APAPA Bay Area
A Message from the Chapter President
Since our inception in 2008, the Bay Area Chapter (BAC) has been active in promoting the advancement of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans through Town Halls and Candidates Debate Forum in the greater SF Bay Area.
More importantly our chapter has concentrated on forming coalitions and co-sponsoring these events with fellow Asian American organizations: CAPA Community Education Fund, Citizen for a Better Community, Vision New America, Organization of Chinese Americans, API Caucus, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay.... to name a few.
In 2011 BAC continues our partnership effort with the Asian Business Alliance, Parents for Great Education, KTSF, De Anza College, De Anza Student Senate, and the Chamber of Commerce of Hayward, Fremont and Cupertino in putting on the following programs. We also want to thank FCSN and Chabot College for providing their space and, John Chiang's and Mona Pasquel's office for working with us.
The San Francisco Chapter was also formed in 2011 and was instrumental in conducting three Town Halls featuring the SF Mayoral Candidates.
In 2012 the Bay Area Region was formed incorporating the Bay Area Chapter, the San Francisco Chapter and the Collegiate Council Chapter. Our main initiative this year is to support the 1882 project (http://www.1882project.org), conduct election year local Candidates Debates and to help celebrate the API Month on May 24, 2012 at the San Francisco City Hall hosted by mayor Edwin Lee.
With your support we are pretty confident that BAR will thrive and be of service to API Americans.
Reflections on My Fifty Years in the United States
Today is a very special day for me as it marks the fiftieth anniversary of my arrival to the United States. When I sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and disembarked at the Port of San Francisco on Friday, August 23, 1963, I was just one month shy of my 23rd birthday. I had just graduated from the International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo, Japan and I was awarded a Research/Teaching Fellowship from the University of Houston where I was to attend graduate studies. On that day, I also promised myself that one day I would live in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area.
I was born in Hong Kong on September 22, 1940 and I grew up there except for the period during WWII when we escaped from the Japanese invasion to Guilin, China. After the war my family was to settle down in Guangzhou, but when the communist liberated China we returned once again to the former British colony. In Hong Kong, through my father's connections with the Anglican Church, I attended the Diocesan Boys' School (DBS), a rather exclusive secondary school.
When I arrived at the US, I was well acquainted with three different cultures and their languages - my native tongue was Cantonese, I attended an English boarding school at DBS and I earned my undergraduate degree in a bilingual (Japanese/American) university. I mention languages and cultures because I believe what is giving the United States advantage over its present day competitors is its willingness to accept immigration and its capacity to embrace diversity and new ideas.
The United States today is very different from the United States I saw fifty years ago. Although this country was founded on high moral principles which decreed that all men are created equal, actual equality existed only if you were white. I arrived in Texas during the height of civil rights protests and non-violent civil disobedience demonstrations which started in the mid 50's and climaxed in the 60's. Federal, state, and local governments, businesses, and communities were confronted with protests highlighting inequities endured by African Americans and other racial minorities. As a result, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted on July 2, 1964 outlawing major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women.
As an Asian I did not suffer from overt discrimination faced daily by blacks or non-white Hispanics. The whites in the south were not quite sure how to treat an Asian like me. When I encountered segregated drinking fountains and bathrooms that were succinctly marked "white" or "colored", I was at a quandary as to which one I should use. I had to ask both the whites and the blacks repeatedly as to where I should drink or pee. The mixing of the races were strictly taboo and laws against interracial marriages prevailed in many states until struck down by the Supreme Court in 1967.
In 1965, the Haart-Celler Act was also enacted to abolish the national origins quota system that was American immigration policy since the 1920s. It was replaced with a preference system that focused on immigrants' skills and family relationships with citizens or U.S. residents. This act marked a radical departure from the previous immigration policies which excluded Latin Americans, Asians and Africans and preferred northern and western Europeans over southern and eastern ones. The door was opened wide for me to apply for American citizenship but I hesitated because I did not want to take the chance of being drafted for the Vietnam war.
All of the above events, happened in the first few years upon my arrival in the US and together they made quite an impression on someone who was acquainted with several cultures, spoke more than one language and had no previous experience of being a racial minority.
The America I saw in my fifty years has become a more tolerant and amalgamated country, one that has grown stronger in an increasing smaller world where nations are more dependent on each other. It is also learning to cope and compete with ascending Asian economic powers from the east and a resurging European Union from the west. The more liberal immigration policies have allowed the strengthening of a technological based economy where bright youths from all over the world work together as Americans to build an information based economy the world has never seen before. American culture has never been more prevalent or influential around the world. Hopefully, our country has also learned from a series of unsuccessful wars in Vietnam, and more recently in the middle-east. Left alone many countries would embrace and emulate America but they would all put up resistance when American "values" are shoved down their throats.
Over the years, my wife and I had the opportunities to travel to many countries and encounter many different cultures. We can unequivocally say that the United States is the best place to live and I have never regretted in making America my permanent home.
Joel K Wong
Photos from APAPA-BAR events:
APAPA-BAR's Town Hall Debate: APAPA Bay Area Region's summer interns are hosting a San Francisco Sheriff Town Hall Debate and invite you to join us! It will take place on August 11, 2015 at the Zendesk Global Headquarters.
APAPA-BAR Summer College Leadership & Internship Mixer: APAPA Bay Area Region will be hosting a Graduation Mixer for their interns on Thursday, August 6, 2015 Click here for more details
Government & College Tuition/Admission Education Forum: Tri-Valley Chapter will be hosting this event on Thursday, July 30, 2015 at the Roundhouse Conference Center in San Ramon. For more information, click here
2015 APAPA-BAR College Leadership Internship Graduation Dinner: On May 28, 2015, APAPA-BAR held their College Leadership Internship Graduation Dinner at Chinese Cuisine Restaurant in Fremont, CA.
APAPA Bay Area 2015 Internship Program: The APAPA Bay Area Summer Internship Program in San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland area is designed to prepare college students of Asian Pacific Islander background to become future leaders in the State of California. The program provides an opportunity for students to work in the offices of elected officials and policy offices across the Bay Area as staff interns.
APAPA-TVC's Grand Opening & 2015 Lunar New Year Celebration Gala:
APAPA Tri-Valley Chapter will have a Chapter Grand Opening Gala along with a
Lunar New Year celebration on February 28th, 2015. Elected officials from the
federal, state, and local levels along with community leaders are invited and
will be present at our event. Limited seating is available to the public so RSVP
before tickets are sold out.
APAPA-BAR's 2015 College Leadership Program: This program is
designed to prepare college students of API background to become future leaders
in California. Students will have the opportunity to work in the offices of
elected officials and policy offices across the San Francisco Bay Area as staff
interns. Application materials are due by January 2, 2015.
Albert Wang MD, Chair
David Chai, San Mateo Outreach, Redistricting Issues, OCA
Albert Chang, San Francisco Outreach
Larry Lee, President
Marita Cheng, President
Andy Li, President
APAPA-BAR's Community Partners