Roughly 45 different ethnicities fall under the continental designation Asian, including Filipinos, Vietnamese, Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, Korean and Japanese peoples. This week, UCSB’s Asian/Pacific Islander Culture Week celebrates both diversity and cohesion within that community.
Subtitled “Mosaic: A Week When Fragmented and Broken Pieces of Glass Come Together to Reflect the Asian-American Experience,” the week is meant to be a testament to the miscommunication and division within the Asian-American student body on campus.
“We’ve sort of become subdivided into our specific ethnic groups,” Asian Resource Center intern and event organizer Anne Luong said. “The week will hopefully show that we share a lot of similarities and we’re capable of working together.”
An afternoon barbecue at Goleta Beach on Sunday kicked off the week of events with speakers, talent shows, film screenings, food festivals and workshops. Organized by the ARC and funded mostly by Associated Students, the week is designed to bring together a number of Asian-American groups on campus, including Kapatirang Pilipino, the Chinese Student Association and Korean Student Association.
“Asian culture is overlooked by the greater American culture, and this week is meant to show our interpretation of our culture as a first generation for people to see,” Luong said. “It’s really amazing to have a week of events like these here.”
A lack of communication, highlighted by the disbanding of the Asian/Pacific Student Union last school year, prompted organizers from the various Asian-Pacific/Islander student groups to restructure their events in order to have a more cohesive celebration.
“This year’s Asian/Pacific Islander Culture Week is a testament to the Asian-American struggle,” ARC intern and lead organizer Roland Navarro said. “We make up 16 percent of the university population, or almost 3,000 undergraduates on campus, but within that 16 percent we are a community of misunderstood division.”
The Lantern Festival is the week’s largest event and will feature dance and art from representatives of over 30 Asian-Pacific Islander student clubs and organizations at UCSB. It will touch on recent community events, most notably the recent protest and boycott of Abercrombie & Fitch clothing. At the event, which takes place at 4 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion on Thursday, vendors will be selling shirts with slogans such as “Not a stereotype” and “Asian … not Oriental.”
“It is offensive,” Luong said. “It was making fun of our history.”
The rest of the week is also packed with numerous cultural events designed to highlight different aspects of Asian/Pacific Islander culture.
“The whole week will hopefully bring a greater Asian cultural awareness to this campus, because there isn’t any,” Korean Student Association President Robin Choi said. “It’s meant to be about expressing each individual Asian culture.”
On Monday, “Unsigned Hype,” a collection of music, digital video, slam poetry, spoken word and dance, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Multicultural Center after a day of workshops and a dessert potluck. On Tuesday, UC Berkeley Asian-American Studies professor Ling-Chi Wang will lead a discussion about the 1999 trial of Wen Ho Lee and Asian-American civil rights at 2 p.m. in the MCC Theater.
The Asian-American Faculty and Staff Association will celebrate its 12th annual Spring Banquet in Corwin Pavilion at 6 p.m., shortly before the Queer Sensitivity Workshop at 8 p.m., which will bring together the A.S. Queer Commission and ARC.
Yuri Kochiyama, a friend of the late Malcolm X and a highly regarded leader in Asian-American political movements, will deliver the week’s keynote speech Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion.
On Thursday, the Academic Affairs Board will co-host “What We Want and Need From UCSB,” a forum in which students may voice their wants and needs to the board.
The week concludes with Taiko drumming from the UCLA Taiko Drumming Team in Storke Plaza on Friday, as well as “Shakuhachi: Music of the Japanese Bamboo Flute,” in the MCC Theater at 8 p.m.
“Its very important for us to reach out to the students here,” Chinese American Association President Justin Yu said. “Some people are afraid of what they don’t know, or at least very curious.”