15 Great Asian
15 GREAT ASIAN AMERICAN CAUSES6. Japanese American National Museum (JANM)
Bringing Japanese American History to Life
See an actual barracks from the Heart Mountain Internment camps. Experience Nakahama Manjiro's daunting shipwreck adventure through his written accounts. Get a taste of Hawaii at the Kona Coffee story exhibit. These exhibits and many more make up a fascinating visual record of 130 years of Japanese American History presented by the JANM, located in an atmospheric section of Little Tokyo.
The JANM's core exhibit is entitled "Common Ground: The Heart of the Community". Constantly updated, it presents the history of Japanese Americans from 1876 to today. Generations of personal histories reveal how Americans of Japanese ancestry resettled, forged their identity, and contributed to the redefinition of this country.
The JANM's Museum store also offers uniue gifts like beautiful Okasane earrings or a Japanese music doll or a classic shibuya vintage fan. A collection of Japanese music is also available at their Museum Store Online (janmstore.com). Purchases are a fun way to help fund JANM's exhibits and operation.
The JANM's big annual fundraiser is a spectaclar dinner at the posh Century Plaza Hotel and Spa. This year JANM will recognize the key role that Japanese Americans have played in American progress by celebrating over 70 Japanese American family businesses.
JANM was founded in Los Angeles, California in 1985 by community members with the aim of improving appreciation for America's ethnic and cultural diversity by integrating the Japanese American experience into our nation's heritage. It was initially located in the former Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple before moving to its current location. For more info or to contribute, go to http://janm.org.
7. Asian American Donor Program (AADP)
Saving Asian Lives one Donor at a Time
You are someone's one in 30,000, according to AADP's chairman, Jonathan Leong. "If you are someone's match in a minority group, you are probably their only hope" Leong says.
The Asian American Donor Program recruits blood and bone marrow donors from the Asian community, increasing donor matches for other Asian Americans suffering from life-threatening blood diseases.
Every year, the AADP raises awareness with its annual gala, FantAsia. featuring Asian performing artists, a dinner prepared by top Bay Area chefs, silent auctions, and more.
When two leukemia patients were unable to find a match within their own families or among the scarce 123 Asian donors in the National Registry, their family and friends successfully recruited over 2,000 Asians in California to the National Registry, but with no success in finding a match. The deaths of these two people gave birth to the Asian American Donor Program, dedicated to saving lives in the Asian community.
The Asian American Donor Program is a non-profit organization that addresses the desperate need for Asian, Pacific Islander, and Multi-racial blood and marrow donors through recruitment and awareness. For more information on how to contribute, go to http://aadp.org.
8. Asian American Writers' Workshop (AAWW)
Giving Asians a Place in the Literary World
Six Asian Americans started to meet regularly at a Greek diner in the East Village, sharing one unconventional and important thing in common-they were all writers. In 1992, they published the first issue of The Asian Pacific American Journal, and with the crack of a binding, the Asian American Writers' Workshop was founded.
The AAWW has steadily become one of the most active community arts organizations in the country with 800 members and an event audience of about 11,000. Since 1996, its Small Press Division has published ten anthologies and a collection of poetry by Asian American authors. With an impressive list of award-winning books, it has become known as a national educational resource for Asian American literature.
The Annual Asian American Literary Awards are given out to Asian American writers in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, memoir, stage plays and screenplays. The Foreign Student by Susan Choi and A Gesture Life by Chang-rae Lee are both examples of many award recipients. Much like the People's Choice Awards for Asian American books, The Members' Choice Awards gives members of the AAWW a chance to vote for their favorite titles.
Based in New York, the AAWW sponsors readings and book parties, offers creative writing workshops, and encourages future Asian American authors with CreateNow, an in-house summer writing institute for youth. Drop by its 6,000 square foot establishment at 16th West 32nd Street and you will also find a bookstore and a cozy reading room open to the public.
The AAWW is a non-profit organization that develops and publishes creative writing by Asian Americans nationwide. For more information, go to http://aaww.org
9. Bridge to Asia
Books for Asia's Developing Nations
Agonizing over those dusty books spilling out of your shelves? Bridge to Asia foundation would like to send them to help educate millions in Asia. If you're wondering how your English-language books could help students in Asia, remember that English is the international language of science and commerce. Books in English prove very useful when a quarter of China's 1.2 billion is learning the language.
As of 2002 the books donated to BTA made up over half the foreign language books in China's 1000-plus universities during the previous five years. BTA has shipped a total of 6 million books over the past 16 years to grateful educational insitutions in Asia's developing nations. With its vast and relatively youthful population, China has been the leading beneficiary. BTA's educational website is another components of its mission to help facilitate scientific and technical education.
Before you start pulling volumes from your shelves, keep in mind that BTA seeks books that would aid with college, graduate and professional level courses. It also accepts journals and magazines, as well as references like dictionaries and encyclopedias. For more details on what to send and where to send it, log onto http://bridge.org. Bridge to Asia was founded in 1987. PAGE 4