By: Jessica Ricks, Contributing Writer
Although he is Filipino, freshman Lorenz Cortez said that this weekend at the Third Annual Asian Pacific Islander (API) Celebration he learned many things about his own culture that he did not previously know.
“I learned a lot about my own culture and homeland,” Cortez said. “I haven’t been to the Philippines in 15 years so it would be helpful when I go back,” Cortez said.
The celebration took place April 17 in the West Village Ballrooms and was hosted by the Filipino Cultural Association of Towson (FCAT).
“We decided to hold this event because we wanted to have an event where we could have everyone come together and work on just throwing a really good event together,” junior and creative chair of FCAT, Helayna Roberts said. “We wanted to do something that made everyone feel welcome.”
The evening consisted of presentations by each of the groups where they shared their culture with the audience. The South Asian Student Association (SASA), the Chinese American Student Union (CASU), Towson’s International Student Association (ISA), the Korean Culture Club and the Japanese Language and Culture Organization (JLCO) worked in collaboration with FCAT to put together the evening’s events.
“This event is important because it gives people cultural awareness and the realization that there is more to this campus,” secretary of FCAT Lucy Luu said. “This event ensures that Towson is truly a diverse campus.”
There were performances by students, the Johns Hopkins Yong Han Lion Dance Troupe, TU Chalak and a Japanese Yukata (kimono) tying demonstration.
The final event of the evening was a fashion show where students modeled traditional clothing from Cambodia, India, Japan, China and the Philippines.
“I want people to gain insight that just because you don’t really know that much about a culture and you don’t really see it around campus, that people still do exist and that they do have a voice,” Roberts said.
In the future, FCAT plans for the API Celebration to grow and become a big Towson event and encompass more cultures and events.
“API is more than just Philippines, Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese,” Roberts said. “It’s more than that and I want to be able to showcase more cultures and even people who aren’t in the clubs. I want them to be able to come here and feel welcomes and to meet new people and have a good time.”