2018 Chinese American Convention
Under the theme: “Strengthening Our Community, Embracing a Pluralistic Society”, United Chinese Americans (UCA) successfully held our second Chinese American Convention in Washington DC, on September 27-29, 2018. The Convention was attended by approximately 500 participants representing 32 States, as well as from Canada and Greater China region.
United Chinese Americans (美国华人联合会 ucausa.org) is one of the largest Chinese American community organizations dedicated to civic engagement and political participation in America. Since its incorporation in 2017, UCA has set up seven chapters in the United States and established more than 20 Chinese community partners across the country.
With a trade war threatening to unravel US-China relations, at a time of debilitating political polarization, and amid growing unease among Chinese Americans regarding the heightened sense of national security, the 2018 Chinese American Convention, one of the largest of its kind, addressed these complex concerns head on. The Convention aimed to provide the unique perspective of Chinese Americans, a critical ethnic minority that bridges the two countries but often bears the brunt of the bilateral conflict and tension, socially, economically, and mentally.
The two-day program is preceded by a half-day visit to Capitol Hill on September 27. The UCA delegation of over 150 Convention attendees visited the offices of more than 50 Members of Congress. The delegation expressed their growing concern that the Chinese American community may become, once again, the victim or collateral damage brought on by worsening U.S.-China relations.
The Congressional visit on the afternoon of September 27 is followed by a Congressional reception, which eight Members of Congress attended: Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congressman Ted Lieu, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Congressman Al Green, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Congressman Bobby Scott, Congressman Danny Davis, and Congressman Dwight Evens. They welcomed Convention attendees to Washington DC, shared their concerns and encouraged the Chinese American community to increase its engagement with the U.S. Congress. The Congressional visit marks the first time that the Chinese American community has taken such a large-scale organized Congressional visit to bring their concerns to their Members of Congress in DC.
As part of the main convention program, the organizers invited four keynote speakers: Ambassador Gary Locke, Federal judge Theodore Chuang, former Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu, and University of Maryland-College Park president Wallace Loh. They each shared with the convention attendees their own personal story, their views on current affairs in America, and how Chinese Americans can be more civically and politically engaged in American life.
Plenary topics discussed at the Convention included:
- The U.S.-China trade war;
- Chinese American civil rights history and political movement;
- Current governmental scrutiny over the Chinese American scientific community;
- How to properly conduct scientific and technological exchange as immigrants;
- Chinese American success stories of political participation;
- Showcase of unique community organizations and their projects;
- How to define or redefine “success” for the next generation; and
- How to conduct civic dialogue in a time of political polarization.
Furthermore, in breakout sessions, three well-received panels focused on Chinese American mental health, how to raise funds for non-profit organizations and how to support the Chinese adoptee community, especially in their effort to reunite adoptees with their birth parents in China.
Also during the convention, the UCA project “Interactive Chinese American Heritage Map”, a first of its kind, was unveiled to the public for anyone to use who wants to find information online about Chinese American history.
Another highlight of the Convention is the signing of the Convention Washington Manifesto, a milestone UCA document that calls for Chinese Americans to redouble their efforts to civically and politically engage in the American society.
To promote and nurture strong civic-minded citizenship in the Chinese American community, at the Gala Award Dinner on September 28, the Convention Steering Committee presented award to outstanding Chinese Americans and their organizations that have served the community and the United States with distinction and honor.
The Awardees include:
- Former Ambassador to China Gary Locke received Chinese American Lifetime Achievement Award;
- Xiafen Sherry Chen of Ohio received Advancing Justice Award;
- Citizens for Better Community (CBC) of Fremont CA received Outstanding Chinese American Organization Award;
- C.W. Chan of Chicago received Chinese American Civic Leadership Award;
- Dr. William Wan of Chicago received Chinese American Charitable Giving Award;
- Anna Wang of Fremont CA received Outstanding Community Service Award;
- US-China People’s Friendship Association received US-China Bridge Builder Award;
- Rebecca Kuang of Dallas received Iris Chang Award for Media Excellence;
- Warren and Wesley Wang of Long Island NY received Chinese American Youth Leadership Award; and
- Feng Xue of Iowa received Outstanding UCA Volunteer Award.
This is a trying time as well as a very promising time for Chinese Americans. This 2018 Chinese American Convention has reinvigorated UCA’s mission to serve, lead and inspire our community; it has greatly expanded UCA family and renewed friendship among the attendees; it has strengthened our community in its preparedness for a uncertain future.
Above all, this Convention has pointed out a great pathway for Chinese American community to move forward: to be a proud Chinese American and to nurture a compassionate society all around us, we must be civically and politically fully engaged and contributing in the entirety of the American society in our individual, familial and community life. Because there is simply no other or better way forward.
For a complete playlist of convention sessions, please click here: https://ucausa.org/2018-convention-videos/
For Convention in the News in Chinese, please click here: https://ucausa.org/convention-in-the-news/