Thousands gathered at the Lane County Fairgrounds to shop, eat and learn about the vast array of cultures of Asia for the Feb. 15 Asian Celebration, an all-volunteer event.
All proceeds fund the event.
Former ASLCC treasurer Matthew Yook, who chaired the community room for this event, emphasized the importance of having events like the Asian Celebration to bring communities together.
“A lot of Asian culture gets propped up as a model minority,” Yook said. “But then you look at the word Asian and see what that entails.”
Yook said there is much more to the festival than Chinese and Japanese culture; Pacific Islanders, Indians and others were also represented.
“It’s real integral that people realize there’s so many different facets in the same communities (in which) we’re all living,” Yook said. “And if we can check out the significances of our cultural differences and look how similar the root is, then that would create a style of empathy.”
The event also showcased a variety of demonstrations, including martial arts, dance, music and food tutorials from various Eugene businesses and organizations.
Lane dance students, under the direction of Lane dance instructor Bonnie Simoa, performed traditional Balinese dance on the main stage in the Asian Marketplace. Members of the group plan to travel to Bali through a study-abroad opportunity.
Asian-Pacific Islander Student Union representative Tiffany Akerele told visitors about the union and performed a hula dance.
The club offers not only offers students with Asian and Pacific Island heritage a place to feel welcomed, but also open to the community, Akerele said.
This union also offers summer programs called “Rites of Passage,” available to junior high school and high school students interested in learning about Hawaiian tradition and culture. There, students learn to hula, play the ukulele and take special field trips.
“We’re a community union, so we try to embrace that. We’re here, representing LCC, but we are an identity group, and you’re not alone,” Akerele said. “If you are entering (into Lane), we’re here to support you.”