Youth reporter interviews community leaders at ” Celebrate Lunar New Year Together”
Reported From Sophia Cheng
On Jan. 27, Silicon Valley Community Media and DingDing TV hosted “Celebrate Lunar New Year Together” to honor Lunar New Year’s recognition as an official California state holiday and come together after the tragic shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. The event was a collaboration between many Asian cultural organizations, such as National Asian American United, Philippine News Today, India Currents, Korean Traditional Dance Academy, and Phu Nu Cali magazine.
The event attracted several hundred people. Many prominent community members, ranging from elected officials to philanthropists, were in attendance. DingDingTV ran a media booth during the event, where youth volunteer Sophia Cheng and media professionals worked together to interview guests.
Several guests, such as Mayor of Fremont Lily Mei, spoke about the importance of welcoming different cultures and telling Asian American stories.
“When we talk about Asian history, it’s not just Asian history, it’s American history,” Mei said. “I think it’s important for us to tell our stories so that people can learn…. It’s not just about ourselves and having Asian leaders, but the communities which have Asian representation.”
Milpitas Unified School District President Chris Norwood said he also believes strongly about the power of stories to connect humans from different walks of life.
“Everybody’s story is important,” Norwood said. “And when you tell those stories, you have the opportunity to tell about your generation, your experience, and your hopes for the future. The way that we grow as a society and as a community is through stories.”
The event fostered these stories through activities such as traditional Chinese live music, a Vietnamese dance and fashion show, traditional Indian dance, Korean drum and dance, and more. There was also multicultural Asian food served, which the guests happily devoured.
Community leader and Ms. San Jose Alexis Steen spoke about the magnitude of Lunar New Year being recognized by the State of California.
“It’s so important that Lunar New Year has been recognized by California,” Steen said. “We want to make sure that everyone is included and able to see themselves in whatever environment they are in.”
Especially after the recent tragedies in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, many said it was heartening and empowering to see a gathering of Asian community members to celebrate a holiday that is so sacred in traditional Asian culture.
Actress Chelsea T. Zhang, who also moderated the event, said she believes in the universalism of Asian cultures and stories. With her background in acting in Hollywood, Zhang especially emphasized the importance of representation in media.
“We should be given the voice, as Americans, to share where we came from,” Zhang said. “I think we can move people and humanize all the races and all the cultures and learn from each other.”