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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA students combat racial stereotypes, celebrate Asian and Pacific-American Heritage Month

Briana Sanchez
Briana Sanchez / Arizona Daily Wildcat Members of Asian Pacific American Student Affairs, Chine Myers, Tidra Smith, Jon Yamaguchi, Cody Vito, Jenn Phan, Felicia Aflague display the kick-off flyer for their up and coming event as part of Asian Pacific American heritage month.

Students hope to fight stereotypes about Asian-Americans this month, while the UA celebrates Asian and Pacific-American Heritage Month.

This Friday, students working in the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs office will host a kick-off event in honor of Asian and Pacific-American Heritage Month. It will be the first of many APASA cultural events that will take place in April.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Social Sciences building in room 100, this free event will feature performances by Filipino-American YouTube sensations AJ Rafael and Jeremy Passion followed by a question and answer session. A performance by the dance crew Dia Clones will start off the evening.

Chine Myers, a physiology senior on the student board of directors for APASA, is the primary organizer for the kick-off event. He said the evening will help provide insight and break down cultural barriers.

“The purpose of the event is to spread more Asian-American awareness around campus and to the Tucson community,” Myers said. “Also, to prove wrong the stereotype that Asian-Americans are only associated with a STEM field such as science or mathematics … that we can pursue artistic and performance roles and still be successful in those fields.”

Cody Vito, a computer science sophomore, has been a part of Dia Clones for two years and is now one of the captains. He described the crew as one “made up of people who have a passion for dancing and want to share it with the rest of the community.”

The group was originally formed almost seven years ago and is made up of students from the UA and Pima Community College, as well as dancers who have graduated, he said.

“We encourage all types of styles [of dancing],” Vito said. “Generally we do more hip-hop choreography but we do have a lot of studio dancers, including ballet and contemporary dancers, as well as urban styles like popping and break dancing.”

Vito also said he is excited about the upcoming performances.

“I am most excited to meet and see Jeremy Passion and AJ Rafael perform live,” Vito said. “I have watched them on YouTube ever since I was a lot younger. It will definitely be a great opportunity to have them see what we do, as well as have them show their talents.”

Jayme Wong, a sophomore studying ecology and evolutionary biology and member of Dia Clones, also said she was excited about the YouTube performers’ arrival.

“I am looking forward to seeing AJ Rafael and Jeremy Passion,” Wong said. “I love them.”

Although the event will be entertaining, Myers said he hopes the audience will take away lessons from the performances.

“It is very important to experience other cultures because it is important for people to see and understand other perspectives of life. And to not be ignorant and follow the stereotypes that are placed on other cultures.”

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