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Asian American Heritage Month

May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the vibrant cultures, rich history, and countless contributions of AAPI communities across the United States. In Los Angeles, AAPI communities have played a pivotal role in shaping our shared history and culture; we’re incredibly proud of the creative works we’ve accomplished with our neighbors who live in the Asian diaspora. Check out some of our incredible past collaborations that have uplift AAPI voices: 

2004 Chinatown Children of Heaven Lanterns

In 2004, artists Cindy Suriyani, Kung Sun Luey, and Shan Chou collaborated with youth artists to create lanterns in Chinatown. These project artists were chosen for their deep engagement in the Chinatown community and their interest in using the artistic process as a tool for community building. Their roles extended beyond the design of three artworks; they also facilitated the involvement of community members as part of their artistic teams. The projects collectively offered an exploration of Chinatown through the perspectives of four distinct constituencies: merchants, seniors, young people, and library patrons, many of whom were new immigrants from China and Southeast Asia. This initiative underscored the value of involving young people in projects, not only for their ability to engage other community members but also for their capacity to creatively narrate local stories.

2006 Bangladesh Dreams Light Pole Banners

In 2006, LA Commons digitally collaged banners to showcase the rich culture and stories of Bangladeshi immigrants, aiming to enhance the visibility of the Bangladeshi community in Koreatown.

Lead artist Andaleeb Firdosy collaborated with youth artists to gather stories from the community and developed a series of three light pole banner designs. The youth also raised funds for the banner installation from the local Bangladeshi community. As a result of this initiative, the area where the banners were installed is now officially recognized by the City of Los Angeles as “Little Bangladesh.”

Presently, through our partnership with Stop the Hate in MacArthur Park, we engage with numerous Koreatown residents, many of whom are from the AAPI community. In light of the increasing hate crimes, LA Commons provides opportunities for people to interact with one another, fostering a sense of belonging and trust among individuals from diverse backgrounds. We are committed to continuing this vital coalition-building work in the future. Until then, happy AAPI month!

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