APAPA Tri-Valley Chapter had the Chapter Grand Opening Gala along with a Lunar New Year celebration on February 28th, 2015.
The Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) celebrated its Tri-Valley chapter's inauguration along with the lunar new year last weekend.
Nearly 200 guests, including more than a dozen elected officials and community leaders, welcomed the new APAPA Tri-Valley branch during the event Saturday at the Wedgewood Center at the San Ramon Golf Club.
"With the growing APIA (Asian Pacific Islander Americans) population in the Tri-Valley area, we have confidence that we will be successful and we will have a positive impact on the community in the next few years just like APAPA has done in other areas," chapter president Andy Li said.
APAPA, a nonprofit organization,was founded in 2001 with the mission to empower the APIA community to participate in civic and public affairs through education, community service and leadership development, according to its website.
APAPA facilitates programs and events for all ages including an internship opportunity at the State Capitol, scholarship awards, and a voters educational and candidates forum among other grant and sponsor supported events.
"It doesn't matter what ethnic group you are, what race you are; as long as you support diversity APAPA has your back," said Joel Wong, president of APAPA's Bay Area Region chapter.
The organization has several branches throughout the country and has been represented in the Bay Area since 2008. The Tri-Valley chapter covers the San Ramon Valley, Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore as well as the cities of Walnut Creek, Concord, Lafayette and Martinez.
The Tri-Valley chapter has been active since last August, serving the local APIA community which makes up about 20% of the region's population, according to Li. Saturday's event combined a celebration to ring in the "year of the goat" with the official induction of the chapter.
The event began with a Chinese Lion Dance a traditional custom performed during joyous occasions and believed to bring good luck. Following the performance and opening remarks, San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson congratulated APAPA on expanding into the Tri-Valley and welcomed attendees to the city of San Ramon.
Clarkson and Danville Town Councilman Newell Arnerich received community mentor awards from APAPA presented by the organization's founder CC Yin.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Delbert Gee conducted the swearing-in ceremony for the Tri-Valley Chapter officials and board members.
State Controller Betty Yee, Congressman Eric Swalwell, State Treasurer John Chiang, State Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma, and Assemblywomen Catharine Baker and Susan Bonilla each gave welcoming remarks to the new APAPA Tri-Valley chapter and expressed their support of the group's mission to promote civic engagement, education and diversity.
"The future of the Tri-Valley chapter will be great," Li said. "We will educate the APIA community to be leaders, encourage APIA's to be more involved in civic affairs and empower them. With the guidance from headquarters, I am confident that we will do well to follow the path APAPA has laid."
The local chapter is still working on finding its permanent home in the Tri-Valley, according to Li.