CHICAGO, IL—The Asian American Coalition of Chicago (AACC) will recognize two outstanding honorary awardees at its sold-out 41st Annual Lunar New Year Celebration, on Saturday, February 10, 2024 at the Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. 

The Japanese American Community will host the Lunar New Year Celebration, themed Together for a Brighter Tomorrow.The black-tie optional gala is expected to attract nearly 1,000 people. Cocktail reception, exhibits, and silent auction will commence at 4:30 pm; opening ceremonies are at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner, entertainment, and awards ceremonies until approximately 9:00 pm.

US Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is also set to extend her season’s greetings to the guests, AACC, and the honorary awardees. Celebrity hosts will be Fox 32 Chicago reporter Joanie Lum and ABC-7 Eyewitness News reporter Eric Horng.


The Coalition will award its prestigious Ping Tom Memorial Pan Asian American Award—its highest award—to Michael Chin, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking, Byline Bank. The Pan Asian American Award is named after the late legendary Chicago civic leader Ping Tom, one of the founders of the AACC.

The Coalition will award the Sandra Otaka Memorial Grand Asian American Award to Illinois Supreme Court Justice Joy Cunningham in recognition of her longstanding efforts to mentor and promote Asian and minority women lawyers. The Grand Asian American Award is presented to a non-Asian Friend of the Asian American community, and is named after the late Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sandra Otaka.


The AACC Lunar New Year Celebration is traditionally the single largest organized annual event in Chicago's Asian American community. Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities together constitute the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. According to the 2020 Census, the Asian Pacific American population in Illinois numbers over 781,000, or 6.1% of the statewide population.

This popular event is sold out, and ticket sales are no longer available.

Every year a different Asian community takes turn playing host of the Lunar New Year gala. This year it is the Japanese American Community, which has previously held the gavel for the Asian American community’s most important event of the year thrice (1990, 1998, and 2014).  three times before (1990, 1998, and 2014) held the gavel for the Asian Pacific American community's most important event of the year.

Numerous dignitaries traditionally attend the festivities, including the Asian consular corps, elected and appointed governmental officials, political candidates, top business and corporate leaders, decision-makers, on-air talent at Chicago's major media press outlets, and everyone who considers himself or herself a mover and shaker in and around, or for, the Asian Pacific American national movement. Senator Tammy Duckworth will be in attendance to offer the welcoming remarks.


The Asian American Coalition of Chicago welcomes its generous sponsors, which include:

Platinum Sponsors
BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois
Byline Bank

Gold Sponsors
Asian McDonald’s Operator Association
Chicago Asian Network (media sponsor)
Illinois Construction & Environmental Consulting, Inc.

Silver Sponsors
Kikkoman USA
Masuda Funai

Bronze Sponsors
Chicago Community Trust
Nippon Express
Site Design Group

Community Sponsors
Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois
Consulate-General of Japan at Chicago
Chicago Nisei Post #1183, American Legion
Heiwa Terrace
Illinois Department of Central Management Services
Japanese American Citizens League – Chicago Chapter
Japanese American Service Committee
Japanese Culture Center
Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago
Punjabi Cultural Society
U.S.-Japan Council 

Individual Sponsor 
Paul Hae Park


The mission of the AACC is to unite all Asian Americans into a significant force for strengthening the Asian American Community in the United States; enriching Asian cultural values, and recognizing the importance of Asian American contributions to the American democracy and economy.


General inquiries should be directed to (e-mail preferred).

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Jan 30, 2024

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