Published on Saturday, May 18, 2013
May Marks the Annual Asian Pacific American Heritage (APA) Month
(San Francisco, CALIFORNIA) – On Monday, May 6 individuals gathered at the San Francisco Jazz Center to celebrate an awards ceremony honoring artists for upholding their native Asian Pacific American art, music, and literature. Through their great influence in the community, they have positively affected the lives of budding artists by providing careers, opportunities and guidance.
This month commemorates all Asian Pacific Americans and celebrates their lifelong commitments and advancements made in their communities—specifically in the arts. All finalists have been commended for their trail-blazing ideas and have worked for decades to hone/practice their skills to become experts in their field. This month recognizes their hard work and efforts as well as applauding Asian Pacific Americans throughout the country.
Going back to the 1970’s, former President Jimmy Carter declared that the first week of May would be dedicated to Asian Pacific American Heritage. Decades later, former President George W. Bush officially announced the entire month of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which is observed throughout the country.
The Inspirational Leadership Award was presented to Brenda Wong Aoki, a performer and educator. Her plays have been showcased in several theaters in front of hundreds of viewers. Along with a slew of previous award, she has been recognized with the Hollywood Drama-logue Awards, a USPAAC Award and the INDIE Award for Best Spoken Recording. Her roots lay deep in San Francisco, as her grandparents were founders of Japantown and leaders of Chinatown.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was accepted by Malu Rivera-Peoples who is a professional and seasoned dancer. She is also the owner and director of the Westlake School which focuses on dance, theater, and music. She mentors around a thousand students and has created an organization that encourages students to pursue artistic paths. She is very active in her community and is also recognized as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the US.”
The Community Impact Award was presented to the Asian Improv aRt’s (AIR), a group whose goal is to showcase the artistic representations of Asian American cultures. AIR strives to produce work that will involve younger generations of artists, support collaboration between groups, and find ways to lead a viable career in the arts during this economic period.
From a young age all three winners, individuals and organizations, started on the journey towards their artistic goal. Through their perseverance and determination in making a name for themselves in the art community they were able to impact others and stay true to their heritage and culture.
This is a message for all young, aspiring, and up-and-coming artists. This awards ceremony and month-long celebration is a testament to one’s drive and passion for their culture and art. When the award recipients embarked on their artistic career, they never thought that they would be recognized for their efforts. All three winners show the youth who are just beginning their life’s work that it is most definitely possible and feasible to attain and achieve such greatness.