The CMAA Annual Gala is right around the corner and for those who haven’t gotten a chance to buy their tickets yet here are 3 reasons why you should attend:
- Network with AAPI Community Leaders
If you’re looking to get involved with community work, look no further, attending the Gala is a good way to start. Hosted by Aurora Austriaco, Eric Mah and Darryl Tom. The event will be attended by nearly 400 supporters, numerous stakeholders and various community allies and leaders all of whom are based in the Chicagoland area. Not only will you be able to interact with these community leaders and individuals, but by attending the Gala, you’ll be able to start getting involved with the community. You’ll be able to get insight on what the AAPI community is all about and see how the AAPI community has been contributing to make Chicago a better place. If you’re a business owner, through this event you’ll not only be able to garner new friends but potential clients as well. This Gala is also open to those who are looking to partner up with some organizations in order to address certain issues. Don’t miss out!
- Get Inspiration from the Awardees
This year’s awardees have had a major impact on the community. They have been movers and shakers and have greatly helped in putting the AAPI community on the spotlight. Get to know Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, and Hoan Huynh who are both Illinois State Representatives in the 17th and 13th District respectively.
The Visionary of the Year Award goes to Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz who has been a full-time legislator since January 2019. Jennifer is a human rights attorney with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University, Juris Doctor degree from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and a Masters of Law degree from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. She was formerly a litigation attorney at Winston and Strawn and a founding member and co-chair of the Illinois Unaccompanied Children’s Task Force. She is also a former Director of the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic and a former board member of the Glenview Education Foundation.
The Duc Huang Founder’s Award for Immigrant Success goes to Hoan Huynh. Hoan is a full-time legislator and was formerly the investments and innovation lead at a social impact investments firm in Chicago. He has led various social innovation initiatives at several technology startups and has conducted public policy research. Hoan is a refugee from Vietnam and is the first Vietnamese American and refugee to serve in the General Assembly. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology (Intensive) with Economics/Anthropology from Yale University; as well as a Master of Arts in Policy degree from Harvard University.
Apart from these individual awardees you will also be able to get to know the organization who will be receiving the Outstanding Business Partner Award and that is the Chicago Chapter of the Asian McDonald’s Operators Association (AMOA).
Founded by two Asian Americans who are Chicago-area McDonald’s Owner/Operators, Johnnie Tom and Dennis Cha started the organization nearly 10 years ago. For many of those who don’t know it is a group of Asian American McDonald’s restaurant franchisees who provide immense support to Asian Operators in the McDonald’s system in order to achieve business results, while ensuring all operations are up to restaurant standards. The organization continuously strives to uplift the community through its philanthropic and educational endeavors through various scholarship programs, community enrichment and cultural festivals in Asian communities throughout the area.
- Learn about the available Youth Programs and contribute to its success
The annual gala will serve as a fundraiser to help support the various Youth programs such as the Academic support, enrichment activities in safe and healthy environments, STEM learning opportunities, and opportunities for social emotional development as well as for the improvement of academic outcomes for students.
Through the Gala you’ll be able to know the various efforts of the organizations in elevating their youth programs. Its organization’s flagship after-school program Diverse Young Leaders, is the program that aims to address the challenges students face in achieving academic success. The program partners with young people to harness the assets of their backgrounds. CMAA has also developed programs such as The Young Women Warriors and the Young Men Making Moves. These programs serve adolescent youth from the ages of 12-22 years old by connecting them to volunteer adult mentors and conducting twice-a-month group activities so they try new experiences, build their skills, receive extra social support, and get ready for college. Program participants from the YWW and YMMM have experienced fun and resourceful activities such as kayaking, 3D printing, building computers, self-care, learning about healthy relationships, how to apply for financial aid, cooking, and more.
These are just 3 out of the many compelling reasons why you should attend the Annual CMAA Gala. Apart from this, attend because you’d like to support and celebrate mutual aid, inclusivity and the vibrant and diverse AAPI community. Not only will the gala provide a unique opportunity to connect with fellow community members, but it will give you an opportunity to engage in cultural festivities and learn more about the heritage and contributions of various AAPI community members.
The Gala is a once-a-year chance to come together to celebrate achievements and build meaningful relationships so come and join us this Thursday, April 13, 2023, 6pm at the Galleria Marchetti (825 W Erie St. Chicago, IL 60642).
Awardee Photos from: CMAA Organization