PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland is working to uplift the voices of women of color this summer by hosting a diverse series of speakers and performers. 

The program series, called “This is She,” will feature five presenters, including entrepreneurs, musicians, actors and more. The presenters will share their craft and their perspectives on issues that affect minority communities. 

“We want to bring the spirit back to the garden. And this year, it has been a very challenging year, especially for women of color in Portland, so we really do feel that and we want to speak to that voice,” said Venus Sun, the senior director of culture and community engagement at Lan Su Chinese Garden. 

She said the platform provides the presenters a space to share their life stories, their struggles and their art. 

While it’s always been a place of tranquil beauty and meditation, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is hoping to provide more for the community, by emphasizing the need to support Black, Indigenous people of color and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. 

“What’s happened in the past few months maybe even served as an extra push to take a look at what our community needs and at the same time, what kind of role can Lan Su be playing in new conversations or new dialogues going forward,” Sun said. 

The talk series began July 23, but continues for the following four Saturdays, through August 20. All events begin at 2 p.m. 

During the first event, Sun said the garden expected 20-30 people to attend, but was pleasantly surprised when an audience of at least 100 people came to watch Sherrie Davis Morningstar, a multicultural Indigenous American musician. She said the line to get into the event wrapped around the building. 

The following people will be presenting during the This is She series: 

  • July 30th, 2-3:00 pm: Yuan-Chen Li, Taiwanese American composer
  • August 6th, 2-4:00 pm: Barbie Wu, Taiwanese American actor and creative producer of Repertory Theatre
  • August 13th, 2-4:00 pm: Leialoha Ka’ula, Native Hawaiian educator and community leader, Ka Lei Hali’a O Ka Lokelani
  • August 20th, 2-4:00 pm: Kamelah Adams, founder and creative director of Mimi’s Fresh Tees 

Sun said she’d like to see the series become an annual event.