By Kristine “Aster” Medina, Copy Editor

Asian/Pacific Heritage Month was first established as a ten-day event introduced through House Joint Resolution 540 in June of 1977 by Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Mineta of California. Former President George H.W. Bush signed an extension that was passed into law by Congress in 1992 that prolonged the celebration to an entire month. May was selected because of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the country and the completion of the transcontinental railroad that was built by Chinese immigrants.

In this cultural spotlight, The Jade Times honors the month of May as a celebration of Asian/Pacific American heritage in the United States. We asked sisters, “How do you embrace your heritage?”

“I embrace my Filipino heritage by continuing to practice the customs and cultural values my parents passed on to me. Filipino culture is known for its hospitality, so I always try to welcome and include others. Part of this is sharing the traditional Filipino foods I eat because food brings people together. Despite my growing up in the U.S., this upbringing has kept me connected to my Filipino roots.” -Tiffany “Fuérsa” Alviola, University of West Florida

“Embracing my Mexican heritage is always a path that I’ve embraced. I do this by speaking Spanish with my family and friends. I especially do this by listening to traditional Mexican music from legends like Vicente Fernández and Juan Luis Guerra. Additionally, at the beginning of this year I got the opportunity to visit my mother’s and I’s hometown in Mexico. Through this experience I was able to learn more about my family’s roots as well as learn to cook traditional entrees such as Menudo and Mole. After being apart from Mexico for approximately 12 years, visiting allowed me to refresh so many traditions that often get forgotten. I will continue to embrace my heritage by continuously learning through my new ties with family members and books I picked up on my visit.” -Xiomara “LunarIx” Santana, University of Iowa

“The way I embrace my heritage is to constantly be in touch with my native languages of Mandarin and Cantonese. I watch TV shows from Taiwan that are in Mandarin and I talk to my family members in Cantonese so I stay fluent. I believe language gives a lot of insight of a culture and I am proud of my proficiency in my native languages.” -Alberta “Harlequin” Liang, Purdue University

“I embrace my heritage by staying true to the values I was taught growing up; values such as honesty, courage, and respect. These values can be applied to my everyday life, so they are embraced in that way. I also take time out of my day to recognize and celebrate my cultural and religious holidays, even if I have a busy day or if the number of people celebrating with me is small.” -Raghed “Edifice” AlDahabi, Clemson University

“How I embrace my heritage is just being proud of who I am and where I came from. As an African American, sometimes it’s hard to grasp your heritage because so much of it has been taken away from us, but being close to my family and learning from my elders is something that gives me the deepest sense of culture as an individual. In a community way, I feel like I should be doing more and that is something I’m working on. In the past, I was very active and was the president of NAACP at my college, and I want to get back to that. Because helping my community and fighting for injustices is a part of my heritage. Without that, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” -Maya “Seraphi” Williams, Illinois State University

“I embrace my heritage by reconnecting with family members and staying involved with my community. Through this, I’ve helped educate others about the island of Guam and where my family comes from.  I’ve learned dances and chants that have been rooted from the island. I’m proud to be Chamoru so much that I love answering questions people have about the island, language and history.” -Camarin “Purity” Chargualaf, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Interested in learning about certain aspects of culture? Email to pitch a topic for the next cultural spotlight.

Featured Image: Special to The Jade Times