APAPA Bay Area

A Message from the Chapter President

Joel Wong, President APAPA BAC photoSince our inception in 2008, the Bay Area Chapter (BAC) has been active in promoting the advancement of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans through Town Halls and Candidates Debate Forum in the greater SF Bay Area.

More importantly our chapter has concentrated on forming coalitions and co-sponsoring these events with fellow Asian American organizations: CAPA Community Education Fund, Citizen for a Better Community, Vision New America, Organization of Chinese Americans, API Caucus, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay.... to name a few.

In 2011 BAC continues our partnership effort with the Asian Business Alliance, Parents for Great Education, KTSF, De Anza College, De Anza Student Senate, and the Chamber of Commerce of Hayward, Fremont and Cupertino in putting on the following programs. We also want to thank FCSN and Chabot College for providing their space and, John Chiang's and Mona Pasquel's office for working with us.

The San Francisco Chapter was also formed in 2011 and was instrumental in conducting three Town Halls featuring the SF Mayoral Candidates.

In 2012 the Bay Area Region was formed incorporating the Bay Area Chapter, the San Francisco Chapter and the Collegiate Council Chapter. Our main initiative this year is to support the 1882 project (http://www.1882project.org), conduct election year local Candidates Debates and to help celebrate the API Month on May 24, 2012 at the San Francisco City Hall hosted by mayor Edwin Lee.

With your support we are pretty confident that BAR will thrive and be of service to API Americans.

Joel Wong
APAPA Bay Area Chapter

Reflections on My Fifty Years in the United States

Today is a very special day for me as it marks the fiftieth anniversary of my arrival to the United States. When I sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and disembarked at the Port of San Francisco on Friday, August 23, 1963, I was just one month shy of my 23rd birthday. I had just graduated from the International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo, Japan and I was awarded a Research/Teaching Fellowship from the University of Houston where I was to attend graduate studies. On that day, I also promised myself that one day I would live in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area.

I was born in Hong Kong on September 22, 1940 and I grew up there except for the period during WWII when we escaped from the Japanese invasion to Guilin, China. After the war my family was to settle down in Guangzhou, but when the communist liberated China we returned once again to the former British colony.  In Hong Kong, through my father's connections with the Anglican Church, I attended the Diocesan Boys' School (DBS), a rather exclusive secondary school.

When I arrived at the US, I was well acquainted with three different cultures and their languages - my native tongue was Cantonese, I attended an English boarding school at DBS and I earned my undergraduate degree in a bilingual (Japanese/American) university. I mention languages and cultures because I believe what is giving the United States advantage over its present day competitors is its willingness to accept immigration and its capacity to embrace diversity and new ideas.

The United States today is very different from the United States I saw fifty years ago. Although this country was founded on high moral principles which decreed that all men are created equal, actual equality existed only if you were white. I arrived in Texas during the height of civil rights protests and non-violent civil disobedience demonstrations which started in the mid 50's and climaxed in the 60's. Federal, state, and local governments, businesses, and communities were confronted  with protests highlighting inequities endured by African Americans and other racial minorities. As a result, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted on July 2, 1964 outlawing major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women.

As an Asian I did not suffer from overt discrimination faced daily by blacks or non-white Hispanics. The whites in the south were not quite sure how to treat an Asian like me. When I encountered segregated drinking fountains and bathrooms that were succinctly marked "white" or "colored", I was at a quandary as to which one I should use. I had to ask both the whites and the blacks repeatedly as to where I should drink or pee. The mixing of the races were strictly taboo and laws against interracial marriages prevailed in many states until struck down by the Supreme Court in 1967.

In 1965, the Haart-Celler Act was also enacted to abolish the national origins quota system that was American immigration policy since the 1920s. It was replaced with a preference system that focused on immigrants' skills and family relationships with citizens or U.S. residents. This act marked a radical departure from the previous immigration policies which excluded Latin Americans, Asians and Africans and preferred northern and western Europeans over southern and eastern ones. The door was opened wide for me to apply for American citizenship but I hesitated because I did not want to take the chance of being drafted for the Vietnam war.

All of the above events, happened in the first few years upon my arrival in the US and together they made quite an impression on someone who was acquainted with several cultures, spoke more than one language and had no previous experience of being a racial minority.

The America I saw in my fifty years has become a more tolerant and amalgamated country, one that has grown stronger in an increasing smaller world where nations are more dependent on each other.  It is also learning to cope and compete with ascending Asian economic powers from the east and a resurging European Union from the west.  The more liberal immigration policies have allowed the strengthening of a technological based economy where bright youths from all over the world work together as Americans to build an information based economy the world has never seen before. American culture has never been more prevalent or influential around the world. Hopefully, our country has also learned from a series of unsuccessful wars in Vietnam, and more recently in the middle-east. Left alone many countries would embrace and emulate America but they would all put up resistance when American "values" are shoved down their throats.

Over the years, my wife and I had the opportunities to travel to many countries and encounter many different cultures. We can unequivocally say that the United States is the best place to live and I have never regretted in making America my permanent home.

Joel K Wong
August 23, 2013

Photos from APAPA-BAR events:


APAPA TVC Summer 2016 College Leadership & Internship Program
is designed to prepare undergraduate college students to become future leaders in the state of California. This program provides an opportunity for students to develop thier leadership skills, gain public policy experience and become civically engaged.

