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For Immediate Release
23 June 2008

Hope Chu | Senior Communications Manager
202 223 5500 |

Notable Asian Pacific Americans to be honored at OCA’s National Convention and 35th Anniversary Celebration to be held in Washington DC July 31-August 3, 2008

Washington DC—OCA, a national Asian Pacific American organization with 80 chapters and college affiliates across the country dedicated to ensuring social justice for Asian Pacific Americans, announced the 2008 OCA Pioneer Award honorees today. This year’s recipients are Arthur Dong, Nancy Kwan, Jhoon Rhee, and K.L. Wang.

"The contributions of Arthur Dong, Nancy Kwan, Jhoon Rhee and K.L. Wang to the APA community are unmatched. Their courage and leadership have paved the way for Asian Pacific Americans in American arts, entertainment, and civil rights,” said Ginny Gong, OCA National President, "We are honored to be able to recognize them at this year’s convention for their inspirational contributions and endless dedication to the empowerment of the APA community.”

This year, OCA celebrates its 35th anniversary. For 35 years, OCA has been a leading voice for the advancement of Asian Pacific Americans, helping to create new opportunities for the APA community and encourage the full participation of APAs in US society. For 35 years, OCA has spearheaded campaigns and programs to ensure the social, political and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans.

At this year’s convention, OCA will also honor its members with the presentation of Chapter of the Year Awards, the Unsung Hero Volunteer Awards, and OCA college scholarships. This annual event draws Asian Pacific Americans from around the country and is one of the largest gatherings of APAs in the US. This year the convention features three days of workshops; exhibits and job fair; youth and college programs; community health fair; senior day; cultural events; and many notable speakers and guests. Convention activities also include a tour of Washington monuments by night, and a dinner reception at the Smithsonian.  

Workshops, exhibits, career fair, and community health fair are free and open to the public. College, youth and senior activities are free but are open to a limited number of registered participants. Interested parties should contact the OCA National Center at or 202 223 5500. Tickets for all meals and special events, including the Gala Awards Banquet, are available for purchase online at A full schedule of events is available online. Early registration closes July 20, 2007. The conference will take place at the Hilton Washington in Washington, DC. 

2008 OCA Pioneer Awards Honorees

Arthur Dong is an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker whose pivotal work focuses on the history of the Asian Pacific American community and oppression in the LGBT community. His ground-breaking films range from the story of his mother’s immigration from China to the US to a story of chilling anti-gay violence. He is the recipient of a three Sundance Film Festival awards, George Foster Peabody Award, the Berlin Film Festival’s Teddy Award, and five Emmy nominations.  

Nancy Kwan has had a long career in film. She was one of the first Asian women to obtain a leading role in mainstream cinema, making her a true pioneer in the APA community. In 1961, she received a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Female Newcomer and a nomination for Best Motion Picture (Actress, Drama) for her role in The World of Suzie Wong. She currently dedicates her time to the Asian American Voters Coalition.

Jhoon Rhee is known as the Father of American Taekwondo for his influential work in bringing the martial art to the United States. After completing his degree in engineering, he opened up several taekwondo studios in Texas and Washington DC and his business rapidly grew to include studios in Russia. He has been a fixture on Capitol Hill, teaching members of congress taekwondo.

Kung-Lee Wang has been a prominent figure in the fight for Asian Pacific American social justice. In 1971, at a time when there were very few avenues for Asian American political involvement, Wang and several other people established the Chinese American Leadership Council which later became OCA. He served as OCA National President from 1974 to 1977, and continues to be an influential voice in the APA community.

Founded in 1973 as the Organization of Chinese Americans, OCA is a national organization dedicated to the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.

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