PORTLAND, Ore. — Step into the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Old Town Chinatown in downtown Portland, and be immersed in beauty and culture.
“It is absolutely an oasis,” said Executive Director Elizabeth Nye. “And at this oasis, we work very hard to inspire, engage, educate our audiences about a richly authentic Chinese culture.”
The month of May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI), and Lan Su has packed the calendar with cultural programs, performances and exhibits with the theme “Celebrate Our Stories” from May 6-28.
“I always love to consider this as a humbling learning experience,” said Venus Sun, Lan Su’s director of cultural and community engagement. “Even I am culturally Asian. I don't know just how rich how amazing how fast ancient cultures are exactly to a greater community.”
The Lan Su Chinese Garden and almost 60 partner organizations joined with Oregon Rises Above Hate to hold an event outside the garden walls on Saturday, May 6 to speak out against Asian hate.
“That will happen from 10 to 11 and then we'll follow that with an amazing community celebration of all of the different cultures,” Nye said. “We have performances — I think 15 different performances are scheduled, food trucks, organizations tabling, so it's a great community event to kick off AANHPI (Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander) Month.”
Each of the next four weekends is a chance to not just feature AAPI culture but celebrate them. Honoring both differences and similarities.
“At the end of the day, what do we care about? We care about family, we care about community, we care about making a difference, and that's what you see when you get to experience other cultures as well,” said Nye.
“Every weekend, we are highlighting one region of AANHPI community,” added Sun. “We call it cultural immersion days. So you're going to come May 7, 13, 20 and the 27th and each day they will be highlighting a particular region or a particular culture. That is our cultural demonstration performances, even some food tasting, so we really want to let you see, listen, and taste and sense just how amazing these cultures are, and also at the same time how they are visible here in Portland, and we want to give them that platform.”
For more information on “Celebrate Our Stories” or to volunteer with the Lan Su Chinese Garden, visit LanSuGarden.com.