After elevated COVID-19 risk levels across Lane County postponed it this month, the Oregon Asian Celebration will now be held jointly with another decades-old event in July.
In keeping with this year’s theme of “Strength in Unity: Year of the Ox”, the Oregon Asian Celebration will take place in Alton Baker Park on July 31st, alongside the Obon and Taiko Drumming Festival.
OAC organizer, David Tam shared his thoughts at a press conference tonight in Eugene.
“The importance of partnership is critical," said Tam. "It’s a critical approach to how we change our perception of racial bigotry, and the ignorance and the hate in our community.”
Tam introdcued Aimee Yogi, an organizer for the Obon Festival, as someone who has long been a part of the cultural observations across the city. Yogi told reporters that having her event alongside the OAC means the world to her community.
“Obon is a very, very special event because Eugene loves to dance. We get 1 to 2,000 people out there on the lawn dancing in the afternoon.”
The OAC and Obon Festival have been held for 36 and 32 consecutive years, respectively.
Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis expressed her delight at the joint celebration after several scheduling setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Eugene’s Asian Celebration is the oldest Asian festival in the state," Vinis declared.
"It offers us an opportunity to learn and to celebrate those contributions, and to deepen our appreciation of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the second largest – and fastest growing – minority community in Oregon.”
Vinis also acknowledged the racial animosity towards Oregon’s Asian community, including the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Japanese Internment camps during World War II. Recent anti-Asian rhetoric has flared up across the U.S. during the pandemic, with some politicians and pundits dubbing it "the Wuhan flu" or "the kung flu."
In closing, Mayor Vinis pushed for the appreciation and understanding of different cultures.
Note: KLCC is a sponsor of the Oregon Asian Celebration.
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