Civic Leadership Forum Silicon Valley – Tell Asian American Stories – Louis Lam (Founder & Chairman, American Teochew Foundation)

Civic Leadership Forum Silicon Valley gathers the community and asks to “Tell Asian American Stories” – Announcement of the new video competition

Asian American and Pacific Islander community is not a monolith. We share many cultural traits, but our countries of origin have unique cultures. We do not know each other well.

What issues are vital to the AAPI community? What are AAPI contributions to our country? How do we speak out collectively against Anti-Asian hate crimes? How do we tell Asian American stories to the mainstream?

On October 27th, Civic Leadership Forum Silicon Valley tried to answer these questions. The event was held at Ding Ding TV studios with the title “Tell Asian American Stories.” The key speaker was Kenya Prach, Cambodian American Martial Arts legend. Over 50 people attended the event, and over 30 people in attendance were either elected officials or candidates for public office. Civic Leadership Forum Silicon Valley served as a gathering of community members of different ethnic and religious backgrounds who came together to support the AAPI community.

Diana Ding announced the launch of a new video competition that will “Tell Asian American Stories.” She invited members the community to help and actively participate. Participation could be in the form of partnership and/or sponsorship of the event, promoting and sharing the details of the competition with their network, serving as a video contest judge, or recruiting talent to participate in the video competition.

Ding Ding TV has been telling Asian American stories since 2009. Since the start of the pandemic, Ding Ding TV organized several events including the “In Time of Covid-19” video essay competition, and the Civic Leadership Forum “Different Culture, Common Ground – A culture dialog between Asian and Black communities.” Ding Ding TV also hosted Asian American Network on Clubhouse. It was a weekly public forum for community members to come together, share their stories and support each other.

Kenya Prach (Cambodian American Martial Arts legend) talked about why he came to the United States and what was his philosophy of life. Kenya began studying Cambodian martial arts at the age of seven, and, at age nine, entered his first competition. However, shortly after Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia, he had to stop his training. To escape the killing fields that took his family members, Kenya managed to flee after four years to first Thailand and then the United States. After witnessing atrocities during his childhood, Kenya dedicates his time and resources fighting the human trafficking of children and women.

The attendees at Civic Leadership Forum Silicon Valley included Eric J Chang (Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice), Wayne Lee (former Mayor of Millbrae and Candidate for Millbrae City Council), Chris Norwood (Milpitas Unified School District Board of Education and Candidate for re-election), Matt Mahan (Santa Jose City Council and Candidate for Mayor), Hung Wei (Cupertino Councilmember), Sheila Mohan, JR Fruen, Claudio Bono (Candidates for Cupertino City Council), Ava Chiao (Candidate for Cupertino School Board), Stanley Kou, Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto (Candidates for Fremont Union High School District Board), Michael Tsai (Milpitas School Board Trustee and Candidate for Milpitas City Council), Phuong Nguyen, Rosa Kim (at-large seat at Fremont Union High School District and Candidate for re-election), and Yogi Chugh (Candidate for Fremont City Council). All the attendees briefly introduced themselves and networked. It resulted in new connections made and lively discussions.

Apart from Diana Ding (Founder of Silicon Valley Community Media and Ding Ding TV), other organizers of the event included Joel Wong (President, National Asian American PAC and National Asian American United), Ken Fong (Founder and Chairman, Kenson Ventures), Sandy Chau (Founder and Chairman, Civic Leadership USA), and Louis Lam (Founder and Chairman, American Teochew Foundation).
Ding Ding TV and Civic Leadership USA created Civic Leadership Forum in 2016 to provide a platform for the next generation of the AAPI community and empower them to participate in civic engagement and leadership. Likewise, the forums aim to create a national network of AAPI civic-minded organizations and have them and their leaders work in unity.

So far, over 2000 elected officials, community leaders, students, and parents have participated in the events. The forum’s content reached over 200.000 people in Silicon Valley Bay Area and the United States.

This Civic Leadership Forum Silicon Valley was supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library.


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