Chapter Activities and Highlights for 2014
On February 3, we served dinner at Shepherd’s Table in Silver Spring, MD to 150 guests who are homeless or in need. The mission of Shepherd’s Table, which is located in Silver Spring, Maryland, is to provide help to people who are homeless or in need by providing basic services, including meals, social services, medical support, clothing, and other assistance in an effective and compassionate manner. In recognition of the Lunar New Year, we brought a Chinese dinner of egg drop soup, chicken and eggplant, beef stew, and fried rice from Seven Seas Restaurant in Rockville, MD. We also laid out red paper lanterns and placemats with the Chinese zodiac symbols and their meanings. Fortune cookies rounded out the experience. Read more...
On February 16, OCA-DC Executive Vice President (Immediate Past President) Mary Tom moderated a session at the Second Asian Career Fair and Job Skills Seminar at the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC) in Gaithersburg, MD. The program, which was co-sponsored by our Chapter, started with a job training seminar at which seasoned professionals spoke about basic job seeking skills, such as writing resumes, preparing for interviews, and following up with potential employers. Next on the program was job fair with booths featuring local companies looking for hiring in information technology, biomedicine, engineering, federal government, startups, and more. Over 300 job seekers and 26 companies and federal government agencies participated in the event.
On February 22, we were proud to present a workshop at the East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) conference, which was held in Washington, DC at The George Washington University campus from February 21 – 23, 2014. Over 1,300 people from colleges and universities attended and engaged in many activities--including keynote addresses, workshops, networking, and general social gatherings--to build a stronger community. Our workshop was on “Self-Identity: Who are you, and why are you who you are?” and approximately 70 people it. The workshop was led by several of our board members, Stan Lou, Derek Mong, Elizabeth Lee, and Sonia Segarra-Law. The attendees were very attentive and were eager and enthusiastic participants in the discussions, particularly when they broke out into four smaller groups.
The 2014 Pan Asian Community Summit, held on February 28 in Annapolis, Maryland, drew a very well-attended forum for APA and South Asian American community leaders, including OCA-DC Executive Vice President (Immediate Past President) Mary Tom, to network and share common concerns/issues in the Asian community. The Pan Asian Community Summit is co-hosted annually by the Governor's Commission on APA Affairs and the Governor's Commission South Asian American Affairs. The mission of both commissions is to promote the interests of the overall Asian American community in the State of Maryland plus to serve as liaisons between the community, the Governor's Office, other State agencies and the General Assembly. The goal of the Summit was to empower the Asian American community by providing a platform to highlight important issues plus inform legislators and the general public on the evolving challenges facing the Asian American community. The Summit also provides an opportunity for the community to provide important feedback to the commissions toward developing recommendations to the Administration. This year's workshops included barriers in career development, understanding the political system to serve the community, healthcare in the Asian American community, and domestic violence and child abuse.
From March 8 - 11, OCA-DC Vice President for Community Outreach attended the JACL/ OCA Leadership Summit, which teaches foundational and advanced advocacy strategies to APA leaders, advocates, and students. Read more about Liz's experience at the Summit...
On March 20, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund (AEF) honored OCA-DC members Stan Lou and Ted Gong by presenting them with its Community Service Award for their work in organizing and directing the Chinatown Talk Story events. This honor was bestowed on them at the National Press Club on the occasion of AEF’s 21st annual benefit dinner. This raises funds to continue AEF’s work in awarding public interest fellowships to law students and bar assistance grants to recent graduates who accept positions with public interest organizations. Stan and Ted started this program two years ago and have nurtured its growth to a regular monthly event that is rotated among three venues in the DC Chinatown. The event shares stories and experiences from members of the APA community, both local and national. In noting that the event is worthy of its prestigious Community Service Award, the AEF acknowledges the significant impact that Talk Story has had on our community. Indeed, the local community has bonded and grown stronger because of this impact, confirming the tag line that Stan and Ted use: “The strength of our community lies in the power of our stories remembered and shared.” (In the photo: Kathy Park, News anchor with ABC 7 and News Channel 8; Jed Wulfekotte, President of AEF; Ted Gong; Stan Lou; and Lyric Chen, VP of AEF)
On March 25, we hosted Richard On, guitarist of O.A.R. (Of A Revolution), at a Talk Story event and fundraiser at the Case Foundation in Washington, DC. He talked about his personal and professional journey as a musician and performer, growing up Chinese American to parents who worked in the field of math and science, and realizing that music was more than just a hobby. O.A.R. started out in 1996 as a garage band in Rockville, MD, to the well renown band selling two million albums and over two million concert tickets that we know of today, and O.A.R. is releasing their 8th album this summer. (In the photo: Richard On is interviewed by Christian Oh, Executive Director at the DC Asian Pacific American Film, Inc.) Read more...
From March 29 through May 17, we offered the Mentoring Asian American Professionals (MAAP) program. MAAP cultivates the next generation of Asian Pacific American professional leaders through mentoring, skills building, and networking. The program was facilitated by Stan Lou and Liz Lee--who are the OCA-DC Vice Presidents for Community Outreach---and June Kao, who is a board member of CAPAL and was previously the OCA AARP 50+ Fellow.
