At Unit Souzou, we celebrate our heritage, both traditional and evolving, all throughout the year in all the work we do. The most public way we do this is through our community work. We love to perform and teach, but another core part of our joy and our values is to be embedded in our community. Being civically engaged gives our work purpose and ensures that we are part of a community conversation.
We are excited to be part of the Resident Artist Collaborative at APANO for the Jade-Midway Placemaking Projects. We’ll be doing free family workshops to explore pedestrian safety, transit, and displacement through taiko, theater, and discussion and then developing a short piece inspired by the work.
This past February, we worked with Buckman Elementary 2nd grade teachers and Chisao Hata, Dance Specialist, to create an original play, “Gambatte…Be Strong.” Through music, dance, visual art and theatre the 2nd graders studied and performed the history of the Japanese American Internment experience, which included personal stories of Japanese-American Oregonians.
In another effort to deepen civic engagement, our Co-Director Michelle Fujii has been participating in the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute which empowers API women to become strong leaders. As part of the program, Michelle will lead a community walk this June inviting friends and supporters to walk through a loop trail pausing at 3 points to hear personal stories from 3 guest speakers sharing about what “community” is to them. More details and dates will be sent soon!
We are especially excited to be celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Originally a week long celebration proclaimed by the U.S. Congress in 1978, May became the official commemorative month for Asian Pacific American Heritage in the 1990s. May holds relevant historical significance. It was the month when the first Japanese immigrated to the U.S. in 1843. And then in May 1869 the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, by mostly Chinese workers.
We welcome you to embrace the power and heart we bring to every Unit Souzou engagement, this month during APA Heritage Month and throughout this spring and summer. Hope to see you soon!