Speaker Queenie Mow Chee 8/8/21
OCAW began as an Auxiliary to the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) and became an independent entity in March 1977. At that time, four Chinese American women, Canta Pian, Anchen Lin, Julia Chang Bloch, and Pauline Woo Tsui started an independent direction with emphasis placed on the betterment of Chinese American women and promotion of their causes.
Canta Pian was the Director of Economic Support for Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.
Anchen Lin, was a clinical social worker, married to the late Professor Jimmy H.C. Lin. The University of Maryland was a recipient of several endowments in memory of her late husband, a beloved professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a prolific inventor.
Julia Chang Bloch was born in Shandong, China, but grew up in San Francisco from the age of nine. She attended the University of California at Berkeley, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Public Policy. She then went on to Harvard University for her Master’s degree in Government and East Asian Regional Studies. She was conferred an honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Northeastern University. Julia was the first Asian American woman to be appointed as an Ambassador (Nepal) for the United States. Her works and achievements are numerous and amazing. She is married to an extremely supportive husband, Mr. Stuart M. Bloch, an attorney of note in Washington, D.C.
Pauline Woo Tsui was born in Nanking, China. She attended school in Shanghai at the prestigious McTyeire School and graduated from Saint John’s University. With the Japanese invasion, Pauline and her mother were able to exit China as they were American citizens. Pauline would go on to attend Columbia University in New York, and she earned her Master’s degree in Music Education. She and her husband T.L. Tsui, a Taiwan Chinese diplomat, have two children. Pauline served as a translator for the U.S. Army Map Service for many years. She was our Executive Director and Acting Executive Director of OCAW until 2007.
A common thread that linked these ladies together was the fact that they all experienced what it was like to be a woman, and a minority, working in the United States. Having experienced the challenges and succeeding in spite of them, they wanted to reach other Chinese American women to help them achieve parity.
During the 1970s, there were growing opportunities for women to gain equality and fairness in the job market. OCAW was able to receive sizable federal grant money to help with teaching and sharing important steps to minority women.
In 1978, OCAW’s first national conference was held in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The keynote speaker was Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink. She was the principal author of Title IX Educational Amendments in 1972. Representatives from the following OCAW chapters attended: Baltimore; Central Virginia; Chicago; Colorado; Dayton, Ohio; Delaware; Detroit; New England; New York; Pittsburgh; Southern Alameda County, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Washington, D.C.; and Wisconsin.
(At that time, OCAW had 26 charter members. Dr. Margaret Lee, who later became the first OCAW Hawaii Chapter President, was one of them.)
On November 2, 1981, OCAW was granted IRS 501(c)(3) status.
Hawaii Chapter Established
It was December 1988, when Julia Chang Bloch was invited to be a guest speaker at a state conference by Governor John Waihee of the State of Hawaii. It then became timely and appropriate to establish a Hawaii Chapter, and so the plan was set in motion.
Anita Wong, who was the Associated Chinese University Women’s incoming president, was contacted by Julia and asked to assemble a group of influential Chinese American women to consider starting a chapter in Hawaii. Thirty-two ladies answered the call to this first meeting at the King Tsin Restaurant on King Street.
In 1989, the OCAW Hawaii Chapter was established and Dr. Margaret Lee became its first
president. Experienced and able, she had previously served as the Los Angeles OCAW Chapter President.
32 Years of Activities
It will be 32 years this year (2021), since 32 ladies first met to discuss the formation of the Hawaii Chapter.
Over the years, some of the important programs we held in Honolulu included assisting immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship by practicing the verbal interviews; supporting a series of seminars at the State Capitol for high school students to learn the process of legislation; donating to various local Chinese community projects; and recently, supporting Chinese American women in film production and writing.
Robin Lung produced “Finding Kukan” to give recognition to the late Li Ling Ai, whose film “Kukan” won an Academy Award in 1942. It is a rare color film footage of China under attack by the Japanese Imperial Army in 1941. Ms. Li was never properly credited. The official film was lost, but through her efforts, Miss Lung discovered a deteriorating copy and had it restored. It was Rena Ochse who kick-started our support of this important endeavor.
Crystal Kwok has a timely production of a movie titled “Blurring the Color Line,” telling of her grandmother’s experiences growing up in Augusta, Georgia as a Chinese in the 20th century. This project is still in production.
