MIDTOWN MANHATTAN – The first annual Asian American Pacific Islander Cultural and Heritage Parade in New York City is kicking off this weekend.

William Su is the executive advisor of Better Chinatown USA, the group that puts on the Lunar New Year Parade. “We’re all going to have music and dancing on my float and I’m just hoping we’re going to have a good time,” Su said.

Su has been involved with the Lunar New Year Parade since its inception more than 20 years ago. Since then, they have also been trying to put on the upcoming parade to include all members of the AAPI community. The city finally approved the permits, Su said.

The groups didn’t have much time to prepare. They were given a three-week notice, but event co-chair Dr. Bindu Babu, who represents South Asia, says they’re not missing a detail to showcase their heritage.

“In India, we’ll have Punjabi,” Dr. Babu said. “We’ll have Mhiniyattam and all different types of cultures and dancing and colors and a lot of festivities.”

Heng Chen is the president of the Fukiense American Association. “It’s going to be a lot of Chinese culture, dancing and costume,” Chen added.

You can also expect to see Taekwondo during the parade, according to Korean American Association President Charles Yoon.

“Taekwondo is a Korean traditional martial arts form that is very popular, so we will have a Taekwondo demonstration,” Yoon said. “We will also have fan dance being performed with the dancers wearing Korean traditional attire. We will also be having some K-pop music.”

The timing of the parade is special too. May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The last two years have been tough with COVID-19 and anti-Asian hate, but on Sunday morning, Sixth Avenue will be their stage to celebrate their identities and cultures altogether.

“The whole New York will be getting to know more about [us] Asians,” Su said. “We are all hardworking people. We’re all American.”

The parade starts at 44th Street and will head north on Sixth Avenue ending on 55th Street. It kicks off at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday.