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Davis, California

Friday, July 12, 2024

ASUCD to host first ever Asian American and Pacific Islander night market

 The free market will be held at the CoHo on May 19


By KAYA DO-KHANH — campus@theaggie.org

Lea este artículo en español.


On Friday, May 19, ASUCD is hosting the first-ever ASUCD 530 Market: AAPI Community Health and Culture Fair at the CoHo from 7-10 p.m. The market is meant to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) identities during AAPI heritage month, as well as create a community care space and provide mental health and other basic needs resources to students. Inspired by the 626 Night Markets hosted in Southern California, the market will include a variety of student-group performers, a fashion show, local food vendors and resource booths. All undergraduate students are welcome to attend and are encouraged to wear cultural clothes. Entry is free, and students only need a registration form and student ID.

While planning this event, ASUCD has been working to facilitate outreach and ensure events like this one are welcoming to underrepresented groups within UC Davis’s AAPI community such as transfer, international, undocumented and LGBTQIA+ students.

Fourth-year environmental policy analysis and planning major and ASUCD Senator Priya Talreja proposed the event to the Division of Student Affairs and was awarded $5,000 through the Equity in Student Mental Health Grant. Talreja said that she is especially excited about the basic needs resource booths that are going to table at the event, such as Student Health Counseling Services, the Love Lab, Aggie Compass and the Pantry.

“I want students to have access to and know about free health resources they have on campus,” Talreja said. “I want to help us work towards increasing mental health equity for the AAPI community.”

In order to reach diverse parts of the community, ASUCD is partnering with the ASUCD Office of International Affairs Student Representative, Office of the Transfer Student Representative and the DREAM Committee for outreach efforts.

“One of the big things is we want students and staff to celebrate our identities and realize that the AAPI community is not a monolith and that there are varied educational experiences across different groups within the community,” Talreja said. “The event will really showcase the diversity that we have because the AAPI community is culturally, economically and socially diverse in a lot of ways.” 

Fourth-year cognitive science and statistics double major and ASUCD Senator Stephen Fujimoto coordinated the event’s performances. The six student-group performers are Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan, Jhankaar, EKHO, Raasleela, MK Modern and Sunatya

Fujimoto said that regardless of whether students identify as Asian American or not, they should come to enjoy the performances and free food. One of the group performers, Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan, is a student-run Japanese cultural drumming group that has performed during other events on campus including the Picnic Day parade and the fall welcome rally. 

“I hope that people recognize the wide diaspora of Asian American identities and art forms,” co-president of the group Madeline Do said. “The taiko that we play isn’t emulating the taiko from Japan but instead represents the political consciousness and community-building efforts of Japanese Americans and Asian Americans in North America. I would like people to share their energy as we do and continue to learn with open hearts.”

The headliner performance of the AAPI night market is Rudy Kalma, a Filipino American musician and rapper. Kalma is an alumnus of UC Davis who graduated with a degree in English in 2016. 

“It feels great to return and perform for my alma mater, especially headlining AAPI night,” Kalma said. “I haven’t performed since the Pilipinx Youth Conference in 2021 — and still, that performance was virtual. Coming back always feels full circle because [UC Davis is] where it all began for me as an artist.”  

He also performed at Lawntopia in 2015 and at an earlier version of what is now Sunset Fest. He said that he is happy that these events have expanded, taken on new forms and are still relevant to current students.

The local food vendors that will be present are Roline’s Uniquely Filipino, Dumpling House and Yeti Restaurant. 

“As someone who is also Asian American, to have all of these different diverse parts of the Asian American culture come together and be able to celebrate our unique and diverse cultures and also be able to learn about different mental health resources is important,” Fujimoto said. 

Written by: Kaya Do-Khanh — campus@theaggie.org