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Posted on: April 30, 2021

SOMA Celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021

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South Orange Village and Maplewood Township, together with SOMA Cross Cultural Works and the AAPI Community, unite to recognize and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with family-oriented events during the entire month of May.

South Orange Village and Maplewood Township, together with SOMA Cross Cultural Works and the AAPI Community, unite to recognize and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021 with family-oriented events during the entire month of May. As the national conversation veers toward racial division and polarization, and as anti-Asian hate crimes are on the rise, it is imperative to build understanding and bring communities in New Jersey together by telling the stories of the heterogeneous AAPI community.

Sheena Collum, South Orange Village President says, “We stand in solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander family, friends and neighbors as we honor their rich and diverse cultural heritage and traditions; bring awareness to current events and issues; and spread love, light and joy with The Lion Dance, Holi Festival of Colors, Wishing Tree, the Hula Dance, and a myriad of other unique events.”

The month kicks off and ends with Wishing Trees in Maplewood Ricalton Square, Maplewood Libraries, and South Orange Spiotta Park to make a wish for a future without anti-Asian hate and all forms of racism. The Lion symbolizes power and wisdom. On May 7, Lion Dancers will parade down Maplewood Avenue, mimicking Lion movements in elaborate costumes to chase away evil and bring good luck and prosperity, followed by a Bollywood Dance Party. Hula, the Polynesian dance from the Hawaiian Islands that portrays and dramatizes stories through undulating gestures in dance, will take place with Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima on May 22 in Spiotta Park, South Orange, along with live music from the PAʻI Trio. Sunday, May 23, in Maplewood’s Amphitheater, Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors will be a spectacle to behold through a vibrant celebration of spring and love. Other in-person or virtual events include book discussions, story time, workshops, artist spotlights, youth features, self-defense training, and an AAPI Family Heritage pool party, among others ... continue reading press release here

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