AAPI Festival provides unique experiences

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The Asian American Pacific Islander Festival took place Friday, May 19, at the softball fields here. The event was hosted by the AAPI Heritage Committee and sponsored by the Team Hill Special Observance Council (THSOC). 

This event is one of 10 Department of the Defense special observances hosted by THSOC. May is designated as the month to commemorate and remember the contributions of the Asians and Pacific Islanders to the United States.

Guests were educated on different cultures with key facts related to the month. Booths provided information describing how people lived in Polynesia and the Micronesia islands. A popular demonstration was the grating of coconuts and showing their many uses such as making coconut candy, coconut oil, among others.

Guest speaker for this year’s festival was Roland Alforque, a Hill Air Force Base civilian police officer. A Native to the island of Guam—a Chamorro—he spoke of his pathway through the military. He also spoke of the family values that were instilled in him while growing up in Guam, and said that he carries these values with him to this day: “That we are all family and that we need to take care of each other as such.”

The festival also showcased dances from Hawaii and Samoa. Pacific Sway danced the Hawaiian hula, Pearl of the Pacific performed numbers from Samoa, and students from the Weber State University Aiga Dance Group performed dances from their native island, Samoa. The finale included personnel and family members from the 388th Fighter Wing and 75th Air Base Wing performing the Haka, a war cry of the Maori people of New Zealand. Credit goes to Staff Sgt. Vincent Lopez for taking the time to teach everyone. 

There is so much more to learn and to teach, and we must all do it together. We must continue to bring cultural awareness and understanding of diversity and human relations. Let us “Unite our Voices by Speaking Together.”

To learn more about the AAPI or other special observances celebrated and observed on Hill AFB, please email the Team Hill Special Observance Council Exec at UDG_75ABW.EO_DiversityExecs@us.af.mil. Meetings are held every third Wednesday of the month in Bldg. 460, next to the base chapel at 2 p.m.