by Akemi Tamanaha, Associate Editor
Over a hundred people gathered on Saturday at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center to celebrate Lunar New Year and Black history month.
The event was a collaboration between Oakland Asian Cultural Center and the Malonga Arts Residence Association (MARA). The goal was to create “an intentional space for Black History and Future in Oakland Chinatown while continuing to honor AAPI cultural traditions.”
Destiny Muhammad, a renowned harpist and composer headlined the live performances. She began her performance by honoring the ancestors. There were several other live performances including a capoeira demonstration, poetry reading and a lion dance.
Artists and creatives also sold their goods at a marketplace in the center. Attendees bought jewelry, art, teas, baked goods and other handmade products. One vendor, an artist named Yoko, said she felt the event was a good way to bring communities together.
“Historically, I feel like there’s been a bit of tension between the communities,” Yoko who has lived in Oakland for several years. told AsAmNews. “In my family, it’s very diverse. A lot of my cousins are half-black. My family has always been very harmonious.”
“I feel like that’s why this event is important to emphasize reconnecting with those communities and reintegrating in a way that’s very positive. Spreading the good vibes between the communities is very important.”
Attendees were also able to see historical examples of Black and Asian solidarity by viewing the “Bandung to the Bay” exhibit. The reinstallation will remain in the building through February 28.
Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, Oakland’s first poet laureate, spoke about the importance of working together to create a better world at the event.
“The message I would like you to receive from what I give you today is that we are interconnected,” she said before beginning her poetry reading. “We are one, members of a family. We have a responsibility to acknowledge that we make the world; we create the reality we live in and we are the only solution.”
The entrance of the exhibit also honored the recent victims of violence from both communities like Tyree Nichols, the Half Moon Bay shooting victims and the Monterey Park shooting victims.
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