Multicultural Affairs to recognize Asian Americans’ contributions

Alex Traczyk and Alex Traczyk

The first Asian-American Heritage Week at the University will begin April 11.

The purpose of the event is to raise Asian-American awareness and shine light on some of the contributions they have made.

“I don’t want the Asian-Americans to feel invisible on this campus,” said Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs Krishna Han, the man behind the start of this particular Asian-American Heritage Week.

Being the assistant director of Multicultural Affairs, Han believed it was time for the Asian-Americans to be recognized.

Asian-American Heritage Month is the month of May, but since finals are the first week of May, the end of April is the time to get as many students involved as possible, Han said.

There will be many events exploring the past and looking to the future, he said.

“Many racial things happen that are black and white, but the ones in between aren’t noticed as much,” Han said.

The week will start off with a kick-off event that is presented by Lisa Hanasono, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, at 5 p.m. in room 109 of the Education Building. She will talk about how Asian-American identities are portrayed in the media.

Other events include experiencing a Japanese tea ceremony, karaoke and more.

“We’ve been in discussion with Errol Lam who is a retired faculty member, for sometime to how we can raise visibility of Asian Americans on campus and Northwest Ohio,” said Emily Monago, director of Multicultural Affairs.

The University wants to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about other cultures, Monago said.

Monago is hoping to have a broad group of people from all different ethnicities from the entire community.

“This event is a chance to celebrate our differences that make the U.S. the unique place that it is to live,” Monago said.

Christopher Valentino is the graduate student who has helped with coordinating the event, advertising and budget aspects.

Valentino will personally be facilitating two events, Asian-American Stereotypes and Reflections, and The Game of Life: Edition-Japanese Internment.

Being Asian-American and Italian American, Valentino said that his Asian heritage wasn’t a big part of his life until he came to the University.

“We’re hoping to impact as many people as possible,” Valentino said. “From everything I’ve heard about the event, people seem thirsty for the knowledge.”

There are 100 to 150 Asian-Americans on campus, including staff, he said.

“I think this event will be personally enriching to people,” Valentino said.

This will be the first time that Asian American week is portrayed here at the University and Valentino hopes that it is the first of many.