Asian-Americans to celebrate heritage in April

By Gloria Carr

NIU students will have the opportunity to explore two different cultures when Latino and Asian students celebrate their heritages.

Asian-American month officially will be recognized in April 1993. The Latino Awareness Committee is planning events for April 1 through 16, while the Asian-American Association will plan events between April 16 and 30.

The change was suggested by Asian-American student leaders because other colleges have been celebrating the event in April.

“Our purpose is to make the campus more aware of Asian heritage and culture and to inform them of our beliefs,” said Elenor Alido, president of the Asian-American Association.

Alido said students have thought about having a celebration. However, she said this is the first year there has been any action taken.

“We just want other Asians to be proud of their heritage. We want everyone to be proud of who they are,” she said.

Equal representation also is important for Asian-American students, she said.

“We also want to have a stronger voice on campus. Hopefully, by having an Asian Month we can have a voice,” Alido said.

According to NIU’s Office of Institutional Research, Asian American students made up about 4.6 percent of the student population on campus in the fall semester of 1991.

“We are not usually considered a minority,” Alido said. “We still receive the same stereotypes black and Latino students receive.”

Liz Monge, chair of the Latino Cultural Awareness Committee, said the committee supports the change.

“We are excited the Asian students are pulling together on campus. We feel the change is going to be for the positive,” she said.

For Latino students, the change will coincide with national celebrations including Latino Heritage Month, Grito de Lares (a Puerto Rican celebration) and Mexican Independence Day.

Latinos will change their celebration to the last week of September through the first week of October in 1994.

Monge said the committee also will be working with Native

American students. These students will have a one-week celebration in September to celebrate and recognize Latinos’ indigenous roots.

Alido said students seem excited about celebrating. “Everyone seems helpful,” she said. “They all want to get something done.”