OMA set up its table outside the BPSC and had materials to make leis and a bowl of facts open to take or read. This was the first time OMA held an event for Asian Pacific American Heritage month, and they hope to continue to bring awareness to the student body.
Some of the facts in the bowl included, “In 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month” and “1.5 million of Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone or in combination are residents of the United States as of 2016.”
Planning for the table started back in the fall semester as well as throughout the spring semester.
“One of the reasons why we’ve never been able to celebrate it before is because Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month is in the month of May, which in the past we’ve always ran into complications because it’s usually during dead week or right there towards the end,” said Jalon Berry, assistant director of OMA. “So, this year we were like ‘we’re just going to do it on the first. May 1 before Dead Week so that we can get it in and celebrate it.’”
Another reason for hosting this table is to bring attention to the Asian population at SFA. Student ambassador Vanessa Huynh says that it’s also important to bring awareness to different types of Asians.
“Not all Asians are the same; there’s just different types of Asians,” Huynh said. “And also, it’s important to know that there are Asian pacific islanders out there and not just Chinese, Vietnamese and like Korean and all. Like there’s actually like Hawaiian, Tonga, Samoan...”
OMA wants to cover all the different cultures and not just focus on one over the others. That way, they can make sure people not only learn about other cultures but get a fun activity out of it that they will associate the meaning with.
“For me, I talk a lot about like the Latinx people because I myself am Latinx,” said Andrea Flores, student ambassador. “But I really don’t know enough about this community. So, I think it’s going to be really cool for other people to learn about it as well because there isn’t a lot of this population on campus, but it’s still important to raise their voice.”
The main message that OMA hopes people took from this table was students taking the time to learn about other cultures.
“If you’re unsure about any race or any culture, be sure to do your research before voicing anything. Just respect each culture and race,” Huynh said.