This spring, Museum on Main is celebrating the Uyghur culture, partnering with the local community to raise awareness of its existence here and its struggles against China.
Uyghurs are ethnically and culturally a Turkic people living in the heart of Asia, on the fabled ancient Silk Road, occupied by China since 1949. The Turkic-speaking Uyghurs, who have inhabited the area for almost 4,000 years, are under threat by China as it opposes its centuries-old traditions.
"We feel very fortunate to be a part of a diverse community here in Pleasanton, and each year we try to highlight that diversity with our Celebrate Community partnerships and programs," said Sarah Schaefer, the museum's director of education. "This year we are honored to be spotlighting the local Uyghur community and helping to raise awareness of the plight of the Uyghur communities in East Turkistan."
The following free programs will be held:
* MoM's Toddler Reading Time with Uyghur Nowruz, ushering in of the new year, a spring festival: 10 a.m. this Wednesday (March 11).
* Celebrate Community: Uyghur Nowruz Family Day: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., March 21. Uyghur music, dance, hair braiding, crafts, demos, crafts, calligraphy, cross stitch, traditional games, and food from a Uyghur restaurant, plus amazing circus acts and Uyghur dances.
* "A Discussion with ... Uyghur scholar Dr. Erkin Sidick": 5:30-7 p.m., April 25. This NASA scientist will discuss Uyghur culture and language and the current crisis in China. He has traveled the country and the world to raise awareness about the plight of the Uyghur community. The one-hour talk will be followed by a reception. Free but reservations required.
Today, it is estimated that more than 20 million Uyghurs live in East Turkistan and abroad. According to the Uyghur Congress, "Human rights violations remain pervasive including persecution on cultural and religious grounds, arbitrary arrests and the silencing of peaceful dissent."
Museum on Main is at 603 Main St. Call 462-2766 or visit www.museumonmain.org.