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Events planned all month to honor Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage

Highlights include dance, music, food demonstrations, readings, movies and more

The group Jun Daiko performs the art of taiko, or Japanese drumming, with friends outside Mountain View City Hall on April 11, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Dozens of events to honor Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month kicked off in Palo Alto on May 1, with celebrations planned during the next four weeks that will include films, a virtual conversation with basketball star Jeremy Lin about growing up Asian in Palo Alto, martial arts, dance and music performances, a cook-along demonstration and discussions with experts regarding the impacts of hate and violence against the AAPI community.

The events, which are being organized by members of the community and the city of Palo Alto, will be virtual with the exception of the Movie in the Park showing of "Mulan" on May 21. Pre-registration is online.

"The point is to celebrate the lives of the different immigrants who have come to America and all the contributions they have brought and helped to make what became our country. The road where we are now came at a price for many," said City Council member Lydia Kou, who has spearheaded the celebration.

In the face of recent hate incidents and crimes throughout the nation against Asians, the monthlong celebration offers opportunities to share culture, history and remembrances and to feel pride in one's heritage, she said.

"Rallies are great, but by having these events, people get to kind of hear each other and learn something. We can hear other sides of the stories and have a different relationship with each other. And people will know they are not alone," she said. "I think this is also great to just make it fun and not be angry."

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Some events will also focus on youth.

Palo Alto City Council member Lydia Kou. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

"There are some traditions we still hold, and we wanted youth to be proud of their heritage," she said.

One program she thinks will resonate with people is called "Lunchbox Moments." Asian authors will share their stories about their relationship with food and cultural identity.

When her daughters went to school, Kou sometimes would give them dumplings to take for lunch. Although they loved eating them at home, they wouldn't eat them at school.

"They were embarrassed by the smell," she said.

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Kou said she is excited by the outpouring of interest and contributions from many members of the community.

The events reflect traditions, cultures and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and from the Asian diaspora, including from China, Japan, Korea and India.

Martial arts students in the intermediate level class at United Studios of Self Defense in Palo Alto on Oct. 4, 2017. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Other events include:

Friday, May 7:

Library Family Storytime — Asian-themed stories, songs and rhymes from favorite librarians, 11 a.m.

Saturday, May 8:

Tai Chi with Master Nelson Ng — Chinese martial arts and exercise, 10-11 a.m.

Taekwondo — Korean martial arts with Master Eungsub Kim, 11-11:50 a.m.

Tuesday, May 11:

Pre-World War II Poetry of Chinese, Japanese and Korean immigrants with a comparison — lecture by Charles Egan, Ph.D., chair, Department of Modern Languages and Literature, San Francisco State University, 7-8:15 p.m.

Thursday, May 13:

Virtual Author Event — Samantha Mui, author of Melting Pot: Stories and recipes from a Chinese American daydreamer," 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 15:

Tai Chi with Master Nelson Ng — Chinese martial arts and exercise, 10-11 a.m.

HELP: Honoring Elderly Lives with Prevention and Awareness — With self-defense instructor Charlie Smith. Preventative practices for safe living, community resources and basic self-defense strategies and building understanding of how to respond, with access to credible resources, 2-3:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 16:

Violin concert with Sruti Sarathy — Carnatic violinist, singer and composer performing Indian music, 2-2:45 p.m.

Yoga for Wellbeing with Venki Venkatesh, yoga practice, 3-4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 19:

Library Family Storytime — Asian-themed stories, songs and rhymes from favorite librarians, 11 a.m.

Indo Raga Jazz— performance by Ramya Shankar, 3:30-4 p.m.

Raga Music, Pop and Jazz — music by the Raga Monsters, 4-5 p.m.

Growing Up Asian in Palo Alto — Youth Community Service will host a discussion for youth, and Jeremy Lin will talk about his own experiences, 6-7 p.m.

A Difficult Place — Psychiatrist Dr. Rona Hu, associate dean of academic affairs at Stanford University School of Medicine, will discuss the difficult place many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are in due to the increase in hate crimes, 7-8:30 p.m.

Friday, May 21:

Movie in the Park: Mulan — The first summer movie in Mitchell Park South Field, 6 p.m.

Sunday, May 23:

Cook-along with Vittal Shetty — Chef and co-founder of Jalsa hosts an Indian cuisine cooking demonstration, 3-3:45 p.m.

