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Asian New Year Celebration led by Southeast Center students

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Do you know about the Asian New Year Celebration? There’s a couple of students who’d like to have a word with you.

Naho Katagiri and Jeremy Selinger are leading the charge to inform, organize and promote the Southeast Center’s annual signature event that draws hundreds of people from the community to PCC. This year it’s the “Year of the Snake” and will feature music, entertainment, food, vendors, door prizes and much more.

“It’s our biggest event that we do here at the campus and is really important to the culture around the Southeast area,” Selinger said. “It’s exciting to see how the community comes and interacts.”

Jeremy Selinger and Naho Katagiri are leading the charge to inform, organize and promote the Southeast Center’s annual signature event that draws hundreds of people from the community.

Jeremy Selinger and Naho Katagiri are leading the charge to inform, organize and promote the Southeast Center’s annual signature event that draws hundreds of people from the community.

The duo along with a cadre of 20 student volunteers primarily from ASPCC-Southeast are going into classrooms to pitch the event. But a big component is honoring and inviting Southeast Portland’s abundance of Asian cultures, from Chinese to Vietnamese to Thai to Indian and Japanese and more, to the event. Katagiri, who is studying accounting and is an international student from Japan, said it’s this welcoming of Southeast Portland’s cultures that is the focus of the event.

“There are so many Asian communities here,” said Katagiri, who is chair of the Asian New Year Celebration planning committee and is an international student advocate for ASPCC. “It’s a very good opportunity to create relationships with our community. In my culture we celebrate differently so it’s very interesting to me. Even though I’m Asian, I am still learning from people of other countries like Vietnam and China. And I’m excited about the entertainment. We have many dances that I haven’t seen before.”

The students are working hard. Many are performing in the event as well as staffing it, from directing traffic to ticket-taking or organizing the food and videos. Plus, many are canvassing the entire surrounding community to make sure everyone is involved and aware of the celebration.

“It’s very important to include different cultures,” said Selinger, who is graduating in the spring with a transfer degree in business. “Especially because this area is lot more diverse than people really realize. When you focus on one group and leave out another it’s really easy to have people feel excluded in the community. With our focus on bringing in the community we really focus on all the groups.

Selinger and Katagiri in the Southeast Center's Peace Garden. The students are working hard. Many are performing in the event as well as staffing it, from directing traffic to ticket-taking or organizing the food and videos.

Selinger and Katagiri in the Southeast Center’s Peace Garden. The students are working hard. Many are performing in the event as well as staffing it, from directing traffic to ticket-taking or organizing the food and videos.

“The whole event is run by students,” he added. “I’ve been watching Naho and she’s done a really good job putting every together, organizing teammates and volunteers, and getting out there in the community and interacting.”

This will be the first time they’ve helped out with the Asian New Year Celebration, which is in its 11th year. The celebration starts promptly at 11:30 a.m., Monday, Feb. 18 at Warner Pacific College’s McGuire Auditorium (SE Division St. and 68th Ave.). Admission is $3 for the community, $1 for students and free for children who are under 12. Prior to the event there will be an International Market hosted at PCC’s Southeast Center’s Great Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The International Market includes a showcase of cultures by students and samples of food.

The reason for the switch to Warner Pacific for the main event is that PCC is transforming the Southeast Center into a comprehensive, full-service campus. The old location for the celebration – Legin Restaurant – has been leveled to make way for bond construction.

“I definitely see excitement,” Sellinger said of his fellow students’ reaction to the construction. “It’s really exciting. Out here, it’s a community and we want to build and get better. As we grow, we want the community around us to grow as well.”

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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x by Paula Ongmanchi 5 years ago

I believe this is the second time I have heard of PCC calling the Chinese New Year, “Asian New Year”. All other asian countries, including Japan, where Naho is from, celebrate New Year just like everybody else-JANUARY 1ST. Grouping all asians and assuming they celebrate the Chinese New Year just because the Chinese are asian is so offensive to me. I am filipino, I am asian, and I celebrated the New Year last January 1st!!

x by Sean 5 years ago

If you read the article, it makes it clear that this is an event about community and celebrating multiple cultures. Since there are so many different Asians cultures and countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year(The Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese to name a few), I think calling it the “Chinese New Year” would exclude and disrespect the many other cultures this event is celebrating. By saying “all other Asian countries” celebrate New Years on January 1st is an erroneous claim, and is ill-informed. I understand some Asian cultures do not celebrate the Lunar New Years, but I think a multicultural New Years celebration for many different Asian cultures around the world has ever right to be called an “Asian New Years” celebration.

x by Bill 5 years ago

Maybe we could all settle on calling it the Lunar New Year. In San Francisco, and Vancouver, B.C., there is large enough Chinese community to celebrate “Chinese New Year.” It’s a traditional celebration in those cities, and while very inclusive, focuses on Chinese Culture (which of course is not monolithic, but an amalgam of many diverse cultures). But I agree with Paula that Asian New Year doesn’t quite describe what we celebrate in Portland. Can we settle on the Lunar New Year, and hope PCC adopts this next year?

