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Asian, Black communities jointly celebrate Lunar New Year, Black History Month in Oakland

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Asian and Black communities in Oakland, California, held their second annual joint Lunar New Year and Black History Month celebration over the weekend in a show of solidarity.

Where it happened: The Lunar New Year x Black History Month Community Celebration was held at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center on Saturday. The event was organized by the center in partnership with the Malonga Arts Residents Association.

How it went: The gathering saw a combination of Lunar New Year festivities and African cultural celebrations, such as a lion dance performed by the University of California, Berkeley’s student-run dance team Cal VSA Lion Dance and a showcase of talent from the Diamano Coura, an African arts organization aimed at preserving and educating people about “traditional West African music, dance, theater, and culture.”

Other performers invited to the event include Van-Anh Vanessa Vo, dubbed as “one of the finest performers of Vietnamese traditional instruments in the world,” and the Blood Moon Orchestra. Composer, pianist and activist Kev Choice was also a special guest.

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Aside from performances, the celebration also featured “Bandung to the Bay,” an exhibit from the Eastside Arts Alliance that highlighted the solidarity between Asian and Black community activists.

The big picture: The Lunar New Year x Black History Month Community Celebration was part of the center’s “Open E.A.R.S. for Change” (Engage. Activate. Rise-up. Series), an initiative launched in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic that last until January 2024. The initiative aims to strengthen the relationship between the local Asian American Pacific Islander and African American communities through discussions about colorism and racism, among other topics, in a safe environment.

 

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