Bharatanatyam Dance — Performance by Varsha Sankar, traditional dance of India, 4-4:45 p.m.

Ragas and Rhythms Workshop — An introduction to ragas and rhythms rooted in Indian classical music, with the Raga Monsters, 5-6 p.m.

Monday, May 24:

Library Family Storytime — Asian-themed stories, songs and rhymes from favorite librarians, 11 a.m.

Tuesday, May 25:

An Evening with Taru Maeda and Taiko drumming — General Consul of Japan live discussion and performance by San Jose Taiko Dojo, with a Q&A session to follow, 5-6:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 27:

Virtual Author Event — Jeanette Arakawa, author of "The Little Exile." Co-hosted by The Bill Lane Center for the American West. The author is donating copies of the book to add to the Palo Alto Library collection and to give away at Mitchell Park and Rinconada libraries, 7 p.m.

Friday, May 28:

AAPI Children's Books Live Gallery — A live gallery show in which children are invited to share any art or writing projects completed during AAPI month in connection with a recommended booklist, 5-6 p.m. See the city's website at cityofpaloalto.org/aapi for details.

Sunday, May 30:

Lunchbox Moments: What's in Your Lunchbox? — Readings on food and cultural identity from Lunchbox Moments Zine. Works by Asian American and Pacific Islander artists and writers exploring the AAPI relationships with food and cultural identity to include and transcend literal school lunch narratives centered on shame, 11 a.m.

Our Story of War and Remembrance: Chinese American WWII Veterans of the China-Burma-India Theatre — Online film, 1:30 p.m.

Korean dance — Mesook Ko and Korean Culture Center-Urisawe Inc. students and members will perform traditional Korean traditional dance and music, 3-4 p.m.

To find out more about the activities and to register, visit cityofpaloalto.org/aapi or lydiakou.com/calendar.

In addition to these events, county Supervisor Joe Simitian and the nonprofit Asian Americans for Community Involvement are hosting three virtual discussions with Asian American and Pacific Islander panelists on May 13, May 20 and May 27, 6:30-8 p.m. For more information on the series, "Understanding the Asian American and Pacific Islander Experience," and/or to register, visit sccgov.org.

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Events planned all month to honor Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage

Highlights include dance, music, food demonstrations, readings, movies and more

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, May 7, 2021, 7:00 am

Dozens of events to honor Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month kicked off in Palo Alto on May 1, with celebrations planned during the next four weeks that will include films, a virtual conversation with basketball star Jeremy Lin about growing up Asian in Palo Alto, martial arts, dance and music performances, a cook-along demonstration and discussions with experts regarding the impacts of hate and violence against the AAPI community.

The events, which are being organized by members of the community and the city of Palo Alto, will be virtual with the exception of the Movie in the Park showing of "Mulan" on May 21. Pre-registration is online.

"The point is to celebrate the lives of the different immigrants who have come to America and all the contributions they have brought and helped to make what became our country. The road where we are now came at a price for many," said City Council member Lydia Kou, who has spearheaded the celebration.

In the face of recent hate incidents and crimes throughout the nation against Asians, the monthlong celebration offers opportunities to share culture, history and remembrances and to feel pride in one's heritage, she said.

"Rallies are great, but by having these events, people get to kind of hear each other and learn something. We can hear other sides of the stories and have a different relationship with each other. And people will know they are not alone," she said. "I think this is also great to just make it fun and not be angry."

Some events will also focus on youth.

"There are some traditions we still hold, and we wanted youth to be proud of their heritage," she said.

One program she thinks will resonate with people is called "Lunchbox Moments." Asian authors will share their stories about their relationship with food and cultural identity.

When her daughters went to school, Kou sometimes would give them dumplings to take for lunch. Although they loved eating them at home, they wouldn't eat them at school.

"They were embarrassed by the smell," she said.

Kou said she is excited by the outpouring of interest and contributions from many members of the community.

The events reflect traditions, cultures and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and from the Asian diaspora, including from China, Japan, Korea and India.

Other events include:

Friday, May 7:

Library Family Storytime — Asian-themed stories, songs and rhymes from favorite librarians, 11 a.m.

