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Celebrating diversity: Asian American, Pacific Islander heritage honored

People dance outdoors in colorful clothing in front of an audience.

Children watch the “Lilo and Stitch” dance performance at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month event May 16, 2018, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. In 1978, Congress established Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to U.S. history and culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Marcus Taylor)

People dance outdoors in colorful clothing in front of an audience.

Volunteers dance the hula at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month event May 16, 2018, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The purpose of the event was to commemorate and celebrate Asian-Pacific culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Marcus Taylor)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Team Little Rock celebrated the Air Force's diversity with an Asian American and Pacific Islander Month event May 18, 2018, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. 

The festivities educated and showcased Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, hosted by the 19th Airlift Wing Military Equal Opportunity Office.

Activities included ukulele music performances, a cultural fashion show, trivia questions and dancing from the various regions.

A variety of dishes highlighted an aspect of each culture, from Hawaiian chicken to Filipino lumpia, which was the staple of the event.

"It's important to educate and include everyone and their culture," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Wilson, 19th AW MEO advisor. "Events like this help foster a sense of community."

Some individuals wore their native garments to honor their tradition, but natives weren't the only ones in attendance. People from all ethnicities were welcome and participated in the event.

“The event was important for highlighting heritage because cultures are a part of who we are,” said LeTia Eclavea, AAPI president. “Spreading awareness and diversity is important because this helps perpetuate who we are and where we came from.”

No culture is the same. Embracing all differences is top priority for the Air Force, which is why celebrating diversity doesn’t stop at the end of the month.

"The Air Force recognizes Asian American and Pacific Islander month and other special observances throughout the year to enhance cross-cultural awareness and to promote diversity," Wilson said.

For more information about diversity and heritage events, contact the 19th AW MEO office at (501) 987-8629.