Disclaimer: NAAPAC did not participate in the 2022 CNY Parade activities. The participants of the parade were all 501 C3 organizations and no political activities were involved. The article is uploaded for informational purposes only.
When the plague which swept through Naples, Italy ended in 1656, the city threw a 10-day festival to celebrate and memorialize the hardship they had endured – “a kind of societal exclamation mark at the end of a dark chapter”. After a two year lock down due to the pandemic, San Francisco, “infamous” for its Barbary Coast rowdiness, was in the mood to let her hair down to really “get down”. And what a celebration it was on Saturday, February 19, 2022 with an enthusiastic crowd and a parade featuring highly decorated floats.
The San Francisco Lunar New Year Parade is one of the top ten parades in the world according to the International Festivals & Events Association and one of the few remaining night illuminated parades in North America. It is also the biggest parade celebrating the lunar new year outside of Asia. For Asian Americans living in the greater SF Bay Area, it couldn’t have come any sooner as racial hatred and attacks on Asian Americans in San Francisco has increased 566% percent in 2021, surpassing previous record highs in 2020.
People were in the mood to party and partied they did on this balmy Saturday evening. Families were out, many without masks, enjoying the parade from sidewalks, bleachers and everywhere they could congregate along the 1.3 mile route. The pungent smell and noise of firecrackers were everywhere as were the sound of the marching bands, loud speakers, dancing tigers, meandering dragons, and children laughing, marching and kung-fu-ing all the way, having the time of their lives. Over a hundred floats participated, each one decorated with a special theme to welcome the year of the Water Tiger. The last Water Tiger year was 1962. People born under this sign are said to have great interpersonal relationships, and are very family oriented.
Amongst the many floats was the API Coalition float sponsored by CLUSA (Civic Leadership USA), Kenson Ventures and supported by organizations such as SFCAUSE and NAAUnited. What made this float unique was the participation of 50 elected public API officials matching alongside. Asian Americans are reputed to be high achievers, especially in academics and are perceived to be family but not community minded. Among all the ethnic groups Asians are least likely to vote or participate in politics. One very highly ranked California politician once said, and I paraphrase, “We don’t give a shxt about Asian Americans because they don’t vote”.
Well things have changed somewhat, well actually quite a bit. The recent successful recall of the three SF School Board members was the direct result of Asian and Chinese Americans at the ballot box under the urging of, among others, the Chinese American Democratic Club and SFCAUSE. The 50 marching elected officials were further evidence that Asians are getting more involved in shaping our community and our country. Say what you may, Asian Americans are the awakening “Hidden Dragons and Crouching Tigers”. Marching under the banner of the API Coalition, were API Officials including California Attorney General, Rob Bonta, his lovely wife Assemblymember Mia Bonta who is running for re-election for the State Assembly, to Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Candidate for State Senate, to dozens of bipartisan City Council, College and School Board members.
Awakening from the pandemic is the realization that Asian Americans must get involved in our communities, contribute to our society and not only just aspire to become doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers and professors. To make this country “great again” Asian Americans must realize that they have to roll up their sleeves, dig in, participate and contribute to our society. Those 50 elected officials who marche along the API Coalition Float are the finest the API community has to offer. They are just a glimpse of what is yet to come!