Pan-Asian Organization (PAO) is hosting events every Saturday in May for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Lawrence’s AAPI Heritage Month is a celebration of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ diverse identities and history, according to event coordinator of PAO, sophomore Jahanvi Pradhan.
On Saturday, May 7 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., PAO hosted a Palestinian-American Poetry reading in the Warch Cinema to start off the month.
The speaker was George Abraham, a queer Palestinian poet. They shared their experience of being queer and Palestinian and used poetry readings to navigate queer and Palestinian culture and history. The poetry focused on the intersection of diasporic and non-Western notions of queerness, Palestine, disembodied memory and identity.
The second event is a Bollywood Movie Night, PAO’s first ever event featuring South Asian roots, will be happening on Saturday May 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. PAO is serving Indian food from the restaurant Sai Ram. This event is RSVP only and filled up its capacity in less than a day. The movie being played is a surprise and was not revealed by Pradhan.
The third event is on Saturday May 21 from 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Diversity and Intercultural Center (D&IC). PAO is collaborating with COLORES to have an open discussion on the intersection of AAPI & LGBTQI+ identity.
The other event coordinator of PAO, first-year Isabel Dorn, expressed her excitement with the event as a queer Asian student navigating college and having a similar experience as other queer and AAPI students.
“The format of the event will be breaking people up into small groups to have their discussions, so people feel more comfortable,” said Dorn. “Then [we will come] back to the bigger group and listen to everyone’s experiences. [The event will be] moderated by myself and members of COLORES.”
On Saturday, May 27 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., PAO is hosting the concluding event, Pan-Asian Game night in the Somerset Room of the Warch Campus Center. The games that will be played represent popular games from numerous states. The chosen games are “Popup Blackbeard Pirate,” a Korean game; “Hmong Ball Toss,” originating from Hmong people; “Kendama,” from Japan; “Pickup Jack,” from the Philippines; and “Gatti”, from Nepal. Prizes such as chocolates will be given out to the winners.