The Pan Asian Community Alliance (PACA) is a non-profit organization that “promotes and develops education and community services of Asian and Pacific Islanders.” Located on the southeast side of Tucson at 960 S. Craycroft Road, this umbrella organization ”depends on grants, donations, and fundraisers to raise the money to honor Asian Pacific high school student accomplishments, to have an After School Tutoring program, to provide translators to companies, schools, and organizations, to provide information and counseling to Asian Pacific people.”
4707 Year of the Ox
One of the cultural highlights of this group is their annual Pan Asian Lunar New Year celebration usually held in February to welcome in the new year (Chinese calendar). It’s now Chinese year 4707, the Year of the Ox, in our western calendar year of 2009.
As one of those Asian/Pacific Islanders I have been on the board of this alliance, and was on the steering committee of this past April’s first Southern Arizona Asian American and Pacific Islander Conference. New York Times best selling author and financial guru Robert Kiyosaki, originally from Hilo, Hawaii, was the keynote luncheon speaker. He was fascinating and funny, and still quite a “local boy” as we say back home. Kiyosaki generously donated many copies of his bestselling book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” to benefit PACA. His Caucasian wife Kim Kiyosaki also spoke briefly and signed copies of her book “Rich Woman.” Over 250 people from diverse ethnicities participated in that conference.
One of the myths of our diverse community is that we are the “model minority” without any problems, which is untrue. Recent immigrants from Laos and Cambodia face economic hardships, language difficulties, assimilation problems. Many Asian youth are in gangs as well, and take illegal drugs. And the stereotypes remain, such as people who look at us and assume we can’t speak English no matter that we are born in America, or that we Asian women are either “dragon ladies” with fiery tempers, or “yum-yum” sex objects working in massage parlors.
For more info on PACA, or to volunteer call 520-512-0144, or check out their website at www.panasiantucson.org.