Smile Politely

AAPI Heritage Month Celebration

Contact: Mai-Lin Poon, Assistant Director, Asian American Cultural Center

On May 4, from 1:003:30 p.m. at Japan House, the Asian American Cultural Center and Japan House, cap off AAPI Heritage Month with AsiaFest. AsiaFest is a large pan-Asian celebration to showcase the rich diversity within Asian cultures. Experience the sights and sounds of traditional and modern performances by talented local artists that include Bal Vihar, a local children’s singing group, the Philippine Student Association, RAAS team, Illini Awaazz A Capella, among others. There will also be a Taiko performance featuring Ho Etsu Taiko, Akira, Riya Katogi, and Tiffany Tamaibuchi. People can also enjoy an interactive kimono demonstration inside Japan House. There will also be cooking demonstrations where people can learn to cook and sample some of their favorite dishes.

Children and adults alike will enjoy the interactive cultural educational booths that include calligraphy, ikebana, mendhi, and more! This event is free and open to the public. The Asian American Cultural Center and Japan House proudly sponsor this event and is paid for in part by the University of Illinois Public Engagement Grant.
Please visit our website for a complete list of events.


Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month celebrates the collective accomplishments of the diverse ethnic communities that make up the AAPI population. Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution in 1978 to commemorate Asian American Heritage Week during the first week of May. This date was chosen because two important anniversaries occurred during this time: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (by many Chinese laborers) on May 10, 1869. It was later expanded from a week long to a month long celebration in 1990. Since then, May has been designated as national AAPI Heritage Month, much like Black History and Women’s History Month celebrations.

The Asian American Cultural Center, a unit of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was established in 2005 and now is one of the largest of its kind. It hosts over 1000 events and meetings a year and has over 40 culturally-affiliated student and community organizations.

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