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Festival to Open Hapa Heritage Forum

The Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival has been raising issues and topics among the Hapa or mixed-race persons and their contributions to American culture in the previous festivals. This year, the festival will host another forum to share their thoughts and visions.

Hapa is a Hawaiian term generally acceptable for Asian mixed-race persons. The number of those who have mixed-race heritage has grown as census data shows that tens of thousands of residents claim partial Japanese heritage in the greater Seattle area.

Aisha Fukushima, a local-born rapper and activist, will be a special guest for the “Hapa Hafu Heritage Forum” and will give a performance during the event.

Fukushima, who is a multitalented African American Japanese woman, utilizes her performing skills as a singer and public speaker to educate on such topics as global citizenship, empowerment, feminism and cultural activism. She is the founder of “RAPtivism,” a global hip hop project that aims to “contribute to universal efforts for freedom and justice by challenging apathy awareness, ignorance with intelligence and oppression with expression,” according to the website.

Fukushima grew up in Yokohama, graduated from Whitman College in 2009 and currently lives in San Francisco. She maintains comprehension of a number of different languages, among them Japanese and fluency in French. Her influences are global through not only RAPtivism but also presentations at TEDx events and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, among other venues.

Fukushima’s RAPtivism performance will be at 1 p.m. on Friday at Fisher Pavilion and she will join the Hapa Hafu Heritage Forum at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Armory Loft 2.

Rica Mackert, a former community queen, and hopefully, Jeff Chiba Sterns, a Japanese Canadian film director, will join the forum.

Sterns’ “Mixed Match” will be screened on Saturday and Sunday, joined by Be The Match, which has operated the National Marrow Donor Program for 25 years. Following the screenings, they will look for new bone marrow doners at the site.