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Celebrasia celebrates Asian cultural diversity

Nearly 100 students gathered to celebrate Asian and Asian-American cultures at the annual Celebrasia event at on April 13 in Pearce Hall room 127.

The grand finale of Central Michigan University’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Celebrasia, was hosted by the Asian Cultural Organization. The festivity showcased different cultures and talents of students with Asian heritage through song, dance, choreographed fights, fashion and more.

“(Celebrasia is) nice because it’s all of us coming together and enjoying our rich history and culture,” said Wyandotte sophomore Tiffany Nguyen, head of the planning committee. “(We’re) showcasing (diversity) and being appreciative that we are still able to touch on that.”

Nguyen spoke with tears in her eyes about a recent incident with United Airlines. A flight passenger, David Dou, was removed from his seat on an overbooked flight and brutally beaten in the process. Because the theme for this year’s heritage month was solidarity, members of Asian Cultural Organization felt it was an important to kick off the event by discussing this news.

“We all thought it was something we should mention because we want to make sure we are student advocates and we want to stay true to our mission statement,” Nguyen said.

The celebration was split into two parts, with a 10-minute intermission in between. Both acts featured various solo, duet and group song and dance performances. Singers performed in either English or in their native language.

Vietnam senior Tina Nguyen was a featured performer, who sang "How Far I'll go" from the movie Moana. She also performed with a trio of students that rapped and sang the song "Grind."

Hawaii freshman Lorenzo Aleman recited slam poetry in three consecutive pieces during Celebrasia. There was also a fashion show at the event, showcasing attire from China, Vietnam, Korea and the Philippines. Sophomore Alison Veresh wore a quipao, which is a traditional Chinese wear.

One performance featured a duet between Vietnam junior Nam Le and his girlfriend Vietnam freshman Thao Nguyen. Le sang “City of Stars” with Nguyen, as he played the ukulele. He sang the Vietnamese song "Ong Ba Ahn" in a solo later in the show.

“I performed because it was an occasion to showcase my talent,” Le said. “By showcasing our culture, we are helping to advocate for diversity on campus”.

Another performer was Vietnam sophomore Hung Chan Tran, who participated in two different types of sets. In the first act, he sang “It’s only my World” by YB, and demonstrated a freestyle dance in the second.

Tran said he is most passionate about dancing and enjoys performing because he wants to share his passion with everyone.

Two Detroit seniors, Husayn Jaber and Terrance McCoy, demonstrated a choreographed fight called “Black Rose,” where the performers fought to intense music while acting as characters in a story being shown to the crowd on a screen behind them.

During a taekwondo exhibition, senior three students demonstrated tactics as they broke wooden boards and concrete slabs with hand strikes and kicks. The audience vocally responded in awe.

This was the first time sophomore Gabrielle Espinoza attended Celebrasia. She said it was an engaging way to expose students to new and different cultures.

"Events like this are important for diversity," Espinoza said. "It allows people be more cultured and see all the cultures that are here."