Annual Asian American heritage festival showcases culture and cuisine in Ocoee

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

OCOEE, Fla. – More than two hundred people gathered Sunday in Ocoee for the 13th annual Asian American Heritage Council Asian Cultural Festival.

A Dragon dance kicked off the festival in style. It is widely known in Asian culture. There were also different cuisines and vendors out celebrating and showcasing Asian culture, reminding others about the importance of inclusion here in Central Florida.

“It’s very important for the entire society to know our culture and know the value we appreciate and we are all a part of this society,” said Yan Lu, president of the Asian American Heritage Council of Central Florida.

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Guide Cholvanich and his team at Meng’s Kitchen were among the vendors here. They sell southeast Asian comfort food.

“We do this every year and we feel the importance of doing it because the Asian community is rising here,” Cholvanich said.

This festival, which also helps provide scholarships for students, comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law this week a bill requiring the instruction of Asian American Pacific Islander history in Florida public schools in Kindergarten through grade 12.

Mimi Chan, director of Make Us Visible Florida, worked for the last two years to get this piece of legislation signed. She said growing up and going to school in Florida, she never learned about the civic contributions of Asian Americans.

“Had I seen myself reflected in history and had others been able to learn about the civic contributions, I feel that the feeling of other or the perpetual foreigner syndrome could have been prevented,” Chan said.

Chan said it will take three to five years before the curriculum is introduced into classrooms.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.