Gator News

Celebrate AANHPI Month! Va'a: Voices, Ancestry & Art

By Philip Denman, May 1, 2024

GRC's Pacific Islander, Asian, and Asian American (PIAAA) Caucus will host Va'a: Voices, Ancestry & Art, a celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) heritage month from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, in the Mel Lindbloom Student Union's Grand Hall.

Va'a is a word in Samoan, Hawaiian and Tahitian which means 'boat', 'canoe' or 'ship' and is deeply rooted in the rich maritime traditions of the indigenous Polynesian people who first explored and settled the pacific islands. Va'a were vital for transportation, trade, fishing, and warfare. Canoes were not merely a means of transportation but were also considered sacred vessels, often associated with gods and spirits. The tradition of canoe-building was accompanied by rituals and prayers to ensure the safety and success of their voyages.

The event is open to all students and employees at the college will include speakers, performances, and activities, along with a resource fair of community organizations and local vendors. 

Event Schedule

  • Stage:
    • 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. / Talk and Poetry session with Dr. Joan King and Candace Cassady
    • 12:30-1:30 p.m. / Performances from students and local organizations
  • Food:
    • 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. / Refreshments
    • 12:30-2 p.m. / Light lunch
  • Activities:
    • 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m / Resource Fair - local organizations and vendors, career navigators, and, academic/wellness supports
    • 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m  / Interactive Art Piece - come participate and add your own voice to our ocean (all people welcome)!
    • 12:30-3:30 p.m. / Cultural Workshop Tables - come learn how to make crafts such as a Chinese knot or origami


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