30 Years Ago…
The time was the early 1980’s. The nation had a new president and an air of optimism. For us, it too was a time of great excitement and unlimited opportunities. Not only were we at one of this country’s best schools, but we were free to explore who we were outside of our parents’ domain.
Rebelliously, we did what our parents had encouraged us to do all our lives through Chinese school or kung fu lessons; we decided to learn more about our roots. Asian-American born of Chinese ancestry, we were the cultural equivalent of today’s X generation—caught between the organization that taught us that Egg Foo Young is not Chinese, that having Chow Mein with rice at dinner was a no-no, that being Chinese doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be smart.
A group of five people came together to discuss their desire to form a group for Chinese Americans. The five were Keith Lee, Myrna Ling, Rena Lum, Katherine Shintaku, and Valerie Soe. The founders of ACA were interested in meeting people like themselves-Chinese Americans, who wanted to participate in more cultural and educational activities.
– Rena Lum and Myrna Ling
Co-founders of the Association of Chinese Americans