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Asian Cultural Experience
Fall 2021, No. 3, Fall Newsletter
It’s been awhile since our last newsletter. Who would’ve guessed, during the pandemic and social distancing of 2020, that ACE would end up being so busy in 2021? Our Fall newsletter updates you on the past year for ACE and our members.
ACE Office & Gallery: A Base of Operations
ACE finally has a dedicated space where we can securely store exhibit boards and other artifacts, create historical and educational exhibits, and hold lectures, workshops, and other events. In May, we began moving into our office, Suite A at Moon Gate Plaza.
Most of our furniture has been moved in. We are also now in the process of bringing in exhibit boards and other images and objects, which will be used for pop-ups and various programs. We could use help in labeling and cataloguing these items. We would also like to resume our ongoing project of collecting local oral histories, images, documents, and objects.
We will be open on a limited basis throughout the summer, mostly on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ACE now has a staff person: Jean Vengua has resigned from her co-chair duties, and is currently ACE’s Programs Manager. We are grateful to the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) for funding this position.
New Board Members
This summer, ACE welcomed 3 new Board members: Kathleen Slattery, Jason Agpaoa, and Mariko Yamamoto. We thank them for their continuing contributions to ACE. Jason is now working closely with service-learning students, and with ACE volunteers. With a background in ethnic studies and museum studies (SFSU), as well as experience in working for Santa Cruz MAH and the San Jose Tech Museum, we welcome his expertise.
Republic Cafe & Chinatown
We continue to plan for purchase of the Republic Cafe & Lotus Inn in order to eventually renovate the buildings and create the Chinatown Cultural Center and Museum.
Our goal is to raise $200,000 to purchase the Republic Cafe by Dec. 2021. We have yet to find an investor for the initial purchase. If you have any leads, please contact:
Larry Hirahara: email@example.com 408-968-9081
Cathy Chavez-Miller 831-809-8310
Improvements to infrastructure and support from the City of Salinas are needed to provide crucial support for the Republic Cafe Cultural Center & Museum project. During the past several weeks, we have seen improvements to Soledad St., including improvements to the sewer system, clean streets and sidewalks, increased police and community policing presence, homeless camping in sanctioned areas (as well as new shelters for the homeless in areas of north Salinas. ACE welcomes these changes and looks forward to further improvements.
At the most recent Salinas Downtown Community Board Meeting, Salinas’ Community Development Analyst Luis Ochoa presented an overview and update of the City of Salinas’ plans for revitalizing Chinatown.
Near the end of 2020, ACE joined the MCGives Campaign, our first experience with this annual fundraiser. We did well and would like to thank everyone for their contributions to ACE, which helped us pay initial costs of moving into our new office & gallery space at Moon Gate Plaza. ACE observed pandemic protocols this year, and cancelled the in-person Chinatown Asian Festival. We missed the food, culture, and people.
However, a group of ACE members came up with a solution: they created a Virtual Asian Festival! Thanks to members of the Virtual Asian Festival Committee (Jason Agpaoa, Dominic Dursa, Carissa Purnell, Chrissy Lau, and Larry Hirahara) for their efforts! Big thanks also to Orlando Osornio, Hong's Market, Julie Chon, members of the Filipino Youth Club, Albert Fong, and MCOE. Various talented individuals and organizations provided artwork (Basic Lee designed the poster below), Asian food samples, and food demonstration videos. It was a fun event, and we are grateful to have had a chance to hold the 2021 Chinatown Asian Festival.
Introduction to the 2021 Virtual Asian Festival, by Board Member Jason Agpaoa:
ACE is grateful to all the individuals and organizations who have sponsored and contributed to our Annual Asian Festival. We look forward to our next Asian Festival scheduled for Sat., April 30, 2022.
All proceeds from food and shirt sales will support ACE programs and efforts to create a Chinatown Cultural Center and Museum.
These students are helping us meet our goals in many different ways: In the past they have created multimedia presentations, researched a cataloging and labeling system for our archive, posted on social media, and done surveys to gauge volunteer availability.
We can't wait to see their final projects!
ACE Partners Include:
Buddhist Temple of Salinas
Chinese American Citizens Alliance
Chinese Association of Salinas
City of Salinas
CSUMB Service-Learning Institute
FANHS Monterey Bay Area
Filipino Community of Salinas Valley
Historic Harvey House
Monterey County Historical Society
National Steinbeck Center
Salinas Downtown Community Board
Salinas Public Library
Remembering Our Friends
We remember our dear friends Wallace Ahtye, Mae Sakasegawa, and Gerry Low-Sabado, who passed away in (2020 and 2021). All three contributed immeasurably to ACE programs and archives, and to Asian American history in Monterey County. They provided us with many stories about the Chinese and Japanese neighbors in our neighborhood and in Monterey, and their kindness and knowledge will be remembered and missed.
Our sympathy also goes out to ACE members and friends who have lost loved ones during the past two years—both before and during the pandemic. Let’s help each other through these difficult times.
ACE’s mission is to preserve, promote, and enrich the history and multicultural identity of Salinas Chinatown, historically the home of the Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino communities of Salinas. Learn more about that mission here.
Membership in ACE supports and furthers our vision of Salinas Chinatown and projects like transforming the Republic Cafe into a cultural center and museum.
Join ACE to receive our quarterly newsletter, Asian Festival booklets, and invitations to all ACE events and volunteer opportunities. Learn more about membership here.
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