Minority students showcase rituals

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Accounting and fine arts junior Thanh ha Tran, left, and marketing junior Mai Dinh, both members of the Vietnamese Student Association, perform their traditional Umbrella dance yesterday on the UA Mall. Their dance performance kicked off Awareness Week 2006, an event sponsored by ASUA Pride, APASA and CHSA.

Twirling umbrellas, colorful dresses and clinking bamboo sticks were the sights and sounds that graced the UA Mall yesterday afternoon in celebration of Awareness Week 2006.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona Pride Alliance is sponsoring the event-filled week, along with Asian Pacific American Student Affairs and Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs, said Maudree Callahan, director of ASUA Pride Alliance.

The Filipino-American Student Association, a part of APASA, started off the event with a traditional Tinikling courtship dance, in which a girl imitates a bird that is stuck in bamboo.

The Vietnamese Student Association, also part of APASA, continued yesterday with the traditional ""Umbrella Dance,"" a popular custom that is performed at lunar and New Year's celebrations, according to Susan Ly, a pre-pharmacy junior and a participant in the umbrella dance.

In the past, Awareness Week has been focused on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, but this is the first year Pride Alliance has worked with minority student groups to raise awareness about all different types of minorities on campus, Callahan said.

""If we work together as minority groups, we will be better and have a stronger support system,"" Callahan said. ""We wanted to work with other minorities, to raise awareness about ethnic minorities too, not just sexual minorities. There are many faces of the LGBT community.""

Michael Brouse, a co-director of Pride Alliance, said all the participating groups are hoping for the UA community to embrace diversity.

""This shows a sense of community at the UA,"" Brouse said. ""It really shows unity to work with other minority organizations. Hopefully this will turn out to be a great event, and we'll get a good turnout.""

Students watching the dances seemed to be supportive of Awareness Week and the different events happening.

Awareness Week events

Tuesday

  • Hearts for Who You Are
    11 a.m.-2 p.m. UA Mall
Wednesday
  • Community Tabling
    11 a.m.-2 p.m. UA Mall
  • Juntos Film Presentation: 'Salt of the Earth'
    6 p.m.-8 p.m. CǸsar E. Chǭvez building
Thursday
  • The Facts of Hate
    11 a.m.-2 p.m. UA Mall
  • Open Mic Night
    6 p.m.-7 p.m. The Cellar, Student Union Memorial Center
Friday
  • Concert teaser
    12 p.m.-1 p.m. UA Mall
  • Awareness concert with Mandy Carter
    5 p.m.-7 p.m. UA Mall
""I like that they're getting the students in this community involved,"" said Jessica Englund, an architecture freshman. ""It's both entertaining and interesting. I think all sorts of cultures need to be represented.""

Melissa Tan, a pre-journalism freshman who will be performing in a hip-hop routine for the event later this week, said she's enjoyed working with Pride Alliance and it has been a good experience.

""It's a good opportunity to showcase that there are different groups around campus,"" Tan said. ""It's a good chance for us to get recognized.""

Kim Jacques, a member of the APASA board of directors, said working with Pride Alliance has been a success so far, and she hopes to do it again in future years.

""A lot of people don't know about APASA, and it's a good promotion of cultural diversity,"" Jacques said. ""It's important to have cultural confidence these days.""

Victoria Pham, a public health senior and a participant in the umbrella dance, said she is excited to see all the different groups that will be performing this week.

Today a ""Hearts for Who You Are"" event is scheduled on the Mall from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. for Valentine's Day.

Wednesday afternoon is scheduled to be Community Tabling from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the Mall, followed by a Juntos film presentation of: ""Salt of the Earth,"" with a special guest appearance by someone from the movie in the CǸsar E. Chǭvez building from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Thursday's events will be ""The Facts of Hate"" on the Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by open mic night in Cellar in the Student Union Memorial Center from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Friday, a concert teaser is scheduled on the Mall from noon to 1 p.m., and Awareness Week closes with a concert on the Mall from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring guest speaker Mandy Carter, an African-American lesbian activist, and the director of ""Southerners on New Ground.""


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