BY GABBY RAYMOND '20
On Saturday, April 1, the Korean American Sisters Association hosted their second annual Korea Night, catered by local Korean restaurant Cana. The 2 hour show included a mix of traditional and modern arts performances depicting the many aspects of Korean culture. Chloe Lopez-Lee ’18, the secretary of KASA, said, “We don’t have a specific theme for the show — we wanted it to be comprehensive and allow the members of our organization to showcase our culture.”
Most of the performances of the night were centered around issues of Korean identity and the experience of being a Korean student in the United States. Unlike other campuses in the Five Colleges that have separate organizations for international Korean students and Korean- American students, KASA’s members include individuals of all Korean identities. “We are very accepting; we have a mix of international and domestic students, as well as students who are trying to integrate Korean culture into their own lives,” said Lopez-Lee.
India Murphy ’19, who co-hosted the show, has felt very at home in KASA even though she is not ethnically Korean. “I watched a lot of Korean dramas and listened to KPop in high school. Com- ing here to Mount Holyoke and joining KASA, I found my own community within the Korean culture that I connected deeply with,” she stated.
Many Americans, like Murphy, are first introduced to Korean culture through Korean dramas and music. However, the organizers of the event thought it was very important to convey to the audience that Korea is a country with a rich history and traditions that go beyond the entertainment for which it is known worldwide. “A lot of Koreans feel that when people see Korea they only see the flashy side — but they don’t realize Korea is a country with normal people and normal issues,” stated Young Seo Cho ’17.
In order to highlight some of these is- sues, each year the show starts with an educational piece. This year, one of the hosts, Onji Bae ’18, presented on political resistance in Korea. “The best form
of solidarity to show a culture is to learn about their heritage and their history, and we are a people of resistance, a peo- ple who protest and know when to raise our voices,” Bae stated.
The members of KASA also wanted to make sure to show individuality within Korean culture. The performances included Taekwondo, a traditional Korean fan dance, K-pop dances and an acoustic guitar and singing duo. In her spoken word performance on Korean identity, Lopez-Lee stated, “When you meet someone of a specific ethnicity they will not be the exact same as someone else from that culture. Even as we come together to celebrate one specific culture we should also celebrate the individuality within it.”