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MC Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Heritage

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The MC Asia American and Native American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Kick-off Festival Planning Committee is a college-wide committee comprised of faculty, staff and students whose purpose is to plan various activities at the college that bring awareness to the diversity and accomplishment of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander populations. The committee also informs on issues and opportunities, outside of the college, that are important to the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

 Every year, the committee provides the college community with opportunities to participate in cultural programming, to share knowledge, and to learn more about contributions of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander people. Among our annual events is the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Kick-off Festival held in April, which is also the capstone event.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Kickoff Festival Event Opportunity!
AANAPIHM Kick-off Festival, Wednesday, May 1, Rockville Campus, Theatre Arts (TA) Arena, 11:00 AM-2:00 PM

Every year, AANAPIHM Planning Committee hosts a kick-off event to mark the beginning of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May) Celebration at the College. The event includes exhibits, presentations, entertainment, and food for students and employees. The event is sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Rockville Provost Office.

We are seeking interest for the following activities:

  • Host a table representing an Asian culture
  • Provide a performance, presentation, or showcase something from the region
  • General volunteer for the event (or prep work for the event)

We are looking for table representatives, presenters, and performances from all Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander cultural heritage. All are welcome. If you have lived, studied, and/or have knowledge of an Asian cultural heritage, you are welcome to be part of this event.

The Planning Committee reserves the right to make the final decision on selection and arrangement of the participants, activities, and festival program.

Please let us know how you would like to support the event. This form will close on April 5.

Events and News Bulletin
The Long Nguyen and Kimmy Duong Scholarship Programs

 School Year 2024–2025

To qualify for The Long Nguyen and Kimmy Duong Undergraduate Scholarship Program in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland, applicants must be US citizens or US Permanent Resident and must enroll in the University of Maryland, George Mason University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, University of Virginia, Northern Virginia Community College, Montgomery College, and Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Scholarship recipients receive both a financial award and an opportunity to engage in job training with working professionals in their field of study.  To accomplish the latter, each recipient should attend quarterly meetings with a professional mentor in the Washington DC area.

To accept the scholarships, applicants must be present at the award ceremony and also attend our semi-annual mandatory meetings.

Additional qualifications are:

  1. Vietnamese heritage (for Vietnamese American student applications)
  2. Age 17-30
  3. Outstanding academic achievement (for example, GPA of 3.0 or above)
  4. Strong leadership potential
  5. Demonstrated active service to the Vietnamese, and/or American communities
  6. Strong knowledge of your heritage (Vietnamese, American, and Others)
  7. Strong desire to support for a better world
  8. Passion to protect the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights world-wide
  9. In need of financial aid

Additional Requirements for Vietnamese students from Vietnam:

  1. Provide current family financial situation
  2. Students may NOT be from a Vietnamese Government Official family and/or NOT from a Vietnamese Communist Party family
  3. Special consideration will be given to students with unique situations, for example
    1. low to moderate incomes
    2. single parents returning to school to improve their families' lives, or
    3. students who are trying to recover from a past criminal record and improve their own lives.

For more information, visit the Kimmy Duong Foundation websitenew window. On menu, select Education, KFD Scholarship DC/VA/MD.

The Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Planning Committee members, volunteers, and supporters gathered on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at the Rockville Campus to celebrate the committee's six years milestone. 

The Planning Committee wants to thank all members, volunteers, and supporters for their work the last six years. We could not have done it without you!

And we hope to see you on the Rockville Campus for our annual Kick-Off Event.

asian pacific luncheon
asian pacific luncheon

In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869.

In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration that is now known as Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Per a 1997 U.S. Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Thus, this Facts for Features contains a section for each.

View some facts from the Census Bureau about the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander communitynew window

The Lunar New Year is the most important social and economic holiday for billions of people around the world. The holiday is tied to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar and was originally observed as a time to honor household and heavenly deities and ancestors.

Today, Lunar New Year is a special time to bring friends and family together for feasting and festivities in China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia and other countries all over the world. (Information taken from Center for International Affairs - Lunar New Year website.)

Watch the video to learn some fun facts about the Lunar New Year.

Vietnamese Lunar New Year, known as “Tết”, is the biggest celebration of the year for Vietnamese around the world.

During Vietnamese Tết, Bánh Tét (or the original Bánh Chưng) is a must-have traditional food. It demonstrates the importance of rice in the Vietnamese culture as well as historical value. The Tết holiday must have “Bánh Chưng” which was invented by Prince Lang Lieu from Hung King Dynasty to symbolize the earth. Bánh Tét or Bánh Chưng is often served with pickles including white radish, chili peppers, carrots, and leeks.

The ingredients for Bánh Tét and Bánh Chưng are mostly the same: sweet rice, mung beans, and pork and wrapped in banana leaves and tightened up with strings. Bánh Tét is a cylindrical-shaped rice cake while Bánh Chưng is a square-shaped rice cake. In addition, Bánh Tét is made in two ways with these core ingredients: 1) Sweet rice with banana (banana Bánh Tét) for vegetarian is made with shredded coconut and red/black beans; 2) Sweet rice with pork (pork Bánh Tét) is made with pork and red/black beans or mung beans. 

Depending on how you have prepared the ingredients prior to wrapping them up with banana leaves, the banana Bánh Tét usually takes about six hours while the pork Bánh Tét could take over eight hours. The process of making Bánh Tét provides an opportunity for family members to bond and come together to celebrate the holiday spirit.

