Our annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival (APAHF) has officially started with our first big kick off event, APAHF Extravaganza. For this event, we had activities, free boba, and live performances from USC students to enjoy and learn more about this year's theme: "Embracing Differences". As Programming Director, I had to come up with the theme for APAHF this year, and I chose a concept that is very dear to me. As a third culture kid (TCK), one of the challenges I've faced is identifying my cultural identity. I was born and raised in Taiwan but was brought up in an American culture and education system. I thought I could identify myself as Asian American, but coming to America for college has shown me otherwise. Many people have yet to learn that there are many more identities than just Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islands, and that is why we came up with our activity. We had everyone fill out the template and choose those that identify them the most.

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By using a colorful yarn, the activity board turned out just the way we imagined. We hope when people did theirs, they would understand that not everyone’s answer would be the same. Sometimes it is out of an individual’s control to decide the type of family they would grow up in.

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It has been truly amazing to see how my stress had come to life. From driving 5.6 miles with 4’ x 8’ foam board on top of my car to figuring out the best promotion items within the limiting budget, I have never been so relieved and proud to see how the event has turned out. Many people stopped by because they knew the event was happening. Many people also stopped by because of their curiosity sparked by the performances and the free boba we had. The event went smoothly as our 150 bobas ran out just within the first 40 minutes of the event. I was still glad to see many people coming up because the performances and the activity attracted them.

Working with Alex Luu for the second time has been wonderful. His performance has always been so empowering to the Asian community at USC. I thought his work is extremely relevant to the Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival theme, Embracing Differences, and I knew his performance would be a great addition to the event. It was my first time working with Trogons, but I always knew they are a bunch of talented singers. Not going to lie, it was weird to hear a Mandarin song amplified at Hahn Plaza/Tommy Trojan. However, I’m glad it happened because there is no excuse for anyone to hide their culture.

I’m looking forward to how the rest of the festival goes. Look out for our next big events: An Evening with Hasan Minhaj 2/7/2018 & APASA’s Got Talent 3/3/2018!