OCA Cleveland celebrated the Inauguration of new
President Lisa Wong and the New Board on February 8, 2014 with a
reception at the Offices of Margaret W. Wong & Associates. The
inauguration was conducted by the Honorable Ron Falconi, Mayor of
Brunswick. In attendance were the Honorable Frank G. Jackson, Mayor of
Cleveland; Councilman Brian J. Cummins; Ariella Brown, office of
Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge; President National OCA Sharon Wong;
President OCA-Columbus Linh Ta; and many other esteemed community
leaders and guests. The Inauguration Speech given by new President
Lisa Wong is below.
OCA Cleveland New Board:
President - Lisa Wong
Secretary - Harold Hom
Treasurer - Shan Chan
V.P. of Administration - Wayne Wong
V.P. of Membership - Deborah Yue
V.P. of Organizational and Public Relations - Johnny K. Wu
V.P. of Education and Culture - Huili Shi
Past President - Ray Chan
Past President - Ray Hing
OCA Cleveland President - Lisa Wong
February 8, 2014
I am humbled, and honored to have this opportunity to serve as the
president of OCA Cleveland. This is an organization that I have been a
part of for over 20 years. My commitment to OCA is because I truly
believe in the importance and necessity of this organization.
I was born here in Cleveland, to an immigrant mother and American-born
Chinese father. Growing up as an American of Asian descent, I was
always in search of my identity. Always feeling not quite American
enough yet reminded by my relatives from China and Hong Kong that I
was not quite Chinese enough either.
Growing up on Cleveland’s west side, my family and I faced all sorts
of discrimination. We were often ridiculed as foreigners even though
my father, siblings, and I were born in the US. It was a constant
struggle just trying to fit in. It wasn’t until college when I met
other Chinese Americans and became friends with many international
students that I embraced who I was and found pride and full acceptance
of my dual culture. I felt a desire to make a difference by bridging
the cultural gap caused by ignorance and prejudice.
In particular, I wanted to foster a greater understanding and
appreciation of all cultures, especially my own. By sharing what we
know to be good with others who may not have seen, heard, or tasted
what other ethnicities have to offer, we can begin to break the
OCA and Community Leadership
During my college days, I joined the local OCA chapter looking for
ways to make a difference. It is within this organization that I met
long time advocates Fran and Dave Namkoong. Many of you here know the
numerous contributions the Namkoongs have provided for the Asian
community in the last couple of decades. They have been a true
inspiration to me along with many other leaders like Alex Mark,
Anthony Yen and Margaret Wong.
Through OCA, I grew in my enthusiasm to serve the Asian community and
there I met a number of talented and dedicated Advocates.
It was about five years ago I co-founded the Cleveland Asian Festival.
Previously OCA and other Asian organization would put on events that
were culturally rich, but yet had increasingly declining attendance.
So at one of these events, the three of us: Vi Huynh, Johnny and I had
a discussion. And Vi posed the questions “How can we get more people
to experience all of this?” My response “We can close down the streets
like they do in Little Italy. Put on an ethnic festival outdoors like
the Greeks, Italians, and Irish do."
So we reached out and partnered with other community leaders and
organizations. Together in 2010, we put on our first Festival. To our
surprise, 10,000 people attended our first one-day Festival. The
Festival is now a two day event and it brings up to 40,000 people each
year into the heart of Cleveland’s AsiaTown, serving as an economic
catalyst for the neighborhood while showcasing and bringing awareness
to the various Asian cultures in Greater Cleveland.
As OCA Cleveland President, and co-founder of the Cleveland Asian
Festival, I intend to build on the Festival's momentum so that
AsiaTown becomes a destination not only once a year but throughout the
year. So that AsiaTown becomes an establish part of the colorful
fabric of Cleveland.
Future Vision for OCA
As I embark on my term as President, the focus of OCA Cleveland will
be on Education, Cultural Awareness, Outreach, Civic engagement, and
the Growth of our AsiaTown.
With our board of experienced and dedicated leaders, we are planning a
new multi-faceted series called "Grooming for Success in America" that
will be aimed at new immigrants, college students, young
professionals, as well as parents.