In the program, 20 mentors and mentees committed to meet four times to discuss networking, communication, decision making, and leadership. In addition, the entire group met three times for networking and group discussions. The third group meeting included a great discussion on whole person leadership, which was led by Rosie Abriam, who is the President and CEO of the Center for Asian Pacific American Women. Read more...
On March 29, OCA-DC Executive Vice President (Immediate Past President) Mary Tom spoke at a meeting of the Chinese American Heart Association (CnAHA) in Washington, DC.
We partnered with the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to inform the Asian American and Pacific Islander community on its rights and recourses around language access and education. Our first workshop was on April 19 at the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC) in Gaithersburg, MD. (In the photos: Robert Kim, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Operations and Outreach, Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education (left photo); Sapna Pandya, Executive Director of Many Languages, One Voice; and Stan Tsai, Vice-President for Public Affairs for OCA-DC (right photo), speak to audience members on April 19 at CCACC.) Read more...
On April 27, 2014, we celebrated the start of the third year of Talk Story events with an event featuring John Tinpe, the owner of the now gone (but not forgotten) Burma Restaurant in DC 's Chinatown. In front of an audience of approximately 20 people at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in Chintown, John shared his stories from his unique vantage point--as an immigrant to the United States, as a DC Chinatown business leader, as a public servant (including as a Commissioner on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs and as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner), and as a supporter of the performing arts. (In the photo: John Tinpe, owner of the Burma Restaurant, talks with Stan Lou, OCA-DC Vice President for Community Outreach, on April 27.) Read Stan's retrospective of the previous two years...
On May 4, we partnered with with the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC) and the Alumni Association of Five Chinese Universities in Greater Washington DC Area for a blood drive targeted at the APA community at CCACC in Gaithersburg, MD. To best meet the needs of hospital patients, it is vital that the blood supply reflect the diversity of our community. Your blood type is inherited just like the color of your eyes and hair and not all racial and ethnic groups have the same mix of blood types. For instance, the Asian population has a relatively high number of individuals with B blood type. In addition, certain minority groups have rare blood types that are specific to their race, ethnicity or genetic background. Some patients of Asian descent require a closer blood match than that provided by the ABO positive/negative blood typing. For this reason, it is extremely important to increase the number of available blood donors from the Asian communities. Read additional information about donating in English or in Chinese.
On May 9, the U.S. Department of Labor honored the Chinese Railroad Workers of the transcontinental railroad from 1865 to 1869 by inducting them into the Labor Hall of Honor. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Deputy Secretary Christopher Lu gave moving tributes to the Chinese workers, lauding them for their skills in being instrumental in accomplishing one of the greatest engineering feats in American history, risking their lives in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions.
The following day, Talk Story held a special event to continue the celebration of the Chinese Railroad Workers at the Chinese Community Church in Washington, DC. We were treated to stories from some of the descendants and historians that were very emotional. The event also featured a talk from classical and jazz musician Jon Jang about how he composed music that was inspired by the Chinese Railroad Workers, and a one-woman enactment of a Chinese woman whose young son leaves to seek his fortune at Gold Mountain performed passionately by Andrea Yee of Berkeley, CA.
On May 28, we had a night of speed networking with around 20 professionals in the DC area, including several participants from this year's Mentoring Asian American Professionals (MAAP) program participants. The event was generously hosted by the Chinatown Community Cultural Center in Washington, DC.
On May 28, OCA–DC board members Stan Tsai, Patricia Smith, and Alena Kangas attended the Allstate/NBC4 Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Reception, emceed by NBC4’s Eun Yang, to accept a $5,000 grant from Allstate. This grant was awarded to recognize and continue supporting the Chapter’s passionate efforts in the DC community to raise awareness on APA legacy, mentor APA professionals, train youth and young professionals to be leaders and advocates, and promote volunteerism and service.
OCA–DC would like to thank Czarina Biton, the chapter’s Vice President of Economic Development, for securing this grant, which will bolster current and future programs to strengthen and grow the chapter’s advancement of the social, political, and economic well-being of AAPIs.
On June 14, OCA-DC chapter members joined OCA-New York and other East Coast Chapters at the world premiere of An American Soldier, which is based on the true story of Private Danny Chen, who died after being subjected to relentless hazing and racial maltreatment from his fellow soldiers in October 2011. Led by the OCA-New York Chapter, OCA has continued to fight for answers and accountability in the struggle for justice for Private Danny Chen. Read the Washington Post's review of the opera at http://wapo.st/1qSoA1Q.
The OCA-DC chapter co-hosted a dinner to welcome the Class of 2014 OCA interns on June 19, at the Chinatown Garden Restaurant in DC Chinatown. The 18 college students, including a couple of recent graduates, come from all over the United States to spend 10 weeks in Washington at various locations that include federal agencies, non-profit organizations, corporations, and the OCA National Center. The stint for this cohort will climax at the OCA National convention in Los Angeles in August.
