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Asian Pacific Heritage Month Continues

Members of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association perform a traditional dance at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month kick-off event at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., May 2, 2020. The event was aimed to provide entertainment and information of Asian Pacific culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Vernon R. Walter III)

Members of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association perform a traditional dance at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month kick-off event at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., May 2, 2020. The event was aimed to provide entertainment and information of Asian Pacific culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Vernon R. Walter III)

A family poses for a photo at their car decorated for Asian Pacific Heritage Month at the kick-off event at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., May 2, 2020. The event was made to provide entertainment and inform folks about the Asian Pacific American Heritage month and why it is nationally recognized. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Vernon R. Walter III)

A family poses for a photo at their car decorated for Asian Pacific Heritage Month at the kick-off event at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., May 2, 2020. The event was made to provide entertainment and inform folks about the Asian Pacific American Heritage month and why it is nationally recognized. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Vernon R. Walter III)

Members of Cannon Air Force Base sit and wait for the drive-in movie to start at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month kick-off event at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., May 2, 2020. The film shown was Disney’s Moana, which provides representation of Polynesian and Tongan culture including dances, traditional art and music. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Vernon R. Walter III)

Members of Cannon Air Force Base sit and wait for the drive-in movie to start at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month kick-off event at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., May 2, 2020. The film shown was Disney’s Moana, which provides representation of Polynesian and Tongan culture including dances, traditional art and music. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Vernon R. Walter III)

Airman 1st Class Keen Fernandez, 27th Special Operations Medical Group medical technician and president of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association, fries lumpia, a traditional Filipino food, at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month kick-off event at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., May 2, 2020. The event provided Cannon families a chance to recognize the start of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and inform Air Commandos and their families why the month is nationally recognized. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Vernon R. Walter III)

Airman 1st Class Keen Fernandez, 27th Special Operations Medical Group medical technician and president of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association, fries lumpia, a traditional Filipino food, at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month kick-off event at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., May 2, 2020. The event provided Cannon families a chance to recognize the start of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and inform Air Commandos and their families why the month is nationally recognized. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Vernon R. Walter III)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Members of Cannon’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Association teamed up with members of the 27th Special Operations Force Support Squadron to hold a free event to celebrate the start of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on May 2nd at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

The event was held to provide entertainment to members of Cannon and raise awareness about the national holiday. It also provided the APAHA a chance to inform people that they are a group available to support Air Commandos.

“We want people to know that despite everything going on we can still celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month,” said Airman 1st Class Keen Fernandez, 27th Special Operations Medical Group medical technician and president of the AHPHA. “We coordinated with the 27 SOFSS to work through the hardships and show the history we have built up so far and make sure we properly recognize the event.”

The event started off with a dance performance that blended two Tahitian performances: Iorana, which expressed slow, gentle movements and Bora which delivered gradually rapid movements. In the French Polynesian Islands, dance ceremonies are performed to tell stories, worship a deity and even captivate lovers.

“The dances provide people an interesting look at Asian Pacific culture,” said Tech. Sergeant Yuka Hareyama, 27th Special Operations Maintenance Group unit training manager. “It also shows a blending of styles and how our group isn’t just one culture. We can celebrate each other's cultures and find companionship between all of us.”

After the dance, the APAHA sold lumpia, a traditional Filipino food, while guests answered questions related to Disney’s Moana before watching the film itself.

“The movie really gets two birds with one stone,” Hareyama said. “It provides entertainment for people who can get out of their houses and their kids, but the film is also a great representation of Polynesian and Tongan culture. The film reveals a lot of mythology, traditional art, haka, and ancestry which continues to be important practices in Polynesian rituals.”

“We wanted a good start to kick off the celebration despite everything going on,” Fernandez said. “We can still celebrate the culture and history together with a little ingenuity. Our group wants to make people feel welcome and provide support where we can.”

For questions of inquiries about the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association, they can be contacted at their Facebook Page, Cannon Asian Pacific American Association.