NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A celebration of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month was displayed through visual, performing and culinary arts on Sunday.
"We wanted to push people to really think about like the food they're eating, the images and the culture that they see, and really think about our people holistically, and thinking about just beyond the things they see," said API Middle Tennessee Executive Director Joseph Gutierrez.
The Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Arts Festival hosted its second annual event in Nashville, bringing together artists and audiences from all walks of life.
"I think one of the things our community faces is invisibility," Gutierrez said. "So, just having this kind of performance piece and people coming to see and share is very important to know that we're here."
That visibility comes at an important time.
"Over the last few years it's been very difficult to be an Asian Pacific islander with, particularly, anti-Chinese rhetoric that's been popping up in the past few years in relation to COVID," said Gutierrez. "So I think it's important to come out and celebrate who we are, and this offers an opportunity for us to do that."
The organization also presented Williamson County and Metro Schools with a combined $14,000 to purchase hundreds of API written and illustrated books.
"I think there's a lack of media representation for Asian Pacific Islanders, and I think it's very important for our children to see themselves as the main characters of their own lives," said Gutierrez.
API Middle Tennessee is still working with the Greater Nashville Chinese Association and the Nashville Chinese School to continue fund-raising for API books in local schools. Interested parties can donate to the GoFundMe.