Asian Night shares diversity

Asian+Night+shares+diversity

Thea Gonzales

Asian Night enlightened students and faculty alike about the importance of embracing Asian cultures through cultural food and dances on Saturday, Dec. 10 in the Gavle Rooms.
As the Asian Student Organization’s biggest annual event for the last five years, Asian Night has been a gathering of people from all over the world to learn more about diversity and inclusion, particularly of people from Asian cultures.
“Diversity is a really important issue that everyone — not only Augie but America in general– is trying to emphasize and embrace now. It is important to embrace diversity because it helps you understand others who are different from you in terms of background and culture,” Ny Ny Le, president of the ASO, said. “Once you can understand people, you learn how to treat them appropriately: in the same way that you would like to be treated. If you understood someone, you wouldn’t be offended if they did something which is different from your culture or your beliefs.”
This year, the Asian Student Organization’s focus has been on being more inclusive of South Asian countries that do not traditionally receive the same representation as East Asian countries.
“Generally, when people think of Asians, they think of chopsticks, sushi, and China. We have been focusing on major East Asian countries like China, Japan, and Korea. But this year, we are trying to include more South Asian countries like India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. This Asian Night is going to be different from last year,” Le said.
To teach students about Asian cultures, presentations were given about seven different countries in Asia: China, Japan, Korea, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Vietnam. These presentations would include that country’s geography and regions, fashion, and cuisine — some of which was available for students to eat after the slides– and were given by multicultural students, international students, and even some students who studied abroad.
Asian Night also featured a performance from UNYK, the multicultural dance group on campus, and dances from the Filipino-American Association of Illinois-Iowa: Quad-Cities after Vice-President of the ASO, Mykea Johnson, emphasized the significance of reaching out to the community as a campus.
“Coming from someone who has a multi-racial background, I think people need to be more understanding of other people and understand the issues that they have. Just be more aware– there’s nothing wrong with being more aware.” Johnson said, “Even with the Augie community, there’s this Augie Bubble. I feel like people don’t get too involved in the community– they just stay within the campus. We’re students here and we’re trying to get our educations but we need to take what we’re learning here and take that into the community. The community is so diverse, and it doesn’t make sense how many small pockets of different individuals we have here, so I think that as students, we need to be getting more involved in the community.”
Antonio Bernas of the Filipino-American Association thanked ASO for inviting the social-cultural group to Asian Night and for recognizing diversity in a place of learning.
“I think we don’t have to go very far in preserving Filipino values: our children were born here. We should appreciate the Philippines and tell them where they came from and talk about our past and identity,” Bernas said. “But at the same time, we have to appreciate other countries telling the same stories. We’re all a part of the world, so I think diversity builds up more of a personal character to know what’s going on than just being on your own. Otherwise, you become a person with no past.”