Here is the second of a series of blog posts saluting Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Greetings from the OCA National Center in Washington, D.C. and Happy Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month! Since 1973, OCA has embraced the hopes and aspirations of APAs through organizing our 80-plus chapters and affiliates, and 10,000 members and associates, to develop community leadership and civic engagement. Each May, OCA plays an integral part in APA Heritage Month programs and events around the country and engages Americans of all backgrounds in our mission to advance the social, political, and economic well-being of APAs.
As an organization that has been dedicated to the advancement of social justice and exploration of cultural heritage since before there was even an APA Heritage Week (established in 1978), OCA is proud of how far the APA community and this country have come in recognizing and celebrating the contributions of APAs to the United States. As the Executive Director of OCA, each May is a chance to showcase new accomplishments of APAs around the country and highlight gaps in equality that continue to exist for APA communities.
One of the most effective ways to preserve our heritage and engage community members is through storytelling. This May, OCA is launching a National Children’s Book Tour to give all children a chance to learn about the APA community, and to see and hear APA leaders tell their stories of success and struggles. I hope you will join OCA at these book events and the numerous community programs our chapters will host throughout this month. Most importantly, I hope you tell your own story and take the time to hear someone else’s.
And you don’t have to stop there. Even after APA Heritage Month is over, you can engage in OCA’s programs and initiative throughout the year, including our annual National Convention. This year, OCA will host our convention at the Houston Galleria from June 17 to 20. This is a great opportunity to learn about the community, network with great people from across the country, and develop leadership skills. All this is made possible in large part due to the support of great partners like Southwest, the official airline of OCA and our National Convention.
Southwest and OCA are great partners in storytelling as well. The APA Children’s Book Tour authors will travel the country on Southwest, our staff and interns will fly Southwest to Houston for Convention, and OCA members and leaders will advance our mission across the United States in May and throughout the year with the help of Southwest.
APA Heritage Month was not established until 1990 and it’s going to take great partnerships like the one OCA shares with Southwest to ensure that we never forget our history and never stop forging a better tomorrow. For more information about the history of APA Heritage Month and what OCA is doing this May, please visit www.ocanational.org.
OCA National Center staff and interns on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall at the 2009 OCA National Convention.