It was a long time coming…but it gets better every year, as the May Asian Pacific American Heritage Celebration grows with more events.
During the merry, merry month of May, no less than four weekends plus weekdays were filled with fun activities and great foods for the young, not so young, the talented, and community-minded individuals and organizations.
Kicking off the Heritage Celebration were Chairperson Claudine Cheng and the Asian Pacific American Heritage Committee who showcased their cultural heritage through the performing arts. After a lively program at the new San Francisco Jazz Center, a fabulous reception attended by thousands was held at the San Francisco City Hall. Main community leaders were there, except SF Mayor Ed Lee, who was called away at the last minute.
Our own Asian Week was named an award finalist, but alas, was outshined by a dynamite duo, composer and pianist Jon Jang and saxophonist Francis Wong, who create Asian Pacific American jazz and who also promote opportunities for other Asian American performers to achieve recognition through their non-profit organization, the Asian Improve Arts
AsianWeek was started by a dedicated staff in 1978. It is still running on-line, covering local and world news regarding items with an Asian American perspective.
AsianWeek Foundation sponsors the annual pan-Asian street festival – the Asian Heritage Street Celebration with two stages of entertainment, celebrities, cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts world market, a display of traditional ethnic attire, school awards program and health education, in particular Hepatitis B.
Receiving an Inspirational Leadership Award was Brenda Wong Aoki, a writer, performer and educator.
History of the Asian Pacific Heritage celebration dates back to 1978 when legislation was signed by President Jimmy Carter on May 14, to be observed for one week.
In 1990, President George W. Bush signed permanent legislation to extend this event for the entire month of May.
Some of the fun events were held at the new San Francisco Jazz Center, San Francisco City Hall, The Grand Lounge Night Club, the venerable Far East Care, and the Asian Art Museum. Celebrities included T.V. “Survivor” emcee Yul Kwon, KPIX TV award-winning journalist Da Lin, KRON’s morning news reporter Erica Kaito, Rick Kwan, Miss Asian America Pageant Director Rose Chung. Fabulous Asian foods were sponsored by a long list of generous donors and restaurants.
From the American Legion Cathay Post 384 came the most patriotic support group of community leaders. As the oldest Chinese American Legion Post, their 82nd Anniversary was led by Commander David Wong, Sgt. at Arms Gary Chew and Richard Ow.
Judge Julie Tang performed the honors of installing new post officers, followed by Awards of Appreciation presented to the San Francisco Police and Fire Departments for their services rendered.
Numerous scholarships were presented to the ROTC and Junior ROTC as the program closed with a rousing rendition of “God Bless the USA”, sung by Betty Chen.
Closing the last weekend of the China Exhibit with the special display of the famous terra cotta warriors were members and friends o the University of California Alumni, Chinese chapter at the Asian Art Museum.