Spokane will hold the second annual Asian Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (ANHPI) Heritage Day on May 14 at Riverfront Park to celebrate the diverse traditions of the local ANHPI communities.
The event will feature interactive lessons, demos, performances and activities. All are welcome! Enjoy traditional foods from the Laotian, Vietnamese, Chamorro, Hawaiian, and Samoan communities and watch rousing performances of ukulele music, hula dancers and the show-stopping Samoan fire-knife dancers.
For Sharon Veerayah-McGregor, a Database Administrator for Community Colleges of Spokane Information Systems and Development Services, the Heritage Day event is about more than simply sharing knowledge and activities. It’s crucial in promoting representation and a rare opportunity to meet with her friends in the small Malaysian Spokane community. She and a group of fellow local Malaysians will host a booth at the celebration, sharing traditional snacks with attendees and showcasing their traditional clothing and artifacts. They also will offer an educational booth for those interested in learning more about Malaysian history.
“Being fairly new to the area, it feels good to have the chance to meet with all kinds of diversity,” Veerayah-McGregor said. “It makes me feel a real sense of community.”
May 14 will be only the second time Spokane has hosted an ANHPI Heritage Day, but over 35,000 people are expected to attend the celebration.
“I really appreciate that people are willing to come and learn,” Veerayah-McGregor said, noting that many Americans have very little knowledge about Malaysian culture and geographics. “Because of this kind of event, I can meet more people in my culture. We take great pride in where we are from.”
The ANHPI Heritage Day festivities play an important role in highlighting the historical and cultural contributions of ANHPI communities around the world and in Spokane during National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. CCS Staff and faculty representatives will have a table at the event to share information about our diversity and inclusion programs.
The heritage celebration combines with the 10th annual Family Fun Fair, an established parenting expo designed to spread awareness about children’s mental and behavioral issues. The fair welcomes all ages for educational activities, a petting zoo, pony rides and photo opportunities with mascots of local universities.