Watch a video to see how the Banh Tet is wrapped.

red lucky envelope

During Lunar New Year, it is a Chinese tradition to give out red envelopes (known as 紅包, hóngbāo), which is a gift of money inserted into an ornate small red pocket of paper. The significance of red envelopes is the red paper, rather than the money inside. The red color symbolizes good luck, happiness, and prosperity in Chinese cultures. The red envelope (money) is also called “压岁钱 ya sui qian”, which translates to “suppressing the folktale demon, Sui’s money”. Thus, wrapping money in red envelopes means to bestow peace, happiness, and blessings on the receivers in the year to come. 

As a custom, only new and crisp notes are used in the red envelopes signifying a new beginning in a new year. Today in China, red envelopes are going digital with people sending digital red envelopes through smartphone apps. The amount given in red envelopes usually includes the number ‘8’, such as $8, $18, or $28,  because the pronunciation of ‘eight’ in Chinese sounds like luck and prosperity, and never ever includes the number ‘4’ which sounds like death.

Usually grandparents and parents gift their children and grandchildren red envelopes with money on Chinese New Year’s Eve or New Year's Day. Red envelopes can be given out during first 16 days of Chinese New Year (from New Year's Eve to the Lantern Festival). Always receive a red envelope politely with both hands and return with the New Year greeting 恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái, meaning 'happiness and prosperity'). Lastly, never open your red envelope in the presence of the giver, but only in private. Remember the significance of red envelopes is the red paper, not the money inside. 

恭喜发财, Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái, in the Year of the Tiger.

Learn more about the tradition on the Red Envelopes: Red Envelopes in Chinese New Yearnew window | Red Envelopes Symbolism in Chinese Culturenew window

Korean (Sebae)

세배 (sebae) is the most important of all the Korean Lunar New Year traditions. Sebae is the act of kneeling on the ground and bowing deeply so that your hands are also on the ground. Younger adults/children must bow deeply to their elders and wish them a happy new year. This deep traditional bow signifies respect. People often wear 한복 (hanbok), traditional Korean clothes, whilst performing sebae.

To describe the act of sebae, the verb 드리다 (deurida) is used. For example 세배 드렸어요 (sebae deuryeosseoyo) would mean ‘I did the sebae bow’. When bowing, you can say 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (saehae bok mani badeuseyo), which means ‘Have lots of luck in the new year’.

After receiving a bow from the younger adults/children, the elders then say something along the lines of ‘I hope you stay healthy this year’ or ‘I hope you get married this year’. Elders typically reward the younger adults/children with money, known as 세뱃돈 (sebaetdon). This money is often given inside an envelope.

Learn more about Korean Lunar New Year - Seollal(설날) traditionsnew window.

It's a Dragon

In 2024, it is the Year of the Dragon.  The Chinese/Vietnamese zodiac is a traditional classification scheme based on the lunar calendar that assigns an animal and its reputed attributes to each year in a repeating twelve-year cycle.

New Year Dates

Lunar New Year 2024 begins on Saturday, February 10, 2024, and celebrations culminate with the Lantern Festival on February 24, 2024.

The Red Envelopes

During Lunar New Year, it is a tradition to give out red envelopes (known as 紅包, hóngbāo in Chinese and Bao lì xì in Vietnamese), which is a gift of money inserted into an ornate small red pocket of paper. The significance of red envelopes is the red paper, rather than the money inside. The red color symbolizes good luck, happiness, and prosperity.

In Chinese culture, the red envelope (money) is also called “压岁钱 ya sui qian”, which translates to “suppressing the folktale demon, Sui’s money”. Thus, wrapping money in red envelopes means to bestow peace, happiness, and blessings on the receivers in the year to come. 

For the Vietnamese culture, the red envelope represents good luck, happiness, prosperity, health at Tet. It shows the love of older people to younger people. The money in the envelope is not for spending but considered a special part of Vietnamese Tet, love and care.

See some scholarships available to Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPI) students. Please visit website for more information and deadline. 

The APIA Scholarship is our largest scholarship program, open to AANHPI undergraduate students attending any U.S. accredited university or college. Scholarship amounts range from $2,500 one-year awards to $20,000 multi-year awards. APIA Scholars has a special focus on supporting AANHPI students who live at or below the poverty line; are in the first generation of their family to attend college; are representative of the APIA community's diversity, (geographically and ethnically}, especially those ethnicities that have been underrepresented on college campuses due to limited access and opportunity. Strong applicants would also have an emphasis on community service and leadership.

The Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Scholarship Program is a collaboration with AANAPISIs and the communities they serve to provide scholarships, expand institutional capacity, and mobilize local resources to help foster economic development. The AANAPISI Scholarship is available annually to students attending APIA Scholars AANAPISI partner campuses listed below. The AANAPISI Scholarship online application opens on September 7, 2022, and closes on January 19th at 5:00 PM EST. Scholarship awards range from one-time $2,500 awards to multi-year $5,000 awards.

Kimmy Duong Foundation Scholarshipnew window
Submission period ended but look out for next year. Each undergraduate scholarship will be $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000 annually.  The scholarship is renewable annually for up to 4 years, for students who are pursuing a bachelor degree. See attached image for more information. Also check website.

Are you interested in being on the Planning Committee? We are always looking for more ideas to make the Heritage Month Kick-off Festival a fun and learning experience for employees and students at the College. If you want to join the committee or have questions, please send an email to the Planning Committee!

Committee Members
Nghi Nguyen (Chair), Kaylin Nguyen (Vice Chair), Sharmini Azeez, Thanh King, Vathany Say, Ramon Valenzuela