We were thrilled to recently hear author Claire Chao share the writings of a book she co-authored with her mother, Isabel Sun Chao, Remembering Shanghai: A Memoir of Socialites, Scholars and Scoundrels, now in the process of being made into a television drama series.
We continue to have concern for those underprivileged and those seeking U.S. Citizenship, and thus support the works of The Legal Clinic, Palolo Chinese Home, and the Lanakila Meals on Wheels Program.
Speaker Crystal Kwok 5/23/21
Crystal’s topic is so timely, with today’s challenges of a rising number of attacks and discrimination against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. This was fueled, sadly, by the rhetoric of the last previous U.S. President.
Crystal is in the process of completing the production of her documentary film, “Blurring the Color Line,” which addresses the Chinese American situation of those living in the segregated South, namely in Augusta, Georgia, from the 20th century. Crystal’s grandmother grew up in Augusta with her parents and 10 siblings. In wanting to learn more of her family’s history, she uncovered a curious blend of attitudes among the memories of her relatives there. This documentary film is integral to her dissertation as a Ph.D. student in Performance Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
If you think her name familiar, you may have seen her in movies in the late 1980s with Jackie Chan, Jet Li, or Maggie Cheung. Perhaps you may have tuned into her highly-rated TV talk shows or radio programs in Hong Kong. She was also a producer and director of film, bilingual edutainment videos, and theatrical productions. Her debut feature film, “The Mistress,” won the Audience Choice Award at the Deauville Asiatic Film Festival in 1999.
Crystal was born in San Francisco, CA and is a UCLA graduate with a B.A. degree in Theater Arts. Having won the title of Miss Chinatown USA, opportunities presented themselves for her to enter the film industry with popular stars like Jackie Chan. Television and radio, even newspapers, gave her time and space to host or write on topics that stirred up many sensitive women’s issues in Hong Kong that covered eastern and western cultures. She also earned a Master’s Degree from Hong Kong University in Literary Studies.
Now living in Hawaii with her husband and three children, she is anticipating the completion of her latest film for her doctoral candidacy. Please support Crystal Kwok in her endeavors by tuning into her talk via Zoom at our next meeting on Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 1 p.m. Hawaii time. Read more about her and her work on her website: https://www.crystalkwok.com
Speaker Claire Chao 2/21/21
Remembering Shanghai: A Memoir of Socialites, Scholars and Scoundrels, an award-winning memoir that she co-wrote with her mother Isabel Sun Chao. She spoke to us of her research and discoveries, and shared a video book trailer.
The story follows five generations from imperial China to modern-day Hong Kong, and is accompanied by evocative period illustrations and photographs. Isabel grows up in the wealthy Sun family in glamorous 1930s Shanghai. When Mao comes to power, she journeys to Hong Kong, unaware that she will never see her father again. She and daughter Claire return to Shanghai six decades later to confront their complex past – one they discover is filled with love and betrayal, kidnappers and concubines, glittering pleasure palaces and underworld crime bosses.
Claire was born and raised in Hong Kong. She spent a decade creating Remembering Shanghai after thirty years in luxury brand management. She graduated with highest honors from Princeton University and was named to Avenue Magazine’s “500 Most Influential Asian Americans” and Tatler Hong Kong’s “Who’s Who in Hong Kong.”
The book is a winner of over 20 literary and design awards, including the Rubery Book Prize BOOK OF THE YEAR.
“Stop Anti Asian Hate” Rally at the Hawaii State Capitol
Roberta Wong Leung and her daughter Robbieana attended the Saturday, March 27, 2021 “Stop Anti Asian Hate” Rally at the Hawaii State Capitol from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event was planned in light of the Atlanta, Georgia mass shooting against Asians and the increasing number of hate crimes aimed at Asians.
There were speakers from the State Legislature and various organizations, as well as a march around the financial district to Chinatown and back to the Capitol. There was wide representation from various minority and racial groups. Several hundred supporters carried all kinds of creative signs.
One of the goals was to support legislation that punishes hate crimes against minorities and women at the local and national levels. The Hawaii Legislature has passed such legislation.
It was a very successful rally, well-organized and peaceful. Similar rallies were held across the U.S. We cannot be silent and have to stand up and speak out.