Luau celebration kicks off Asian Pacific Islander Month at Clovis Community College

Members of the Polynesian Club of Fresno perform tradition island dances during the luau celebration at Clovis Community College on April 24. PHOTO COURTESY OF CLOVIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Clovis Community College (CCC) celebrated Asian Pacific Islander culture and heritage with a campus luau lunch and performance on April 24.

The event, which was a precursor to the start of Asian Pacific Islander month in May, featured traditional Hawaiian food, as well as music and dance performances of various Polynesian cultures.

In collaboration with CCC, the Polynesian Club of Fresno provided the food and entertainment for the celebration. Attendees of the event enjoyed plates of kalua pork and teriyaki chicken while the

One of the cofounders of the Polynesian Club of Fresno, Linda Kuma, said the event was a fun way to share the cultures of Asian Pacific Islanders with the Clovis community and the campus. She added that sharing her culture with others was important to bring communities together.

“Everyone needs a place to belong. Some people find it in gangs, some people find it in church and some people find it in dance groups,” Kuma said. “We start our children off at 5, and we have people in their 70s and 80s who dance.”

Patrick Stumpf, senior program specialist in charge of student activities at CCC, said the idea for the event came about after listening to student input regarding what the campus community would like to see and learn about more.

“We wanted to do something to honor the cultures,” Stumpf said. “We ended up coming up with this, kind of our unique way of celebrating that, it celebrates specifically island culture.”

Leo Kaho Kuma, the lead male dancer, drummer and choreographer of the Polynesian Club, was at the event to run the music and dance portion of the performance.

“Our show is about an hour long, and we do a little bit of everything from Hawaii to New Zealand to Maori, Samoan. So we encompass a little bit of all the Polynesian islands because it’s just not one,” Kuma said. “Usually people think of Hawaii when they think of Polynesia. But there’s different islands, and they all have different styles of dance.”

Kuma said the event was about more than food and a performance, but was a way to share and pass down stories to the community members. He said he hoped that the attendees might learn a little more about Polynesian culture or even an island that they have never heard of before.

“That’s what dancing in the islands is all about is passing down stories to their children,” Kuma said.

Seth Casey
Seth Casey is an aspiring journalist, an avid sports fan and a Fresno/Clovis native. He currently attends Fresno State, where he is pursuing a degree in Media, Communication and Journalism with an emphasis in print journalism. He is excited for the opportunity to work at the Clovis Roundup and looks forward to serving the Clovis community and its residents by showcasing all the city has to offer.