The Tie That Binds
October 17, 2010
One of the goals of the Chinese Heritage Foundation (CHF) has always been to bring different segments /generations of the local Chinese community together. At its sixth annual open house it did just that. There were nonagenarians and newborns, first generation immigrants and fourth generation ABC's (American born Chinese), as well as academicians and small business owners. The atmosphere was convivial, the tone celebratory, and the food scrumptious.
There has been much talk; most of it under the table as it were, about the gulf that separates the intellectuals from the restaurateurs within the Chinese community. Does it really exist? And if so, does it last beyond the first generation?
The honoree for CHF's Chinese Minnesotan of Note this year was Jane Wilson, a 95-year-old lady who has spent the last 64 years nurturing three generations of Chinese Americans, watching them go from restaurateurs to other professions such as physicians and engineers, or remain in the family business. In her eyes, they are the same people, whatever their professions: all are warm, tight-knit, reverential of teachers, and respectful of family values and traditions. She loves them all.
That was the spirit that prevailed at the CHF open house. Attendees celebrated the accomplishments of CHF in its brief 6-year history. Continuing grant giving for worthy projects, such as CAAM Chinese Dance Theatre's outreach program for underprivileged school children and Families with Children from Asia's retreat for adolescent and teenage Chinese adoptees, gives relevance to the existence of the endowed CHF Fund. A Passage to China, the successful community-wide interactive cultural excursion and performances at Mall of America and a project of CHF Friends, highlights the need to promote mutual understanding among all Minnesotans.
The Volunteer of the Year Award, going to Moon Fong this year, emphasizes the importance CHF places on volunteerism.
Responding to popular requests, CHF Friends (the activities arm of CHF) has decided to present more cultural/social activities in the future, on a membership-driven basis. Membership is open to interested people of all ages and ethnicities. An initial call for members at this meeting netted more than 20 enthusiastic responses. More information on its direction will be available shortly.
As it approaches its 10-year mark, CHF (in both its grant making and cultural activities) will build and expand on the common ground that binds all Chinese Minnesotans together. It will recognize and embrace differences, whether they be regional, geographic, linguistic, or social, and celebrate the common heritage and humanity among us all.
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