Founded in 1976, OCA- New York Chapter (OCA-NY) is one of 80 plus chapters and affiliates across the country of OCA, a national non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs). Its goals are to advocate for social justice, equal opportunity, and fair treatment; to promote civic participation, education, and leadership; to advance coalition building; and to foster cultural heritage.
Completely volunteer-run by a working board of up to 20 members, OCA-NY covers all five boroughs of New York City and advocates for all APAs, particularly low-income, monolingual APAs. It also has an advisory council composed of 1st and 2nd generation Asian Americans.
OCA-NY’s current program areas include:
1. Civic Participation: OCA-NY has coordinated leadership trainings, naturalization clinics, voter registration drives, and participated in marches and causes affecting all Americans. Highlights include participation in the Health Care Reform March and Comprehensive Immigration Reform rallies in Washington DC; coordinating candidate forums for local and state elections; marching in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in NYC’s Central Park; conducting voter education events and much more. Most recently, OCA-NY is become involved in redistricting issues following the 2010 Census results. OCA-NY is committed to ensure that the APA community plays an active role in many local and national policies that impact their lives.
2. Social Justice and Coalition-Building Projects: OCA-NY monitors hate crimes and hate media; advocates for comprehensive immigration reform; promotes better police community relations; and denounces discriminatory treatment of APAs. Covered extensively by The New York Times, OCA-NY was the lead community advocate in securing Governor Paterson's pardon of Qing Wu in 2010, who was facing mandatory removal from the US because of teenage crimes. In 2007,OCA-NY led a national coalition of advocacy groups to demand the firing of two shock jocks, JV& Elvis, for racist programming. OCA-NY was the lead community advocate in the successful 2006 prosecution of two assailants in a racially-motivated beating of two Chinese American college students in Douglaston, Queens. OCA-NY’s 2009 Black History Month event in Chinatown featured the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, the Soul Salem Choir, NYC Council Members Robert Jackson and John Liu, and State Senator Eric Adams. OCA-NY’s signature event is the Hate Crimes Prevention Art Project, which works with the Ana Luisa Garcia Community Youth Center, Chinatown Youth Initiative and South Asian Youth Action!.
3. Cultural and Social Activities: OCA-NY participates in the Lunar New Year Parades in Manhattan Chinatown and Flushing and in The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York. In 2009, OCA-NY won its division in the 2009 competition. OCA-NY also participates in the Asian American Heritage Festival. OCA-NY coordinates theater excursions to support Asian American artists, which included a play about African American political identity, “The Shipment,” by Young Jean Lee, a film that demonstrated the power of the arts to cross religious and cultural barriers: “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love,” by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, a musical starring BD Wong, “Heading East” and so much more. In addition, every fall or winter, OCA-NY coordinates its members and supporters to see a production by the Pan Asian Reparatory Theatre.