We will continue to support cultural awareness and understanding by
sustaining events such as the Cleveland Asian Festival and build on
our partnerships to educate the greater community about the rich and
diverse Asian cultures here in Northeast Ohio.
We will continue to increase voter engagement activities, and address
the well being of Asian Pacific Americans through partnerships and
programs such as ASIA Inc’s Project RAISE.
My beginnings as a community leader started when I was in college, so
I believe it is essential to reach out to college students in order to
train up new leaders. We plan on building on OCA’s college affiliate
programs in the Greater Cleveland area. We will also implement a Board
Development Committee to identify potential members and prepare them
for leadership roles.
I look forward to serving the community as president of OCA Cleveland.
I hope to work with each of you, our members, and partner
organizations to accomplish great things for our community.
I Thank you for your support.
President 2014 - 2018 Today, the White House released a video message
from President Obama welcoming in the Lunar New Year.
Echoing the President’s message, the White House Initiative on Asian
Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and the President’s Advisory
Commission on AAPIs send our abundant best wishes to all those
celebrating the Lunar New Year.
2014 is the Year of the Horse. The horse is a great and strong symbol.
Many associate this symbol with “swift success” for all facets of
one’s life. We wish that everyone fulfills his or her potential and
achieves success in 2014. In his State of the Union address, the
President declared 2014 to be a year of action so it seems only
fitting that it is also the Year of the Horse.
The AAPI community is also great and strong, as our shared heritage
spans from immigrants to refugees to native people. AAPIs have worked
the land for generations. AAPIs literally built this land, connecting
the East Coast and the West Coast via the Transcontinental Railroad.
We have more recent immigrants coming in as business owners, students,
laborers, educators, and workers from all fields. Our nation has
benefited from our immigration system, and that means we all have a
stake in building a strong and better immigration system for future
generations. For instance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau,
Asian-owned businesses increased 40.4 percent to 1.5 million between
2002 and 2007, growing at more than twice the national rate and
bringing in more than half a trillion dollars in sales.
However, we have more than a million undocumented Asian Americans
living in the shadows. Passage of commonsense immigration reform will
afford our undocumented brothers and sisters, many who are young and
students, an opportunity to fully live the American dream.
The Senate has already acted in a bipartisan manner to fix our broken
immigration system, and we hope that the House will do the same. By
fixing our broken immigration system, we will give young people a
chance to become future leaders of our nation. In the meantime, the
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provides
DREAMers an opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation
proceedings and apply for work authorization. To find out more
information about DACA, please visit www.uscis.gov.
In this Year of the Horse, we hope that all of us can pursue
opportunity and success. We wish you and your loved ones happiness,
prosperity, and good health.
Below is the transcript of the President’s video message:
Michelle and I join millions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander
descent – here in the United States and around the world – in
welcoming the Lunar New Year.
The Lunar New Year reminds us that this country has always drawn
strength from the rich cultures and traditions of people from all
different backgrounds. It’s at the heart of who we are. It’s why we’re
fighting to make sure everyone has a chance to get ahead. And it’s why
we’ll continue to make sure that new ideas and new people are always
welcome in America.
Today, my Administration is working harder than ever to fix an
immigration system that doesn't serve America as well as it should.
We’re committed to a comprehensive plan that will continue to
strengthen border security and reunite families, while creating a
pathway to earned citizenship and a stronger system moving forward.
We’ve already taken an important step by lifting the fear of
deportation from young people, DREAMers, who are Americans in every
way but on paper – kids who just want a chance to study and serve and
contribute to the nation they love. And if you’re a young person who
feels like you’re living in the shadows, take advantage of this
opportunity. Because America needs your talent.
It’s the aspiration and optimism of the next generation of New
Americans that inspires us – and gives us hope for this Year of the
Horse. So, I want to wish everyone celebrating a Happy New Year. May
this be a year of prosperity for you and your families, and a year of
progress for this country that we love.
Daphne Kwok is Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian
Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The White House · 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW · Washington DC 20500 ·