Many events celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander Awareness Month are happening at Cal Poly through the Multicultural Center and Student Life and Leadership.
There have been three events so far: The Lantern Festival was held on May 5; The “Children of the Camps” screening about survivors from the Japanese interment camps was held May 8 and the Furoshiki craft event on May 10 explored the art of Japanese cloth wrapping.
Multicultural Center director Renoda Campbell chose the events, except for the annual Lantern Festival, based on student opinions and requests. She chose “Children of the Camps” because few students knew about the Japanese internment camps in the United States.
Business senior Shariq Hashmi facilitated the discussion after the event. “We talked about the issues that turned up in the camp and how they extended to today,” she said.
Issues like silencing, the use of a system to silence marginalized groups, were among the topics discussed.
“After the internment camps, people won’t speak about it,” said Hashmi. “It’s a lot like how rape victims feel unable to talk because it’s so sensitive.”
The next event, the 400 year-old tradition of Furoshiki wrapping, stems from the Japanese tradition of wrapping cloth in order to carry things.
“They used the cloth to carry things like plastic bags do before they actually had plastic bags,” Campbell said. “They have folds for about eight different packages using only one set length of cloth.”
Still remaining is a performance by Hereandnow Theater, a troupe of Asian-American actors from many different backgrounds. The 17-year-old troupe performs vignettes about ethnic conflict, political injustice, coming to America and growing up Asian in America through comedy, dance and music.
The group, which will perform with about nine to 12 members, was specifically requested by the students, Campbell said.
Hereandnow was founded in 1988 by John Miyasaki at East Los Angeles College because he and the group of Asian-Americans that joined the troupe were frustrated with the stereotypical roles typically given to Asian-Americans in performing arts. Since then, the troupe has played at over 200 colleges, theaters and festivals.
They are performing tonight at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Pavilion, room 128.
On May 24, there is a showing of “Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula,” a documentary on Hawaii’s oldest all-male hula group. Hula is considered one of the island chain’s best-known, but most misunderstood, traditions. The movie will be shown at 6:30 p.m. in the University Union, room 221.
“When people think of hula, they think of women in grass skirts, but men also play an important role,” Campbell said. “People think hula is ‘sexy’ but it’s really regal and dignified.”