These young people truly represent the "best of the best," as they were chosen from a list of over 80 outstanding applicants. They have chosen to intern through the OCA's program because they are keenly aware of their identities as Asian Pacific Americans who can make a difference for our community as they consider their careers and life goals. You may learn more about this remarkable class by logging on to the OCA National website at http://www.ocanational.org/?page=MeetThe2014Interns.
The dinner was very lively, as the Interns were warmly welcomed by the OCA-DC chapter members, as well as National President Sharon Wong and representatives from the co-hosts, the OCA-NOVA chapter. The interns seemed to appreciate this event to experience firsthand the strong sense of community within OCA in Washington. We certainly appreciate them and their willingness to be engaged with our community.
In the photo: Sharon Wong, OCA National President, and Stan Lou, OCA National Vice President of Education and Culture/ OCA-DC Vice President of Community Outreach, address the interns and other guests at the dinner.
On June 21, OCA-DC and JACL-DC held their first joint annual picnic at Wheaton Regional Park. Despite a light drizzle, a healthy turnout of 60 people came out to enjoy the event. The tables groaned under the contributions of the barbecue, pastas, salads, and desserts. There were also many generous donations to create a small mountain of items for the raffle, and every child won a prize. And, finally, when the light rain stopped, the children were all able to take a swing or two at the pinata.
It was a great event full of laughter, conversation and new friends. We look forward to joining with JACL-DC again next year for this wonderful event and plan to bring the sun with us!
On June 29, a special Talk Story event was held at the Washington, DC National Mall in conjunction with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. It was a remarkable setting and enjoyed a stunningly beautiful day with an avid audience of Festival visitors, including many Talk Story regulars. The Festival was celebrating Diaspora Day at the China:Tradition and the Art of Living exhibition. Talk Story was invited to hold a conversation on Chinatown Today at the Teahouse Commons Narrative Stage. Participating in the conversation with the audience were: Stan Lou, Ted Gong, Walter Woo, and Shirley Woo (see photos). They engaged the crowd on the importance of Chinatown to the community and challenged all to find a way to preserve the spirit and authenticity of Chinatowns all over the country, including Washington. From the reactions received, the presentation opened many eyes to the profound feelings that the Chinese American community have on this subject.
Attendees at the Talk Story event on July 27 were treated to a profound conversation about the world of comic books from the perspective of two local artists/writers and a National Public Radio (NPR) journalist. The comic creators were Keith Chow, who edits Asian American comics anthologies Secret Identities and Shattered, and Jamie Noguchi, creator of Yellow Peril. The journalist was Kat Chow, host of NPR's Code Switch blog.
Their conversation centered around the Asian Pacific American role in the genre of story telling. The audience was enthralled to learn of how heavily APAs have influenced the stories that are being told and how characters in existing comics are being changed to include more APAs. Among the storylines being used is the shattering of myths about the APA as a perpetual foreigner, sexy seductress, model minority intellect, and evil schemer. This is a huge industry with a broad appeal across all generations and ethnicities. Hence, the APA stories are reaching many people through this medium.
Talk Story is very grateful for the time and energy put in by Keith, Jamie, and Kat. They assured us that they want to stay involved with our community, and we look forward to future collaborations.
The National APIA Historic Preservation Forum was recently held in DC on from September 14 through September 16. Kicking off the forum was a tour of DC's Chinatown led by Xinqian Qiu, doctoral student in American Studies at the University of Maryland and Phil Tajitsu Nash, professor of Asian American studies at the University of Maryland. Stan Lou, OCA-DC Vice President for Community Outreach, also helped to arrange the tour, which included stops at or outside the Friendship Arch, the Da Hsin Herbal Store, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, the Chinese Community Church, and the Temple of Cun Yum. In the photo: Phil Tajitsu Nash, professor of Asian American studies at the University of Maryland, and Xinqian Qiu, doctoral student in American Studies at the University of Maryland, lead the tour outside the Chinese Community Church.
In honor of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, members and friends of our Chapter served dinner at Shepherd's Table in Silver Spring, MD on September 15. We helped to set up, served dinner from Seven Seas Restaurant to approximately 140 homeless guests, and then cleaned up. Dinner included fried rice/ white rice, curry beef with vegetables, General Tso's chicken, and soup. We were also joined by volunteers from National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP), Huayuan Chinese Academy, Towson University, Organization of Chinese American Women, and McLean Bible Church.
Our Annual Honor Awards Gala showcased the outstanding achievements of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts and was at New Fortune Restaurant on Sunday, November 2.
- Muriel Hom (third from right), founder of Opera International, received the Trailblazer Award.
- Christian Oh (second from right), co-founder of Kollaboration DC, received the Community Service Award.
- Janelle Wong (center), director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland, received the Leadership Award.
With such an outpouring of support for Asian Americans in the arts at the gala, we would also like encourage everyone to continue to support these and all the many artists within our APA community. They work extremely hard to continually bring honor to the culture and tradition of our heritage while expressing their individuality. We should continue to recognize and support their wonderful work of providing the world insight into the many facets of APA culture.