Celebration honors Asian heritage


Raine Zhu

Jinhee J Lee, a professor of history, coordinator of Asian Studies and the main organizer for Asian Heritage Month, talks with students during the Kick-off Reception in the Doudna Concourse of the Doudna Fine Arts Center on Monday afternoon.

Brysen Carr, Contributing Writer

The Asian Heritage Month Kick-off Reception begins with a flag procession at the Doudna Fine Arts Center on Monday afternoon.
Raine Zhu
The Asian Heritage Month Kick-off Reception begins with a flag procession at the Doudna Fine Arts Center on Monday afternoon.

The celebration of Asian Heritage Month kicked off Monday with Asian music, Asian cuisine and lots of educational conversation at the Doudna Concourse.

Members of the Eastern community gathered around tables bearing classic Asian food, such as sushi, spring rolls, crab rangoons, dumplings and coconut cookies, to talk Asian cultures.

History professor Bailey Young said Asian Heritage Month has been around at Eastern for 13 years and it is not going anywhere.

Like all other heritage months at Eastern, the purpose of holding the kick-off for Asian Heritage Month is to educate and encourage celebration of different cultures, he said.

The month also brings students of all backgrounds together, Young said.

“It gets everybody together; they get a chance to enjoy the food, the art and the culture,” Young said.

Anh Bui, a senior majoring in construction management, said he enjoyed attending the kick-off because he learned more about different Asian cultures. He also had the opportunity to talk with others about his own culture.

“It gave me a chance to meet new people and then learn more about a different culture, different countries; especially it gave me a chance to represent my country (Vietnam) and talk to people about my country,” Bui said.

John Mcilvaine, a junior majoring in health promotions, said celebrations like the kick-off for Asian Heritage Month give him a chance to reflect.

“Me being American-Korean myself, it’s always great to be able to reflect on my own culture growing up and being able to see other people enjoy it. It gives me a sense of pride,” he said.

Learning from and educating others about different heritages is important for people to communicate and bring unity about the world, Mcilvaine said. The kick-off event helped Eastern staff and student do exactly that.

“Everyone should learn about everyone’s heritage, just that alone creates the understanding and breaks those barriers that everyone builds up—we don’t need them,” he said.

Other events to be held in honor of Asian Heritage Month this week include the following: Booth Library’s Japanese Exhibit featuring Young’s collection (this is ongoing until April 25), the “Asian Studies Colloquium”; “Genocide in the 20th Century Asia, Africa, and Europe”; “Film and Discussion ‘Crazy Rich Asians”; and the “Manga workshop & Field Trip to Japan House.”

The art exhibit is located at the West Reading Room at Booth Library; the “Asian Studies Colloquium” is located at Booth Library Room 4440 and lasts from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.; “Genocide in 20th Centry Asia, Africa, and Europe” is located at Booth Library room 4440 and lasts from 4:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.; the film discussion is located at the Charleston/Mattoon Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union and begins at 6 p.m.; and people can RSVP for the manga workshop and field trip by emailing [email protected]

To access the full calendar of events for Asian Heritage Month, students can visit https://www.eiu.edu/asian_studies/asianheritagemonth.php.

Brysen Carr can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].