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Celebrating diversity: Post to honor Asian-Pacific American heritage

Deana Dodger, military Family member of Japanese descent, performs a Tae Kwon Do demonstration at last year’s Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month kickoff event. This year’s kickoff is April 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the post exchange. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Deana Dodger, military Family member of Japanese descent, performs a Tae Kwon Do demonstration at last year’s Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month kickoff event. This year’s kickoff is April 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the post exchange. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: April 29, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 29, 2016) -- Attendees are invited to walk together and build legacies during the Asian-Pacific American Heritage month kickoff event from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. April 29 at the post exchange food court.

The month aims to celebrate the cultural traditions, ancestry, native languages, and unique experiences represented among more than 56 ethnic groups from Asia and the Pacific Islands, said Sgt. 1st Class David Hedgepeth, 110th Aviation Brigade Equal Opportunity adviser, adding that he is working tirelessly to find representation for as many ethnic groups as possible.

This year’s kickoff event features food samplings from the Asian and Pacific Islander culture, entertainment by Troy University Confucius Institute’s Chinese art and calligraphy class and a traditional Chinese flute song performance, a  display and demo table from the Korean South East Alabama Art group, a Tahitian/Polynesian fast hip dance presentation and a Hawaiian dance presentation.

According to Hedgepeth, this year’s event will offer something different for those who attended the event last year.

“Last year, this event was a success,” he said. “I’m trying to do something different, so people will want to come out and see what’s new. This is a great opportunity to highlight the contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made in our military and in America.”

According to Hedgepeth, the event features samples of many ethnic groups and cultural traditions.

“The kickoff event is a great opportunity to experience new food and cultural traditions,” he said. “It is perfect for anyone who has never been to Asia or tasted kimchi.

“This month and these events provide education to the community,” he added. “We hope to educate the community on the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. There will be displays set up at the kickoff event highlighting different Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who’ve made an impact on our culture throughout history.”

The kickoff event is a perfect opportunity for the community to honor Asian-Pacific American heritage and possibly discover something new, according to Hedgepeth.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are part of our community and it is important we honor their heritage,” he said. “There is a large Korean community in Daleville who are helping make our kickoff event better.”

The kickoff event is the first of many events planned for May, according to Hedgepeth.

The next event will be an origami class and book reading May 6 from 10-11 a.m. at the Center Library.

Government I.D. card holders and their families are invited to attend a free tour of the Confucius Institute of Troy University May 13. The bus departs from the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at 9 a.m. and returns at about 3:30 p.m. Attendees only need money for lunch. Registration opens April 29 and the deadline to register is May 10. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 255-2669.

An Asia-Pacific American Heritage observance will be held May 26 from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Corvias Building.

“It will be similar to the kick-off event, displaying different art and educational products, as well as food-tasting samples from various Asian and Pacific Island cultures.

For more information about upcoming heritage events or Asian-Pacific American Heritage month, call 255-2669.

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