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Taking a Stand for Peace and Mutual Understanding

In February, as our preparations intensified for our 8th Passage at the MOA, the terrorist group Al Shabaab issued a video calling for attacks on U.S. shopping malls, including MOA. We did not take this threat lightly, and neither did the MOA. We met with Mall officials, and they briefed us on FBI and Homeland Security intelligence assessment that showed no credible specific threat to the Mall. They also showed us their own enhanced (and mostly behind the scenes) security and heavy surveillance efforts; and promised extra security measures (some visible and some invisible) in both the Rotunda and Sears Court during our event.

With this assurance and support from the MOA, we decided to go forward with Passage, while giving all participating organizations and volunteers the option to withdraw. We were very grateful to the many organizations and volunteers who chose to remain with us as we made a stand for peace and understanding, as proclaimed in our Gates of Mutual Understanding and Mutual Courtesy.

Under the vigilant eye of the Mall’s extra security personnel David Fong’s Lion Dance Team proclaimed the opening of Passage at 11 AM on March 14. There is really nothing that better heralds fun and excitement than a lion dance! Audiences lined up along the banisters on every floor of the Rotunda and every head on the escalators was turned towards the lion dancers as they made their way around all the tables. As soon as the dance was over, eager attendees, children and adults alike, streamed towards the tables where organizations and volunteers stood ready to engage them in activities such as Chinese papercuts, Chinese chess and Go, tangrams, speaking Mandarin, learning to use chopsticks or make dumplings or writing with a brush. Crafts projects such as making a porcelain medallion necklace, or a print, or a terra cotta warrior head on a stick remained popular. Fortune telling was always sought after, particularly since this year a new generation of young and yet so sincere soothsayers came forward from among our volunteers!

The central 'palazzo', created by the semi-circular arrangement of tables in the Rotunda, became the gathering spot for old friends while new acquaintances drew on their positive energies to build connectedness.  All this took place under the gaze of our six-foot-tall Terra cotta warrior who stood sentry on the west end. He also became the favorite backdrop for visitors as they tried on different historical fashions styles from the last dynasties. Many cell phones were held up high to record the glamorous moment. Quzheng music, provided by Lauren Moy nearby, completed the experience of old world elegance.

Over in Sears Court smooth operation was the order of the day. Streamlined logistical arrangement for performers eliminated the crowdedness around the stage area. Improved communications between performers and sound technicians led to a much smoother performance environment. As always, our variety of performers, ranging from Chinese classical music (guzheng, pipa, singing) to martial arts, Chinese dance and qigong, offered the audience a feast for both the eye and ear.

In addition to the lion dances, technological improvements and presentations on the jumbotron in the Rotunda attracted many more onlookers on the upper levels.  Once again, this year’s Passage became another favorite memory in our expanding story book.

The Passage Committee is grateful to the MOA for delivering on its promise of extra security. It enabled us and our participating organizations and volunteers to go forward with our goal of promoting mutual understanding and courtesy among all Minnesotans.

For a more complete description of the porcelain medallion activity, please visit 

Participating Organizations:

Asian Creations

Breck School

CAAM Chinese Dance Theater

CAAM Chinese Language School

Changqing Senior Chorus

Chinese Acupincture & Herb Center

Chinese American Association of Minnesota

Chinese Musical Gallery

CIAC Travel Inc.

Concordia Language Villages

David Fong's Lion Dance Team

Dragon Festival

Dragon Gate School of TAi Chi Chuan

Fair School

Families with Children from Asia

Gary Erickson

Golden Leopard Martial Arts Center

Green Dragon Kung Fu

Ha Family Entertainment and Family Troupe

Hongde Lion Dance Association

Hopkins Xin Xing Academy

Hui’s Lucky Dragon Dance

Hunan Folk Association

Legacy Performance Arts

Li Lei Music Studio

Little Swan Dance Studio

Mandarin Links LLC

Michelle Low

Minhua Chorus

Minneapolis Plum Blossom Martial Arts Center

Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society

Minnesota Chinese Dance Theater

Minnesota Chinese Opera

Minnesota Minhua Central School

Minnetonka Public School

Muzi Youth Chorus

Pak Mei Athletic Association

Panda Express

Spring Forest Qigong

Ting James Kong Studio

Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center

Twin Cities Go Club

U of MN China Center

U of MN Confucius Institute

US-China People’s Friendship Association MN Chapter

Xu Qian Academy

Yang Ye Tai Chi

Yu Cai Chinese Language School

 

Volunteers:

Summer Ahern

Cindy Bai

Aaron Bergad

Robert Bergad

Corey Bergad

Angie Brain

Michelle Cao

Ivy Chang

Paul Chen

Qin Chu

Winnie      Crosbie

Stephanie Duong

Gary Erickson

Jessica     Fang

Mike Ferrell

David Fong

Donald      Fong

Eddie Fong

Stephen Fong

David Fong Jr.

Becca Guo

Jill Huang

Joe & Marlene     Hui

Amy Kong

Sharon      Kwan

Ida Lano

John Lau

Ken Lau

Abby Le

Cindy Le

Hannah Le

Rick Ledford

Gary Lee

Michelle Lee

Chris Li

Kan Li

Lang Li

Michelle Li

Yi Li

Yueyi Li

Ying Liang

Christy     Lovlie

George Luangoudom

Hannah Lund

Jane Mahowold

Stephen Mao

George      Maverick

Ann Meier

Monica Ngo

Amy Nguyen

Lianna Novitz

Jordana Palmer

Victoria Qian

KyokoSakai

Qinyun Shao

Julia Shi

Mei Shu

Anna Suiter

Lydia Suiter

Zoe Suiter

Ben Torell

Steve Tsai

Danli Wang

Jingbo      Wang

Elizabeth Wilcox

Cathy Wong

Dominic Wong

Ruth Wong

Qifan Xiao

Shuwen Xu

Bingwen Yan

Alice Yang

Flora Yang

Ying Yang

Yehua Yao

Mary Yee

Nora Zhan

John Zhang

Liming      Zhang

Andrew Zheng

Boling      Zheng

HongJuan Zhou

Tianxiao Zhu

Cheng Ye

Wenjuan Wang

Ai-Ai Lin

Lu Yang

Bo Liu

Ying Li  

Jing Wang

Yupeng Deng  

Fang Wu  

Hailei Xie  

Cory Brathall

Luyi Lien

Yu-Chia Chen

Jasmine Lu

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