June 21, 2018
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OCA Honors Diverse Group at Gala Awards Banquet


OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), announces exceptional awardees for the OCA Outstanding Citizen and Pioneer Awards.  This year’s recipients of the awards are famed fashion designer Anna Suiand YouTube co-founder Steve Chen (Pioneer Awardees); and Congressman Mike Honda and historians Phil Choy and Him Mark Lai (Outstanding Citizen Awardees).

“The talent and contributions these awardees have given to society are of the highest caliber and we are honored to be able to recognize them at this year’s convention for their achievements as Asian Pacific Americans,” said OCA National President Ken Lee.

The 2009 Convention, Call to Action: Empowering Asian Pacific American Voices, will take place at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, Aug. 6-9. The awards will be presented on Saturday, Aug. 8, during the Gala Awards Banquet.

This annual Convention draws hundreds of APAs from around the country and is one of the largest gatherings of APAs in the US. This year the convention features three days of workshops; exhibits and job fair; youth and college programs; community health fair; cultural events; and many notable speakers and guests. Convention activities also include a tour of Angel Island. OCA will also honor its members during the week with the Chapter of the Year Award, the Unsung Hero Awards, and several college scholarships.

OCA is excited to announce Kraft Foods, Inc. as the recipient of OCA’s 2009 Corporate Partner Award, which will also be presented at the Gala Banquet.

About the Awardees:

Congressman Mike Honda (Outstanding Citizen)

Congressman Mike Honda has represented the 15th Congressional District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001. As a child, Honda lived in an internment camp in Colorado. For 30 years, Honda served as an educator: a science teacher, principal and an educational researcher. In 1971, San Jose Mayor Norman Mineta appointed Honda to the San Jose’s Planning Commission.  Honda is the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and continues to work closely with the Asian American community.

Him Mark Lai (Outstanding Citizen-Posthumous) & Phil Choy (Outstanding Citizen)

Historian Him Mark Lai co-taught the very first college course on Chinese American History with Phil Choy at San Francisco State University in 1969.  Considered the “Dean of Chinese American History,” Lai’s most well known work is “Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940,” which documented the stories of Chinese Americans who were detained on Angel Island due to the restrictions of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. In 1991, Him Mark Lai and Albert Cheng created the In Search of Roots program to teach Chinese American youths how to research their family history through National Archives and Records Administration documents. Lai passed away in May of 2009. While Choy is an architect by trade, he is best known for his contributions in Asian American activism. During the civil rights era, Choy became the president of the Chinese Historical Society.  Choy has served on the San Francisco Landmark Advisory Board and the California State Historical Resources Commission.  He advocated for the preservation of Angel Island Immigration Station and was also involved as a consultant on many projects including one display at the Sacramento Railroad Museum about Chinese Railroad workers.  

Anna Sui (Pioneer)

Famed fashion designer Anna Sui has an extensive career in designing for various retail locations, as well as her own label.  In 1991 she launched her first fashion show and grew to rapid fame.  Most recently, in 2009, Sui won the CFDA Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award (Council of Fashion Designers of America) for her outstanding contributions to the fashion industry.  Sui continues to design and manufacture her signature line of clothing in her New York City Headquarters. Sui not only designs clothes, but also has a line of shoes and makeup.  Sui recently designed shirts for Nordstrom, which were sold during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month to benefit the OCA Scholarship Fund.

Steve Chen (Pioneer)  

Steve Chen is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of YouTube, the massively-popular video-sharing Web site. Chen graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and, after college, as an early employee of PayPal, he met Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim.  In 2005, the three founded YouTube.  In June 2006, Chen was named one of “The 50 People Who Matter Now” by Business 2.0.  In October 2006, Chen and Hurley sold YouTube to Google, Inc. for $1.65 Billion. YouTube was awarded a 2008 George Foster Peabody Award and cited for being "a 'Speakers' Corner' that both embodies and promotes democracy."



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