Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage month

Photo courtesy of CAB

Many months are used to commemorate events and cultural groups, the month of May being no exception. Originally there was an Asian-Pacific Heritage week in July, however this national recognition expanded into the entire month of May. This month celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage, and Bellevue College seized the opportunity to have a good time with a band and fashion show on May 7 from 10:30 a.m. -12:45 p.m.

The event, called Asian-Pacific Heritage Celebration, began with BC students performing; however, the main event was a reggae band from Seattle, Kore Ionz. Kore Ionz has performed with bands like The Wailer, Steel Pulse and Third World. The featured band just released its second album, “World War Free” in August of 2011. Its lead singer, Daniel Pak, is Hawaiian-born.

“The intention of the music and the message is to give people a glimpse of the truth in a way such that it just might uplift them to go do something to change it,” said Pak in an interview with the Honolulu Weekly. The band’s main focus is to encourage its fans to choose love.

“We know them [Kore Ionz] from the Asian Pacific Heritage Celebration in downtown Seattle. [We] chose Kore Ionz because their music is very inspire[ing] and unique,” said Zeta Chik, Lecture and Awareness Coordinator at BC. “Their songs are very good and educational because one of their music concepts is ‘world war free’. It actually shows the Asian cultures in the music and they have a worldwide group.”

Chik and Nora Lance organized the Asian-Pacific Heritage Celebration. Chik was also the emcee for the event.

“We are glad that [we] can get Kore Ionz, a Seattle local band, to perform in [the] cafeteria…We also found some students …to perform right before them, and [the] Fashion Club help organized and planned the Asian-inspire[d] street fashion show, by Michael Yoon, after the band performed. The whole event last[ed] two hours,” said Chik. The fashion show, headed by Yoon, featured models from different countries and styles unique to the Asian-Pacific culture.

Another event, hosted by Multi-Cultural Services, is coming up on Tuesday, May 15. Titled “Experiences of an Asian American Civil Rights Activist,” this event will feature guest speaker Robert “Uncle Bob” Santos. The son of a Filipino father and a Native American/Filipino mother, Santos grew up in Seattle’s Chinatown in the 1930’s. He became involved in civil rights after returning home from the Marines, and became a spokesman and leader of the movement to save Seattle’s Chinatown and International District in the 1970’s.

Santos has served as the Executive Director of the International District Improvement Association and co-founded the Minority Executive Director’s Coalition. Santos will be speaking in D106 from 9:30 a.m.-10:20 a.m.

Officially known as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, May recognizes more than 24 ethnic groups from countries such as China, the Philippines, North and South Korea, Singapore and Japan. Among these countries, more than a dozen different languages are spoken.