With an increasing prevalence of anti-Asian racism and violence occurring across the country coupled with laid-back COVID-19 guidelines in response to low case numbers and expanded vaccination efforts, the month of April, Asian Heritage Month, is important.
Although Asian Heritage Month begins May 1, due to the lack of school days and campus activity occurring during May, the Intercultural Center has events planned throughout April.
“Asian Heritage Month is a good platform for all of the Asian student organizations on campus to come together to collaborate and promote all of the special events that they put on during the spring,” said Wake Forest Law School student Ishani Kumbar, a member of the Asian Heritage Month Committee.
ive time for a lot of Asian communities,” Kumbar continued, “so it’s just a good way to highlight all of those events and share them with the campus.”
Despite the heightened xenophobia that has become apparent in our society in recent months, junior Justin Cabiltes, a member of the Asian Student Interest Group (A.S.I.A.), states that he and other club members have become increasingly proactive in organizing events.
“My role in A.S.I.A. has increased after a rise of violence against Asians,” Cabiltes said. “I’ve seen myself develop from a typical, ordinary member to someone who has wanted to take on a bigger role in planning and coordinating events.”
Kumbar further highlighted the importance of these events.
“We want to emphasize what festivals are about and showcase our culture for what it is,” Kumbar said. “We want to stray away from misconceptions or misunderstandings that people may view in regards to our cultures.”
Cabiltes agreed, saying, “I want more people to learn about the different Asian cultures, not just the main ones that people typically think about like China or Japan. I would like for more attention to go to places such as Bangladesh, Indonesia or the Philippines. I just hope that everyone can get a little taste of Asia, especially the parts of Asia that aren’t often most talked about.”
With numerous events happening on campus, many students learn to embrace their own cultures and also navigate through various spaces with open minds to learn more about shared customs that they may not be familiar with.
Coupled with the possibility of trying out different foods, learning more about various religions, competing in trivia and gaining information about how to combat Asian-American hate, students at Wake Forest are provided the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and gain knowledge about other cultures.
“I just really hope people keep an open mind about what our events are about and participate because we have put a lot of work into every little event, whether it’s something small and virtual or in person,” Kumbar said. “I think the people who organize these are very passionate about their culture, and it’s a perfect opportunity to learn firsthand from a student. It’s a friendly, interactive way, rather than just reading about it on your own.”
Events for Asian Heritage Month will continue to be held throughout the rest of April. For information regarding these upcoming events, visit The Link and search for Asian Heritage Month in the search bar.