Island History Honored

Alex Camilli,

More than a hundred members of the Los Medanos College community gathered in Room L-109 Wednesday April 25 to celebrate Pacific Islander Heritage with a variety of art, dances, and cultural cuisine. The event was held before May, which is the official month that commemorates Asian Pacific heritage.

“We have it before the official month because graduation and other events that take place in May,” said Director of Student Life Teresea Archaga, who helped organize the event.

LMC Career Technical Education Counselor Camille Santana performed graceful dances, native subgenres of jazz and improvisational compositions intended to reflect the indigenous people of the Pacific Islands.

LMC student Sonia Bustos said she came after hearing dancers were going to perform.

“I’m interested in learning about other cultures and thought it would be good to come and support it,” she said.

Taiwanese and Origami art was also on display along with historic Polynesian books. One of the highlights of the event was the variety of cultural dishes provided by LMC’s Student Life and Asian Pacific Islander (API) Committee. Golden Bakery, a local business located at 2229 Railroad Avenue in Pittsburg, proudly promoted free baked goods and pastries.

Lumpia and variations of noodles native to the Asian Pacific were also available and a tapioca-based dessert was served following the dance performances.

Pittsburg High School’s Philippine American Club presented a dance that utilized the timbres of coconuts shells and added an intriguing element to the well-choreographed performances.

Cal State East Bay, represented by Academic Counselor Peter Lee was available to inform students about the Asian Pacific American Student Success Transfer Program (APASS) and the services they provide related to scholarship assistance and personal development. The only requirements for these services according to Lee, are that students must be an incoming transfer student, attend the writing workshop for the Writing Skills Test and meet with a counselor every semester.

“APASS includes peer mentoring, laptop learning programs, and a boot camp to prepare for the University Writing Skills Test (WST),” said Lee.

Financial Aid Advisor Jennifer Ma announced there would be a club next fall to represent API students at LMC. Ma said she was prompted to organize the club because she felt the Asian Pacific presence on campus could introduce their culture, which is not widely known.

“It is very comforting knowing that there will be a club for me when I come to LMC next semester. I already feel welcomed,” said Pittsburg High School student Adi.

Students can expect a celebration of Asian Pacific Islander heritage the same time next year, when the API club is officially up and running, and plan to make it an annual event dedicated to informing other communities about their flourishing culture.

—Andrew Loza and Cinthia Garcia contributed to this story