APAPA-PNC's Grand Opening Celebration:
The APAPA-Peninsula Chapter will be having their Grand Opening Celebration on Sunday, November 8, 2015 in Atherton, CA. For more information click here

APAPA-BAR's Town Hall Debate: APAPA Bay Area Region's summer interns are hosting a San Francisco Sheriff Town Hall Debate and invite you to join us! It will take place on August 11, 2015 at the Zendesk Global Headquarters.

APAPA-BAR Summer College Leadership & Internship Mixer: APAPA Bay Area Region will be hosting a Graduation Mixer for their interns on Thursday, August 6, 2015 Click here for more details

Government & College Tuition/Admission Education Forum: Tri-Valley Chapter will be hosting this event on Thursday, July 30, 2015 at the Roundhouse Conference Center in San Ramon. For more information, click here

2015 APAPA-BAR College Leadership Internship Graduation Dinner: On May 28, 2015, APAPA-BAR held their College Leadership Internship Graduation Dinner at Chinese Cuisine Restaurant in Fremont, CA.

-See photos of the event here
-2015 Program Book
-Download Flyer

APAPA Bay Area 2015 Internship Program: The APAPA Bay Area Summer Internship Program in San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland area is designed to prepare college students of Asian Pacific Islander background to become future leaders in the State of California. The program provides an opportunity for students to work in the offices of elected officials and policy offices across the Bay Area as staff interns.

APAPA-TVC's Grand Opening & 2015 Lunar New Year Celebration Gala: APAPA Tri-Valley Chapter will have a Chapter Grand Opening Gala along with a Lunar New Year celebration on February 28th, 2015. Elected officials from the federal, state, and local levels along with community leaders are invited and will be present at our event. Limited seating is available to the public so RSVP before tickets are sold out.
- Download Flyer
- RSVP on Eventbrite

APAPA-BAR's 2015 College Leadership Program: This program is designed to prepare college students of API background to become future leaders in California. Students will have the opportunity to work in the offices of elected officials and policy offices across the San Francisco Bay Area as staff interns. Application materials are due by January 2, 2015. Apply here.

1882 Project news:
Read more at: http://www.1882project.org/
Chinese language article--latest info
Press Conference article
Chinese language article #1
Chinese language article #2

APAPA-BAR Officers

Executive Board:

Albert Wang MD, Chair
Henry Yin, Honorary Board Member
James Yu DDS, Honorary Board Member
Joel Wong, President

Biographies of Executive Board members

Board Members:

David Chai, San Mateo Outreach, Redistricting Issues, OCA
Ching-Lin Chen, Contra Costa Outreach and Transportation
Francis Cheng, Membership Co-Chair, ABA
Marita Cheng, Membership Co-Chair, ABA
Jesse Cheng, Chair, Youth Outreach
Hal Gin EdD, Chair, Education Issues
Greg Jones, Co-Chair Government Liaison
Peter Ho, Co-Chair, PR and Communication
Roger Hu, Chair Website
Charlie Huang, Legal issues
Mina Li, Co- Chair, PR and Communication
Anna May, Co-Chair Government Liaison
David Sheen, Legal issues, Immigration Issues
Annie Saadi, Legal issues


Albert Chang, San Francisco Outreach
Chia Chia Chien, Contra Costa Outreach
John Gutierrez, Corporate Outreach
Cheng Liao PhD, Advisor
Glen Wong, UC Outreach

APAPA San Francisco Chapter

Board Members:

Larry Lee, President
Ray Buenaventura
Olivia Chen
Jay Cheng
Patricia Cheng
Christopher Do
Trevor Hewitt
Sue Kung
Danny Lau
Ling Woo Liu
Steven Lee
Sue Lee
Donald Thomas
Billy Vaughn
Christie Wang
Crystle Wong
Hanna Wu
Steven Lei

Board Member biographies

APAPA East Bay Chapter

Board Members:

Marita Cheng, President
David Sheen, Vice President
April Chan, Treasurer
Aiwa Zelinsky, Secretary
Kevin Ikuma, Board Member
Francis Cheng, Board Member
Hal Gin Ed.D., Board Member
Anna May, Board Member
Annie Saadi, Board Member
Marvin Wong, Board Member
Henry Yin, Board Member

APAPA Tri-Valley Chapter

Board Members:

Andy Li, President
Min Tsao, Vice President
Nancy Chen, VP & Treasurer
Margaret Liang, Secretary
Sharon Carney, Board Member
Ching-lin Chen, Board Member
Holly Chen, Board Member
Marsha Cheung Golangco, Board Member
Anne Saadi, Board Member
Hui Shen, Board Member
Tiffany Yang, Board Member

APAPA-BAR's Community Partners

80-20 Initiates
Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus
Asian Americans for Good Government
Acorn Campus Ventures
Asian Pacific American Community Center
Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute
Asian Business Alliance
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Week Foundation
Chinese American Political Association
Chinese Institute of Engineers/USA
Citizen For a Better Community
Confucius Memorial Ceremony
Culture to Culture
Cupertino Rotary Club
Dimension Performing Arts
Friends of Children with Special Needs
Mongolian Students Non-Profit Organization
Northern California Chinese Culture Athletic Federation
North California Chinese Media Association
Organization of Chinese Americans
Parents for Great Education
SF Community Empowerment Center
Sing Tao
Vietnamese American Community Center, East Bay
Vision New America
World Journal

APAPA-BAC's Original 2008 Board