Celebrating AAPI women

The Asian American Student Union (AASU) and the Office of the Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy (MICA) sponsored the first annual “Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Womyn” awards banquet on March 12 in the Atrium of University of Maryland’s Stamp Student Union.

The month-long event recognized the achievements and leadership of AAPI women at the university, and overlapped with the MICA’s March celebration series for Women’s History Month 2015: “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.”

YLan Nguyen, vice president of communications of AASU, coordinated CAAPIW and the closing banquet.

“We’ve had workshops examining relationship violence and domestic violence in the AAPI community as well as looking at how Asian American gender and sexualities shape our experiences,” said Nguyen. “We wanted to end this month-long initiative with a celebration of the amazing AAPI women on campus.”

The event included awards, a banquet dinner, a keynote speaker, a photo booth and a live performance.

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Women gathered at the Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Womyn’s award ceremony. PublicAsian photo by Joey Trull.[/caption]

“As a people, Asian Americans, we have a lot to be proud of. I mean, we’re legendary,” said Lily Bolourian, feminist organizer and keynote speaker of the banquet.

Bolourian spoke about an invested interest in equality and moving forward as a group by not marginalizing other minorities. Bolourian, 24, has organized many political events including Washington, D.C.’s 2011 No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act march, and has served as the Women’s Outreach Coordinator for Obama’s re-election campaign.

The ‘Womyn of the Year Award’ went to those who were representative of multiple award categories, including Most Well-Rounded, Best Team Player, Best Newcomer, Most Innovative, and Most Active Undergraduate, and each winner was deemed a “woman of our generation who is strong, determined, beautiful and speaks for all women who cannot.”

“I’m really glad to be a part of this community so we can work together for our future,” said Emily Liang, a junior studying neurobiology and physiology and one of the multiple ‘Womyn of the Year Award’ winners.

Esther Park, a junior biology and Spanish major, performed songs that she said were empowering to women, like “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae.

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Esther Park performs at CAAPIW 2015. (Joey Trull/PublicAsian)[/caption]

Attendees were encouraged to use the “#TeamWonderWomyn” tag for any thoughts or comments about the event.

“The event was great,” said Nguyen, who also works as an Asian American Pacific Islander Advocate at the MICA office in Stamp. “It was inspiring to see so many community members come out. We’d definitely like to see CAAPIW become an annual initiative.”

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