On Saturday, August 6, 2011, it was party central in the Grand Hyatt Hotel Ballroom in New York, where actress and activist Tamlyn Tomita and playwright David Henry Hwang co-emceed the 2011 National OCA Convention Awards Gala. OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), held their 2011 National Convention, Advocacy Through Compassion – A New York State of Mind, from August 4-7, 2011 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
President of Ursinus College, Dr. Bobby Fong and actor, BD Wong received OCA Pioneer Awards; Tammy Duckworth received the OCA Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award. Astria Wong, OCA-Greater Phoenix, Kwong Eng, OCA-New York, Nancy Woo, OCA-Greater Sacramento, Peggy Chen, OCA-Westchester & Hudson Valley, Rita Chu, OCA-St. Louis, Sam Luk, OCA-Greater Los Angeles were among this year’s OCA Unsung Heroes Awards honorees.
2011 Pioneer Awards Honorees
Dr. Bobby Fong is the President of Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. He attended Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in English and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He later earned a doctorate in English Literature from the University of California-Los Angeles in 1978. His academic career began at Berea College in Kentucky, where he taught from 1978 to1989. In 2001 he became President of Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana, one of only 20 Asian-American college presidents in the United States. Active in many higher education associations, Dr. Fong is Vice Chair of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and serves on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the American Council for Education’s National Task Force on Institutional Accreditation, and on the board of the Lingnan University Foundation.
BD Wong is a multi-award winning actor whose work includes theater, television, and film. He is the only actor ever to have received all five major New York Theater awards for his Broadway debut in “M. Butterfly.” He played Dr. George Huang, a forensic psychiatrist and expert on the criminal mind, on the top-rated series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for eleven seasons. Wong also gained notice as a cast regular on HBO’s critically acclaimed series Oz, playing the resilient prison priest Father Ray for five seasons. Wong’s film credits include Jurassic Park, Father of the Bride (1 & 2), and Seven Years in Tibet. He can also be heard as the voice of Shang in the Disney animated films Mulan and Mulan II. Wong’s community work has also been recognized by Asian AIDS Project, GLAAD, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
2011 OCA Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award Honoree
Tammy Duckworth, a Major in the Illinois Army National Guard, served in Iraq as an Assistant Operations Officer and also flew combat missions as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. During a mission north of Baghdad in 2004, her aircraft was ambushed and a rocket-propelled grenade struck the helicopter she was co-piloting. She continued to attempt to pilot the aircraft until passing out from blood loss. As a result of the attack, Duckworth lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm. For her actions, she received several awards, including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, and the Combat Action Badge. Since her recovery at Walter Reed, Duckworth has dedicated her life to public service, advocating on behalf of disability rights and Veterans. In 2008, she was selected by Candidate Obama to deliver the presidential campaign’s key address on Veterans’ rights at the Democratic National Convention. In 2009, she was named as an American Veterans (AMVETS) Silver Helmet award recipient as well as The George Washington University’s Colin Powell Public Service Award Recipient.
The 2012 OCA National Convention will be held in Las Vegas next year, and the Las Vegas Chapter rolled out the welcome mat and unveiled a hilarious short video to entice members to attend.
The last OCA convention I attended was in Atlanta in 2000, when I received the OCA 2000 Chinese American Journalist Award, for an article I wrote about my mother, Bev Umehara, a union labor activist. It was great to be reunited with so many friends and colleagues, including two of my favorite men David and BD, who are featured in my “In Rehearsal” Display of photos, drawn from the Lia Chang Theater Portfolio in the Asian Reading Room at the Library of Congress, from July 20-August 2, 2011. Special thanks to Samantha Chang and Jennifer Oh.
Click here for More OCA Awards Gala Dinner Photos
As a photographer and videographer, Chang has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Chang was featured as Joy in the Signature Theater Company’s revival of Sam Shepard’s 1965 Obie award winning play, Chicago directed by Joseph Chaikin at the Public Theater. Off Broadway credits include: Jeff Weiss’ Obie Award winning Hot Keys (Naked Angels), Raunchy Asian Women (Ohio Theatre), The Confirmation (The Vineyard), Behind Closed Doors (MCC), Power Play (Billie Holiday Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona, Underground Soap, and Famine Plays (Cucaracha Theatre). She has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. Chang currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”.
Chang’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post.
Selections of Chang’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection. Photographs by Lia Chang are in the permanent collections of the Angel Island Immigration Station, Asian American Federation of New York (AAFNY), the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) in San Francisco, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation Art Collection and the New York Historical Society.
A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Chang is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog. She is a National Tropical Botanical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow, a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, a Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media and a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age. She is the recipient of the Asian American Journalists Association 2001 National Award for New Media and the Organization of Chinese Americans 2000 Chinese American Journalist Award. Avenue Magazine named her one of the “One Hundred Most Influential Asian Americans” in 1997. She is featured in Joann Faung Jean Lee’s book “Asian American actors: oral histories from stage, screen, and television”.
Other articles by Lia Chang
Portraits of New York Chinatown After 9/11 Featured in “Post 9/11”: Commemorative Display at Library of Congress Asian Reading Room, 8/30-9/15
Extended through 8/23- “In Rehearsal” Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Featuring Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, Thom Sesma as Scar in The Lion King Las Vegas
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
Dr. Bobby Fong, BD Wong and Tammy Duckworth to Receive Awards at National OCA Convention in NY on 8/6
Photo Preview of BD Wong and the Cast of Heading East at the Asia Society, May 24-26, 2010
David Henry Hwang to Receive 2012 William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award
Photos: On the town with Rick Shiomi, Co-Editor of “Asian American Plays for a New Generation”, in D.C. & NY
Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Features Photos of Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas, Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, and Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s Bakwas Bumbug! on View Through August 23
Photos: Rick Shiomi Checks out Performing Arts Playwrights Series in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection of Library of Congress
Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection Exhibition at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, has been extended through November 7, 2010
Multimedia: George Takei, Nancy Kwan, Lisa Lu and Tsai Chin attend Hollywood Chinese:The Arthur Dong Collection Exhibition Opening Night
The Chinese American Museum partners with Academy award nominated filmmaker Arthur Dong on a groundbreaking exhibition about Hollywood’s forgotten past
In Arthur Dong’s Hollywood Chinese, Chinese Tinseltown Tales told by Asian Silver Screen Icons
BD Wong Stars in the La Jolla Playhouse Production of Herringbone, August 1-30
David Henry Hwang, Kathryn Layng and BD Wong at the Asian American Writers Workshop Literary Awards
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.