Saturday, May 8:

Tai Chi with Master Nelson Ng — Chinese martial arts and exercise, 10-11 a.m.

Taekwondo — Korean martial arts with Master Eungsub Kim, 11-11:50 a.m.

Tuesday, May 11:

Pre-World War II Poetry of Chinese, Japanese and Korean immigrants with a comparison — lecture by Charles Egan, Ph.D., chair, Department of Modern Languages and Literature, San Francisco State University, 7-8:15 p.m.

Thursday, May 13:

Virtual Author Event — Samantha Mui, author of Melting Pot: Stories and recipes from a Chinese American daydreamer," 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 15:

Tai Chi with Master Nelson Ng — Chinese martial arts and exercise, 10-11 a.m.

HELP: Honoring Elderly Lives with Prevention and Awareness — With self-defense instructor Charlie Smith. Preventative practices for safe living, community resources and basic self-defense strategies and building understanding of how to respond, with access to credible resources, 2-3:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 16:

Violin concert with Sruti Sarathy — Carnatic violinist, singer and composer performing Indian music, 2-2:45 p.m.

Yoga for Wellbeing with Venki Venkatesh, yoga practice, 3-4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 19:

Library Family Storytime — Asian-themed stories, songs and rhymes from favorite librarians, 11 a.m.

Indo Raga Jazz— performance by Ramya Shankar, 3:30-4 p.m.

Raga Music, Pop and Jazz — music by the Raga Monsters, 4-5 p.m.

Growing Up Asian in Palo Alto — Youth Community Service will host a discussion for youth, and Jeremy Lin will talk about his own experiences, 6-7 p.m.

A Difficult Place — Psychiatrist Dr. Rona Hu, associate dean of academic affairs at Stanford University School of Medicine, will discuss the difficult place many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are in due to the increase in hate crimes, 7-8:30 p.m.

Friday, May 21:

Movie in the Park: Mulan — The first summer movie in Mitchell Park South Field, 6 p.m.

Sunday, May 23:

Cook-along with Vittal Shetty — Chef and co-founder of Jalsa hosts an Indian cuisine cooking demonstration, 3-3:45 p.m.

Bharatanatyam Dance — Performance by Varsha Sankar, traditional dance of India, 4-4:45 p.m.

Ragas and Rhythms Workshop — An introduction to ragas and rhythms rooted in Indian classical music, with the Raga Monsters, 5-6 p.m.

Monday, May 24:

Library Family Storytime — Asian-themed stories, songs and rhymes from favorite librarians, 11 a.m.

Tuesday, May 25:

An Evening with Taru Maeda and Taiko drumming — General Consul of Japan live discussion and performance by San Jose Taiko Dojo, with a Q&A session to follow, 5-6:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 27:

Virtual Author Event — Jeanette Arakawa, author of "The Little Exile." Co-hosted by The Bill Lane Center for the American West. The author is donating copies of the book to add to the Palo Alto Library collection and to give away at Mitchell Park and Rinconada libraries, 7 p.m.

Friday, May 28:

AAPI Children's Books Live Gallery — A live gallery show in which children are invited to share any art or writing projects completed during AAPI month in connection with a recommended booklist, 5-6 p.m. See the city's website at cityofpaloalto.org/aapi for details.

Sunday, May 30:

Lunchbox Moments: What's in Your Lunchbox? — Readings on food and cultural identity from Lunchbox Moments Zine. Works by Asian American and Pacific Islander artists and writers exploring the AAPI relationships with food and cultural identity to include and transcend literal school lunch narratives centered on shame, 11 a.m.

Our Story of War and Remembrance: Chinese American WWII Veterans of the China-Burma-India Theatre — Online film, 1:30 p.m.

Korean dance — Mesook Ko and Korean Culture Center-Urisawe Inc. students and members will perform traditional Korean traditional dance and music, 3-4 p.m.

To find out more about the activities and to register, visit cityofpaloalto.org/aapi or lydiakou.com/calendar.

In addition to these events, county Supervisor Joe Simitian and the nonprofit Asian Americans for Community Involvement are hosting three virtual discussions with Asian American and Pacific Islander panelists on May 13, May 20 and May 27, 6:30-8 p.m. For more information on the series, "Understanding the Asian American and Pacific Islander Experience," and/or to register, visit sccgov.org.

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