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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration

During AAPI Heritage Month, the City of Chicago hosted a vibrant event at the Uptown Library, organized in collaboration with various organizations. This celebration put a spotlight on underrepresented Asian communities, particularly the Hmong, Lao, and Mongolian groups. CMAA’s Manager of Quality Assurance and Compliance, Ket Herena, participated in the panel to share experiences as a first-generation Lao refugee growing up in the Midwest. State Representative Hoan attended, eager to listen and take notes on the critical discussions.

The event highlighted these communities' challenges, particularly the need for more resources like translation services. Discussions centered around language access issues, with strong advocacy for a new language accessibility bill. Cultural richness was on full display, with Lao silk fashion, a mesmerizing performance by a brother/sister duet playing Lao Lanaad, and a Mongolian horse-hair fiddle ensemble captivating the audience.

Adding to the cultural immersion, attendees enjoyed authentic Lao cuisine catered by "Laos to Your House." This event was not just about representation but a learning experience for all. The attendees left with valuable insights from the panel discussions, a deep appreciation for Lao and Mongolian music, and a newfound love for Lao food. The day truly celebrated AAPI heritage, fostering understanding and unity.

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