OCA Cleveland celebrated the Inauguration of new President Lisa Wong and the New Board on February 8, 2014 with a reception at the Offices of Margaret W. Wong & Associates. The inauguration was conducted by the Honorable Ron Falconi, Mayor of Brunswick. In attendance were the Honorable Frank G. Jackson, Mayor of Cleveland; Councilman Brian J. Cummins; Ariella Brown, office of Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge; President National OCA Sharon Wong; President OCA-Columbus Linh Ta; and many other esteemed community leaders and guests. The Inauguration Speech given by new President Lisa Wong is below.
OCA Cleveland New Board:
- President – Lisa Wong
- Secretary – Harold Hom
- Treasurer – Shan Chan
- V.P. of Administration – Wayne Wong
- V.P. of Membership – Deborah Yue
- V.P. of Organizational and Public Relations – Johnny K. Wu
- V.P. of Education and Culture – Huili Shi
- Past President – Ray Chan
- Past President – Ray Hing
OCA Cleveland President – Lisa Wong
February 8, 2014
I am humbled, and honored to have this opportunity to serve as the president of OCA Cleveland. This is an organization that I have been a part of for over 20 years. My commitment to OCA is because I truly believe in the importance and necessity of this organization.
I was born here in Cleveland, to an immigrant mother and American-born Chinese father. Growing up as an American of Asian descent, I was always in search of my identity. Always feeling not quite American enough yet reminded by my relatives from China and Hong Kong that I was not quite Chinese enough either.
Growing up on Cleveland’s west side, my family and I faced all sorts of discrimination. We were often ridiculed as foreigners even though my father, siblings, and I were born in the US. It was a constant struggle just trying to fit in. It wasn’t until college when I met other Chinese Americans and became friends with many international students that I embraced who I was and found pride and full acceptance of my dual culture. I felt a desire to make a difference by bridging the cultural gap caused by ignorance and prejudice.
In particular, I wanted to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of all cultures, especially my own. By sharing what we know to be good with others who may not have seen, heard, or tasted what other ethnicities have to offer, we can begin to break the cultural barriers.
OCA and Community Leadership
During my college days, I joined the local OCA chapter looking for ways to make a difference. It is within this organization that I met long time advocates Fran and Dave Namkoong. Many of you here know the numerous contributions the Namkoongs have provided for the Asian community in the last couple of decades. They have been a true inspiration to me along with many other leaders like Alex Mark, Anthony Yen and Margaret Wong.
Through OCA, I grew in my enthusiasm to serve the Asian community and there I met a number of talented and dedicated Advocates.
It was about five years ago I co-founded the Cleveland Asian Festival. Previously OCA and other Asian organization would put on events that were culturally rich, but yet had increasingly declining attendance. So at one of these events, the three of us: Vi Huynh, Johnny and I had a discussion. And Vi posed the questions “How can we get more people to experience all of this?” My response “We can close down the streets like they do in Little Italy. Put on an ethnic festival outdoors like the Greeks, Italians, and Irish do.”
So we reached out and partnered with other community leaders and organizations. Together in 2010, we put on our first Festival. To our surprise, 10,000 people attended our first one-day Festival. The Festival is now a two day event and it brings up to 40,000 people each year into the heart of Cleveland’s AsiaTown, serving as an economic catalyst for the neighborhood while showcasing and bringing awareness to the various Asian cultures in Greater Cleveland.
As OCA Cleveland President, and co-founder of the Cleveland Asian Festival, I intend to build on the Festival’s momentum so that AsiaTown becomes a destination not only once a year but throughout the year. So that AsiaTown becomes an establish part of the colorful fabric of Cleveland.
Future Vision for OCA
With our board of experienced and dedicated leaders, we are planning a new multi-faceted series called “Grooming for Success in America” that will be aimed at new immigrants, college students, young professionals, as well as parents.
We will continue to support cultural awareness and understanding by sustaining events such as the Cleveland Asian Festival and build on our partnerships to educate the greater community about the rich and diverse Asian cultures here in Northeast Ohio.
We will continue to increase voter engagement activities, and address the well being of Asian Pacific Americans through partnerships and programs such as ASIA Inc’s Project RAISE.
My beginnings as a community leader started when I was in college, so I believe it is essential to reach out to college students in order to train up new leaders. We plan on building on OCA’s college affiliate programs in the Greater Cleveland area. We will also implement a Board Development Committee to identify potential members and prepare them for leadership roles.
I look forward to serving the community as president of OCA Cleveland. I hope to work with each of you, our members, and partner organizations to accomplish great things for our community.
Thank you for your support.
President 2014 – 2018
Lisa Wong – Introduction
(Given by M.C. Wayne Wong, prior to Speech)
Lisa Wong is a native Clevelander. She is the newly elected president of the OCA Cleveland Chapter, an Asian American Advocacy organization and the Co-Founder, Co-Chair of the Cleveland Asian Festival. She is a member of the Asiatown Task Force Planning committee and has over 20 years of community service and non-profit programming experience. Lisa is a marketing graduate of Cleveland State University and specializes in event management. Lisa has worked for the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, The Plain Dealer, and recently join the Minority Business Assistance Center at the Urban League of Greater Cleveland as a Business Advisor.
Lisa Wong is a graduate of the grassroots program Neighborhood Leadership Cleveland, and the FBI Citizen’s Academy, and is also a certified Election Day Official. She serves on multiple boards including Cleveland Asian Festival, MotivAsians, and Worldwide Intercultural Network (WIN-NEO). She is a host, producer, and writer for OCA Image TV Ohio. Lisa has been a dedicated member of the Cleveland chapter of OCA for over 20 Years, serving as Newsletter Editor, V.P. of Public Relations, and V.P. of Membership. For her many contributions to the Asian community, Lisa was honored with the 2012 Ohio Asian Leaders Award.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome OCA President Ms. Lisa Wong!