Now here’s another challenge: What would you propose for the area in downtown Portland known as Chinatown? Our “Chinatown,” is more a product of urban renewal, not really an organically formed ethnic section of the city. So what would be a better name, more inclusive and accurate? And one that catches on (this area needs some help folks, economically)?

x by James Hill 5 years ago

As it has been stated above, Asian New Year Celebration encompasses all of Asia’s cultures as one unified celebration. It’s an event organized by students, staff and the Asian community around Southeast Center, and all settled on the name a long time ago. If you are concerned enough about the title, please email one of the founders, Trina Hing, who can discuss this with you:

x by Preston G. Tracey 5 years ago

It is possible that you are confusing the traditional Asian New Year with the Western mode which has been empoyed by Japan since the 1800s, and many other Asian countries since. The Lunar New Year was traditionally observed by many East Asian societies, as well as in the Middle East. Asia is not some monolithic culture or ethnicity, but as with the European calendar it is commonsense to apply some dates broadly–hence an “Asian New Year”. Disrespect may be found by intention, and I believe it should be obvious that neither Naho Katagiri nor Jeremy Selinger have any interest in sowing prejudice through their efforts.

x by Cori Traylor 5 years ago

I think it’s great you are uniting in this way. Create value where you are with all cultures!

x by Portland Community College » Students power Asian New Year Celebration 5 years ago

[…] To read more about this dynamic duo, visit: […]

x by Public Affairs media and website report for February 2013 | PCC News 5 years ago

[…] Asian New Year Celebration led by Southeast Center students (1,733 […]

x by Paula Ongmanchi 5 years ago

It’s amazing how all the other complaints posted by other asians in this website has been magically deleted. How one sided and very disappointing.

x by Fub 5 years ago

Seeing how your and Preston’s remain, I would highly doubt your claim that comments are being removed.

What is amazing is how, a month later, you are still complaining here rather than contacting the event coordinators.

x by James Hill 5 years ago

@Paula. One comment was deleted because of the ugliness of the content, which unfortunately used inappropriate language to make a point. As I have commented before, if you feel strongly about something please contact the organizer at She can talk with you about why the event is the way it is and would be a more constructive use of your time.

x by Paula Ongmanchi 5 years ago

@fub , I am glad that you are “amazed” in my ability to actually follow up on what the replies are towards the postings here, especially when I notice the injustice when it comes to being selective towards letting the comments promoting “your cause” stay and deleting the ones that are against.Not all the postings deleted had malicious content or words. Event coordinators have been contacted, with no reply whatsoever. I have emailed the email provided, but that doesnt stop me from monitoring what is on here. I am the prime determinant of what I consider to be productive or not. Basing on the comments here, it seems like many coordinators and people related to coordinators were offended just because some representatives of the asian culture dont find it fit that their chosen name are said to be inappropriate. Some asians dont mind being called (removed racial slur) either, it doesnt mean you should keep saying it to every asian just because some asians accept it without offense. I have done my part by informing the people in charge and if it is their decision not to respect the wishes of the people who found offense on the title, there is nothing more I can do. Closed minds are closed minds.

x by Fub 5 years ago

“…it doesnt mean you should keep saying it to every asian just because some asians accept it without offense”

The word “asian” is a derogatory term? As offensive as the ‘c’ word that I am not going to repeat?

Or, are you instead insisting it is offensive to use the word because this is a celebration of ONLY the Chinese new year? If that were true, I would understand your point. However, as others have pointed out several times: the lunar new year is also celebrated by the Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan and Vietnamese people.

You seem to keep ignoring this point.

At least we can agree on one thing: Closed minds are closed minds.

x by Paula Ongmanchi 4 years ago

I know right!

x by Paula Ongmanchi 4 years ago

The “STUPIDEST” university PCC! I regret for studying here in the university!!!!!!

x by Paula ongmanchi 4 years ago

My message has been magically deleted. Amazing.

x by Paula Ongmanchi 4 years ago

The 3 comments above this were not written by me. First of all, PCC is not a University… Second, I would never publicly call an institution STUPID ,especially in writing.. This will be my last comment, so if anybody posts as Paula Ongmanchi again, pls be warned that it is not me. I have been receiving some threats on my email and I have talked to the Dean about this as well. The first comment was made with the intention of creating a dialogue about how I thought it was inappropriate for this celebration to be called Asian New Year, but I acknowledge the points that the other people made after giving it considerable thought. Traditionally, the lunar new year is called Chinese New Year, and while it is celebrated by other countries, the people who celebrate in Korea and Japan are the chinese people that reside there. It is the same in the Philippines. I initially commented on this article because other people noticed the name as well and like me, were offended by it. I made it my resolve to advocate for the people involved by initiating a conversation about it, not a fight. I don’t appreciate the condescending comments posted by the other users here because it discourages the minority people from speaking up about racism and discrimination. Again, this is my final post. To the people who do not agree with my post and feel the need to create a fake login name to hate on the school, you should stop and find better ways to make use of your life. Maybe advocate for the things you care about.