others,” Kea said. “We all worked so hard to plan the whole month. We really hope that it all will have a great turnout. This kind of redefines AAA. It shows us that we can do more than just a week.”

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