Students can use art to fight stereotypes at the upcoming 'True Colors' event

The Pacific Islander and Asian Association and Spectrum are hosting the event to dismantle stigmas

The Pacific Islander and Asian Association is teaming up with Spectrum, the West campus LGBT+ club, to break down preconceptions of Asian and LGBT+ culture in a colorful and interactive way.

In the upcoming "True Colors" event, students are invited to paint over a canvas featuring words that describe typical cultural stereotypes as a way to creatively challenge preconceived notions. 

Sophomore forensic biology major Xavier Morett, who is the social chair for the PIAAA and vice president of Spectrum, said the event is a nice intersection of the two diverse clubs.

“We have a board of stereotypes of both Asian identities and LGBT identities, and people are able to express themselves creatively with paint to take over those stereotypes with what they would consider to be the truth," Morrett said.

Leilani Viscaina, a sophomore global management major and president of the PIAAA said the goal of this event is to examine stereotypes and work towards ending them.

“Students get to come and paint over their stereotypes. That way, they are brought to the surface and there is more discussion about them and how to end them,” Viscaina said. 

Once the canvas is covered with colorful messages, Viscaina said the club is planning on writing the words, “our stereotypes do not define us” and hanging it on campus for the month of April, which ASU is celebrating as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Michaela Bates, a senior majoring in psychology and sociology who is the public outreach officer for the PIAAA, said this event is to help students break away from stereotypes that may affect them.

“What we’re trying to do is allow people to express that they’re not their stereotypes. They’re more than that,” Bates said.


The inspiration for this event stemmed from the fact that the spring semester Pride Week will occur during ASU's celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Morett said that there are many stereotypes tied to both Asian and LGBT culture, so addressing that through a collaborative event works for both groups.

The PIAAA is doing other events to celebrate the heritage month, such as Passport to Asia on April 9, where students are invited to come and try a variety of Asian cuisines.

The PIAAA is currently based on the West campus but has goals of expanding to better represent all campuses. 

Along with allowing the group to reach out to the larger ASU community, the "True Colors" event is a way to make students feel welcomed and accepted, despite whatever stereotypes they may face. 

“We are more than our stereotypes. We have true colors within ourselves and we shouldn’t be limited or defined by these stereotypes.” Bates said.


Reach the reporter at mmbarbe3@asu.edu and follow @meganbarbera_ on Twitter. 

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