CHINESE ASSOCIATION OF GREATER KALAMAZOO

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CAGK HISTORY

CAGK History

The Chinese Association of Greater Kalamazoo (CAGK) was formally chartered in February 1981 with a potluck dinner party held at WMU Wesley Foundation to celebrate Chinese New Year and to launch CAGK with the first annual business meeting. Prior to the official formation of CAGK, some local Chinese Americans (mostly professionals immigrated from Taiwan and Hong Kong, and employed by Upjohn Company, WMU, Kalamazoo College, and Borgess and Bronson hospitals) had been holding family gatherings in each other’s residences. The increasing number of participants in the gatherings made it difficult for a single family to host such a meeting and hence lead to the formation of the CAGK. The inaugural night on February 21, 1981 collected $519 membership fees from 66 members.

CAGK’s main activities in its early years consisted of the annual Chinese New Year celebration (in potluck dinner format and with impromptu entertainment performances), summer picnic (in local parks), fall welcome party (later evolved into moon festival party) and periodic Chinese film screenings. The venue also changed from Wesley Foundation to area public schools and KVCC, as the member rolls increased. The biggest event of the year (Chinese New Year celebration and annual business meeting) was also expanded from potluck dinner to catered buffet dinner, and from internal spontaneous performances to full-fledged organized programs open to the community. In addition to holding the three major events and showing Chinese movies at WMU, CAGK also started in late 1980s to hold weekly (Friday night) gatherings in Portage Northern Middle School for affiliated group activities or practices (such as Chinese School, Lion Dance, Folk Dance Troupe, Taichi, aerobics, ballroom dancing, etc.) and for members to engage in movie and tape exchanges, chats, and table tennis, badminton, and basketball scrimmages. To serve the need of the members CAGK also conducted workshops on topics such as estate planning, tax filing, educating second generation and parent/child relations, etc, and helped the fellow Chinese (not necessarily a CAGK member and not necessarily local such as China flood and San Francisco earthquake) in distress or hardship in various ways. CAGK also outreached to the community by inviting the public to our events, publicizing and coordinating the visit of several cultural performance groups from Taiwan and China, participating in community cultural events (such as Children One World Festival, Portage Senior Center and other organization activities, and holding a non-partisan town hall meeting for Congressman Fred Upton to respond to the community questions, etc.) Also noteworthy in the history of CAGK is its close relationship with another Chinese group—the Kalamazoo Chinese Christian Fellowship (KCCF, the precursor of KCCC). Chinese Christians have been a significant component of CAGK membership and many have served as CAGK board of directors. The two groups have worked together to serve the local Chinese community in the past many years. These traditions and partnerships established in CAGK early days are still held, and the activities and functions continue to be carried out by CAGK in current days.

An Important Milestone for the CAGK

In January, 1981, a group of early Kalamazoo residents recognized the needs for a Chinese Association in Kalamazoo. They drafted a constitution and by laws of the Chinese Association of Greater Kalamazoo and called an organizational meeting that was held in the WMU Wesley Foundation on February 21, 1981. These group of people included Frank Sun, Andrew Huang, Andrew Tang, Donald Tong, David Huang, Cheng Lin, and Fred Yen. Five of the seven organizers worked for the Upjohn Company at that time. As of January 2011, only Andrew Huang of the original seven organizers still lives in Kalamazoo. The rest have either retired in sunny California or moved to other cities. According to Frank Sun, about 200 people (adults, children and students) attended the pot-luck dinner meeting on February 21, 1981. The constitution and by laws of the CAGK were passed, Andrew Tang was elected as the first CAGK president and Betty Chang as Vice President, and the CAGK was born!! The first year of the CAGK directory shows that the organization had about 80 family and individual members. Over the last 30 years, the CAGK and its affiliated organizations have provided many essential services to our members and the local community. Information about the CAGK programs and activities can be found on the association’s official website (www.cagk.org). We should be proud of our organization and celebrate CAGK’s 30th anniversary on Saturday, February 5, 2011. We also want to take this opportunity to thank all of the seven organizers and many other early Kalamazoo residents for founding the association.

As many of you know, the Chinese community in Kalamazoo has grown significantly since then. The membership of CAGK has also expanded over the last 30 years. The following is a list of past and current presidents of the organization. Some of them have served as presidents twice. Those past presidents, their vice presidents and many other board members have served the CAGK and the Kalamazoo community well over the last 30 years. We thank them for their hard work, leadership and dedication to the association.

Past  Presidents of the CAGK

Andrew Tang (1981)

Donald Tong (1982)

Andrew Huang (1983)

Albert Chang (1984)

Ming-Shang Kuo (1985)

Frank Sun (1986)

Ching-Chiang Su (1987)

Andrew Tang (1988)

Margaret Huang (1989)

Roger Yu (1990)  

Grace Li (1991)

Roger Tang (1992)

Veronica Wiley (1993)

Robert Chao (1994)

Maw-Sheng Wu (1995)

Robert Shen (1996)

James Lin (1997)

Hong-Jun Xu (1998)

Li H. Li (1999)

Jinhe Li (2000)  

Zhigang Wong (2001)  

Min Zhong (2002)

Ming-Shang Kuo (2003)  

Grace Li (2004)  

Mike Tarn (2005)

Yuanglong Liu(2006)  

James Hueng (2007)  

James Jin (2008)

Wei-Chiao Huang (2009)  

Steven Hu (2010)

Christopher Lai (2011)

Phoebe Yu (2015)

Carrine Chow (2016)

Li Jian (2017)

Tina Tarn (2018)

Lili Jin (2019)

 

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