OCA Announces 2019 Achievement Awardees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12 June 2019

Contact: Thu Nguyen | Communications Manager

202.223.5500 | tnguyen@ocanational.org

Washington, DC – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is proud to announce the honorees at the 2019 OCA National Gala Awards. This year, individuals from across the country were selected for their accomplishments in advancing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) visibility, as well as their successes in their careers.

“We are proud to honor these five individuals who have impacted the AAPI community both nationally and locally,” said Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President. “By combining their expertise in various fields with their passion for representation and equity, our honorees this year have uplifted the AAPI community and helped build strong advocates through their work.”

OCA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Stewart Kwoh, Founding President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA

Stewart Kwoh is the founding President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles (formerly known as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center).

Kwoh is a nationally recognized leader and expert in race relations, Asian American studies, nonprofit organizations and philanthropies, civil rights, and legal services. He was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 1998, becoming the first Asian American attorney and human rights activist to receive this highly prestigious recognition, often referred to as the “genius grant.”

In 1983, Kwoh co-founded Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles, the nation’s largest Asian American legal and civil rights organization that serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Advancing Justice | Los Angeles’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, build coalitions to positively influence, and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.

Kwoh earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and his J.D. from the UCLA School of Law.

 

OCA PIONEER AWARD

Dr. Paul C. W. Chu, Professor of Physics, T.L.L. Temple Chair of Science, and Founding Director and Chief Scientist of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston

Dr. Paul C. W. Chu is currently serving as Professor of Physics, T.L.L. Temple Chair of Science, and Founding Director and Chief Scientist of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston; and as Honorary Chancellor of the Taiwan Comprehensive University System. He is President Emeritus and University Professor Emeritus of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He was born in Hunan, China, and received the B.S. degree from Cheng-Kung University in Taiwan. After service with the Nationalist Chinese Air Force, he earned a M.S. degree from Fordham University, Bronx NY, and completed his Ph.D. degree at the University of California at San Diego, all three degrees being in Physics. He has been working on Superconductivity, Magnetism, and Dielectrics.

After doing industrial research with Bell Laboratories at Murray Hill, New Jersey, Dr. Chu held an academic appointment at Cleveland State University. He assumed his appointment at the University of Houston in 1979. He was Director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston between 1987 and 2001. He also served as consultant and visiting staff member at Bell Labs, Los Alamos National Lab, the Marshall Space Flight Center, Argonne National Lab, and DuPont at various times.

 

OCA PIONEER AWARD

Brian Ching, retired professional soccer player formerly with Houston Dynamo and the U.S. National Team

Brian Ching is an entrepreneur, community champion, and retired professional soccer player who played for twelve years in Major League Soccer and represented the U.S. national team for eight years.

Ching's professional career began when he was the 16th pick overall by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft, making him the first Gonzaga player and the first player from his native Hawaii selected in the MLS draft. Ching played with multiple clubs and collected major awards including the MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award, the MLS Golden Boot, and was named to the MLS Best XI before his career with the Houston Dynamo. As captain of the Houston Dynamo, he led the team to back-to-back MLS Cup Championships in 2006 and 2007 and four MLS finals overall. A six-time MLS All-Star, Ching retired from professional soccer in 2013 as Houston Dynamo's all-time leading scorer.

Ching made his international debut May 26, 2003, becoming the first Hawaiian-born player to represent the United States. He became the first Hawaiian to be named to the U.S. roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and was part of the winning US Men's National Team for the 2007 Gold Cup. Off the field, Ching has been a pillar in the Houston community partnering with various organizations including Habitat for Humanity to build homes for underprivileged families in the Houston area through fundraising efforts under his program "The House that Ching Built" and doing appearances in area schools & community organizations.

After retiring from professional sports he has focused on being an entrepreneur bringing to life Pitch 25 Beer Garden, a soccer-themed bar in East Downtown Houston. He's currently working on opening a new bar concept in the same neighborhood.

 

OCA PIONEER AWARD

Hoyt Zia, retired as Senior VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Hawaiian Airlines, founding president of National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)

Hoyt Zia was born and raised in New Jersey, graduated from Dartmouth College, served as a US Marine Corps officer, and then received his law degree from the UCLA School of Law.

He recently retired as Senior VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. Prior to joining Hawaiian, he was the publisher of Hawaii Business magazine, and before that the executive director of the Pacific Telecommunications Council, an international telecom industry non-profit organization based in Honolulu. For most of his career, however, he was an attorney who practiced in San Francisco and Honolulu, both in law firms and in-house with Motorola, Inc. and Amfac/JMB Hawaii, Inc. He also served in the Clinton Administration as Chief Counsel for Export Administration, Department of Commerce, in Washington, DC.

Hoyt is married and has two children. While in California, he served as president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area and the Asian Pacific Bar of California, and he was the founding president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. He currently serves on the boards of the Consuelo Foundation and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, and is the board president of the Chinese Historical Society of America.

 

OCA COMMUNITY BUILDER AWARD

Mei Lum, 5th Generation Owner of Wing on Wo & Co., Founder and Director of The W.O.W. Project

Mei Lum is the 5th generation owner of her family’s over century-old porcelain ware business and the oldest operating store in NYC's Chinatown, Wing on Wo & Co. (W.O.W.). In light of Chinatown's rapid cultural displacement, Mei established community initiative, the W.O.W. Project in 2016 out of a desire to amplify community voices and stories through art, culture, and activism. Mei was recognized as a 2017 emerging voice in the AAPI community from NBC Asian America and was a 2017-2018 National Art Strategies’ Creative Community Fellow. Mei is currently a Metropolitan Museum of the Arts Civic Practice Seminar Fellow learning how to build bridges between institutions and ethnic communities in New York City.