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Asian Fest aims to share culture, education in weekend celebration

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana is gearing up to celebrate its robust Asian population with the annual Asian fest. Organizers say after some tough years brought on by the pandemic, this is an important chance to share culture.

Walking into the Global Village, you’ll see representation of cultures from around the globe, including Asia.

Asians started showing up in the United States centuries ago. Asian-American community leader say it’s important that we start looking at Asians as our neighbors rather than outsiders.

Culture is a part of the fabric that makes a community what it is, and Asians have made their mark.

“We are part of this tapestry and bring the colors here,” Asian American Alliance President, Rupal Thanawala, said.

An annual celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islanders is one way to share that culture.

While the pandemic forced some changes over the last couple years, the Global Village will welcome people back to full capacity on Saturday. Attendees will enjoy a variety of live performances, activities, food, health screenings, and more.

“We have welcomed more than 300 Afghan families in Indiana, and you will be able to meet them here,” Thanawala said.

The continent of Asia is home to roughly 50 countries, with people speaking 3,000 languages. Thanawala says this year’s celebration may hold even more importance.

“We have been here many, many generations, however, often due to the color of our skin and facial features, we can be very easily identified. Often, it gives a perception that we are outsiders,” Thanawala said.

Alongside the pandemic there’s been another crisis; a spike in Asian hate crime. Countering the hate, there’s also been love and a desire for more connection.

“On a positive note, a lot of our Hoosier friends, they want to come and learn more about their culture. I think this is a great way to educate and learn about who we are and how long we have been here, and we are just your next door neighbor,” Thanawala said.