OCA Organizational Profile & Background
Legal Status: 501(c) 3 not-for-profit, non-partisan
Vision: An American society which consistently affirms the human rights and dignity of all Asian Pacific Americans as contributors, citizens, and defenders of democracy. This positive recognition of APAs shall be evidenced by inclusion in leadership roles, access to vital resources, and positive as well as accurate portrayals in all forms of media without regard to xenophobia and other forms of racial and ethnic myths, stereotypes, and disparaging characterizations.
National Headquarters: Washington, DC
West Coast Office: Los Angeles, CA
Leadership: Michael W. Kwan, President
50 National Board Members representing the chapters including an 11 member Executive Council.
Lead by the Executive Director, the staff consists of the following:
- Full Time = 7 (Including Fellows)
- Fellows = 1
- Interns = 4 Spring, 24 Summer, & 4 Fall
Number of Chapters: 50
Number of Affiliates: 50
Annual Operating Budget: FY 2013 $1.6M
Corporate Achievement Awards
Key Organizational Partners: Anti-Defamation League, Asian American Justice Center, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Boat People SOS, Japanese American Citizens League, National Council for Asian Pacific Americans, NAACP, National Education Association, & Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
- Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF)
- APIA Vote
- National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
Fulfilling A Vision...The Early Days of OCA
In 1973, OCA catalyzed into being with the vision of uniting Chinese Americans across the United States into one representative voice. Interest and concern had been stirring in different pockets of the country since the late 1980s. The movement started to grow as numbers of the Chinese American communities began to rally together.
Many OCA leaders deserve recognition. However, Kung-Lee (K.L.) Wang is one individual who was instrumental in the creation of OCA. There was a recognized need for a group to be a voice for Chinese Americans as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) were for their respective ethnic groups. While this vision of a united representative voice was shared with all founding members, more importantly, they decided to focus on Chinese American issues and concerns in the U.S., instead of the divisive issues concerning their "homeland."
With this vision and strong determination, in September 1971, K. L. Wang and others established the Chinese American Leadership Council, the precursor to OCA, in Washington, DC. K.L. Wang then personally traveled through many cities in the U.S. to promote a national advocacy organization for Chinese Americans.
In November 1971, at the urging of K.L. Wang, Alex Mark chaired a steering committee to establish a national organization for Chinese Americans in Detroit. By February 1972, the Association of Chinese Americans was established and incorporated in Detroit, with Alex Mark as its first president.
A group of about 20 Chinese Americans in the St. Louis community gathered for their first meeting with K.L. Wang in late 1971. As a result, the League of Chinese Americans was formed in St. Louis in early 1972. Shortly thereafter, the bylaws were adopted and William Chang was elected its first president.
On May 3, 1973, invitation letters to join OCA were signed by Alex Mark and K.L. Wang and sent to Detroit, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Washington, DC and other Chinese American communities. Pauline Tsui of Washington, DC, served as the convention committee chair. Anna Chennault was instrumental in recruiting support from Congress and the Administration.
The first National Convention was held on June 9, 1973, which became the official inception date of OCA. One hundred twelve delegates from across the nation attended the convention, in which the constitution, bylaws and the name of the organization were adopted. K.L. Wang was elected as its first national president. The Association of Chinese Americans in Detroit, while retaining its name, became a chapter. The original OCA in Washington, DC evolved as a distinct chapter with Harry Woo as its first president. The League of Chinese Americans in St. Louis also joined in becoming one of the three founding chapters of OCA.
Today, there are over 100 OCA chapters and affiliates across the country working on behalf of Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent as an organization dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans. The many achievements of OCA over the past 40 years have been possible only through the commitment of many dedicated friends, members, officers, family, corporate partners, colleagues and leaders in the Chinese and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Yet, there is much left to do to accomplish our mission. We must continue the vision of "Embracing the Hopes and Aspirations of Asian Pacific Americans."
Past National Presidents
K.L. Wang: 1974-1977
Alex Mark: 1978-1979
Mary Au: 1980
Hang Chang: 1981
Austin Tao: 1982
Robert Wu: 1983-1984
Andrew Chen: 1985-1986
James Tso: 1987
Frank Liu: 1988-1989
S.B. Woo: 1990
Claudine Cheng: 1991-1992
Ginny Gong: 1993-1994
Michael Lin: 1995-1998
George Ong: 1999-2002
Raymond Wong: 2003 -2004
Ginny Gong: 2005 - 2008
Ken Lee: 2009-Present
Hayden Lee: 1977-1979
Don Cooper: 1980-1982
Laura Chin: 1982-1984
Henry Mui: 1984-1987
Melinda Yee: 1988-1990
Daphne Kwok: 1990-2001
Christine Chen: 2001-2005
Dorothy Wong: 2005 - 2006
Michael Lin: 2006-2008
George Wu: 2009-2011
Tom L. Hayashi: 2012 - 2014