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AAPI Cultural Festival Pays Homage To Underrepresented Communities

AAPI Cultural Festival Pays Homage To Underrepresented Communities
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The Creative Space and Sacramento Asian Pacific Cultural Village are kicking off Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month with, “Asian Pacific CultureFest,” on Saturday May 7 from 11 AM to 3 PM at the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation, located at 9040 High Ct in Elk Grove.

The event will feature 80 AAPI-owned small businesses that will showcase various foods and crafts; live performances, and a curated lineup of local AAPI artists as well.

AAPI Heritage Month officially began on Sunday May 1. Moreover, it signifies the contributions and achievements of AAPI people, and how they have helped to shape American history. To that end, the vision for this event is not only to inspire those within the AAPI community, but to create opportunities of representation that provide education across other cultures as well.

“The AAPI community is severely under-represented. This (event) will highlight and uplift all generations of all different cultures. We’re inviting our vendors and performers to share their stories and heritage through their products and performances. Through this experience, the hope is that we’ll be able to celebrate both our similarities and differences.”

-Jennifer Tokunaga, Owner of The Creative Space
Remy and Jennifer Tokunaga
Photo courtesy of The Creative Space

Backround

Amidst the Pandemic, the surge of Asian hate crimes that occurred in April 2021 shocked the nation. Following these events, Jennifer and Remy Tokunaga, sisters and owners of “The Creative Space,” sought ways on how they could help uplift the AAPI community. Thus, they started hosting a variety of AAPI-owned small events called “Small Business Saturday in May 2021 during AAPI Heritage Month. Indeed, the community’s response was positive, and after receiving an abundance of support they decided that in 2022 they would host a larger scale event. Not long after that, they eventually partnered with the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation in Elk Grove. After hosting a handful of successful pop-up events there, they were able to secure their venue for CultureFest 2022.

“Our goal for this event is to give the hard-working, creative, and talented AAPI community the visibility that they deserve. Not only that, but we hope that it inspires the attendees and future generations of what’s possible as an AAPI person.”

-Remy Tokunaga, Owner of The Creative Space

A Great Team

In addition, the Tokunagas partnered with Jason Jong, Executive Director of Sacramento Asian Pacific Cultural Village. Thus, after meeting at a Japantown event, they knew right away that his connections to local AAPI performers would align perfectly with their vision for CultureFest.

“He was working with ‘My Sister’s House’ and ‘My Sister’s House Treasures’ to revitalize Japantown in Sacramento, ” Remy Tokunaga said, “he hosted a few events there and we were lucky enough to be a small part of their first event.”

“We knew that with our small business connections, and his connections with AAPI performers, that we’d make a great team! It’s been such a great experience getting to work with him and step into his world of event planning on a large scale.”

-Remy Tokunaga, Owner of Creative Space
Remy Tokunaga (L) with Jason Jong (Center) and Jennifer Tokunaga (R)
Photo courtesy of The Creative Space

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It Takes a Village

Jong is deeply rooted in Sacramento Region’s AAPI community. In addition to his involvement with Sacramento Asian Pacific Cultural Village, he also volunteers with My Sister’s House and the Japantown Street Festival; Sacramento Tree Foundation and the Sakuramento Hanami Line project. He is also the founding member of APIs Rise Fund; the founding Board member of Asian American Liberation Network; and the Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival. Additionally, Jong just finished a 10 year stint as a board member for Lu Mien Community Services.

Undoubtedly, Jong’s passion for the AAPI community shines through his work and philanthropic endeavors. Hence, it is his hope that CultureFest will empower the community, and expose them to the richness of Sacramento Region’s AAPI culture in a time where racism is at an all time high.

“Events like Asian Pacific CultureFest come at a critical time for the AAPI community. We have all been impacted by the pandemic. It has been a tense period for many in our community, as we are fighting two pandemics – one that is environmental, and the other that is deeper, and more insidious as we face racist and xenophobic rhetoric, hate, and often violence, fueled by the perception that we are perpetual foreigners in the place that we call home.”

-Jason Jong, Executive Director of Sacramento Asian Pacific Cultural Village

Photo courtesy of The Creative Space

Event Details

Asian Pacific CultureFest is a free, family-friendly inclusive event, and open to the public.

Elk Grove Vice Mayor, Darren Suen; Good Day Sacramento’s, Jordan Segundo and 2022 Mrs. Vietnam, Angie Tran will be the event emcees. Furthermore, the event will be live-streamed on multiple platforms in partnership with ACC Senior Services and Access Sacramento. Live-Stream hosts include: Shaline DeGuzman, Christina Marie, and Hannah Nguyen.

“Asian Pacific CultureFest offers something for everyone. Most importantly, it’s a time to come together and celebrate our collective diversity, and harness the spirit of community through sharing, connecting, and appreciating the breadth of the Sacramento Region’s cultural landscape.”

-Jason Jong, Executive Director for Sacramento Asian Pacific Cultural Village

Festival-goers can expect a wide range of activities and entertainment. From beer tasting, to a pop-up art gallery installation, cultural performances, and a variety of Asian street foods to name a few – the event will cater to a wide demographic of attendees.

Those who are not able to attend in-person are encouraged to tune in and follow The Creative Space, the Asian Pacific CultureFest event page and/or Access Sacramento on Facebook for Live-Stream updates.

For more information, including a complete list of performers and artists CLICK HERE

About The Author

Marissa Johnson

Marissa Johnson is our Executive Editor, Public Relations Specialist, and Photographer. Marissa has a degree in public relations from Sacramento State University.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and their two dogs, cooking , baking and is an avid runner. She also runs a photography business on the side.

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