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Over the next several days Penn students will come together to celebrate a culture, a community and even an anniversary.

The campus-wide celebration is part of the 10th annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Week.

For many, the 10th anniversary is a source of great pride. Julie Lee, vice chairwoman of cultural affairs for the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, said she hopes that students will recognize how much the Asian Pacific student community has developed in recent years.

"It's kind of a milestone, and I hope that students will... get an idea of how far we've come," the Engineering senior said.

College senior and APSC Chairwoman Eugena Oh also noted that this year's APAHW is especially important.

"I think that the tri-chairs of this year's week have taken extra steps to ensure that this year we take time to reflect upon the great strides that Asian Pacific Americans have made within the Penn community within the last 10 years," Oh said.

Performing Arts Night will kick off the week's programs tonight at 7 p.m. in Harrison Auditorium in the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. It will feature most of Penn's Asian performing arts groups, including Penn Masala and Full Measure among others.

Another highlight of the week is a candlelight vigil on College Green that will commemorate victims of hate crimes and violence. It will include speeches by many community members and appearances by several campus performing arts groups.

The vigil, which will be held Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., is the product of cooperation between many groups on campus.

APSC Vice Chairman Clarence Tong, who organized the event, said that its collaborative aspect is key.

"By bringing out such a broad coalition of students, we're sending a strong message that we stand against hate crimes and violence," the College junior said.

"Given the broad nature of hate crimes, its good to show solidarity," he added.

Additionally, APAHW keynote speaker Rodney Salinas will address the importance of being an active and vocal member of the Asian Pacific American community. Salinas is the founder and president of the Rainmaker Political Group, which supplies content for individuals interested in politics and social issues. Salinas will address students in College Hall at 8 p.m. on Wednesday night.

And on Friday night, the Vis-a-Vis Fashion Show will highlight Asian Pacific American culture. This event will take place in Houston Hall at 8 p.m.

In addition to the week's usual events, this year APAHW organizers have invited Asian Pacific American alumni to attend the programs. They will be participating in a career panel and celebrating the community's history at Penn this weekend.

Organizers of APAHW said they hope that the planned events will not only help celebrate Asian Pacific American heritage but also educate the entire community about the diversity of Asian Pacific American cultures.

"The APA community is so diverse," APAHW Tri-Chairman Sal Chan said. "It's not just a monolithic kind of group."

Chan, a College senior, also said he hopes a diverse group of students, faculty members and community residents attend the events.

"We just actively encourage everyone to actively attend all events," he said.

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