8Asians At DNC 2016: Day 2 – Philadelphia AAPI Community Luncheon

Master of Ceremonies – Cynthia Gouw


  • 0:00:00 – 0:01:20 – So Jun Lim, Korean American Association of the Washington Metro Area
  • 0:01:20 – 0:03:10 – Bob Nash, Bob J. Nash & Associates
  • 0:03:10 – 0:05:45 – Congresswoman & Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Judy Chu (D-California, 32nd Congressional District)
  • 0:05:45 – 0:09:20 – James Lee Witt, Head of Witt Global Partners and former FEMA director
  • 0:09:20 – 0:12:30 – Andy Toy, Philadelphia AAPI Community Leader
  • 0:12:30 – 0:13:40 – Mike Fong, Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees
  • 0:13:40 – 0:14:17 – Congressman Ted Lieu (D-California, 33rd Congressional District)
  • 0:14:17 – 0:16:05 – Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-New York, 6th Congressional District)
  • 0:16:05 – 0:18:25 – Raja Krishnamoorthi, Democratic candidate for 8th Congressional District of Illinois
  • 0:18:25 – 0:20:25 – William Tong, Connecticut House of Representatives from the 147th district
  • 0:20:25 – 0:22:40 – DNC AAPI Caucus Chair Bel Leong Hong
  • 0:22:40 – 0:25:15 – Mark Keam,  member of Virginia’s District in the House of Delegates, District 35
  • 0:25:15 – 0:26:45 – California State Treasurer John Chiang and candidate for Governor of California 2018
  • 0:26:45 – 0:28:20 – Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu
  • 0:28:20 – 0:30:05 – Mayor Garden Grove, California and Democratic Congressional candidate (California, District Bao Nguyen
  • 0:30:05 – 0:31:35 – Kevin Kamenetz, County Executive of Baltimore County, Maryland
  • 0:31:35 – 0:34:30 – Moment of Silence – Black Lives Matter
  • Peter Van Do, Director of the Pan-Asian American Community House at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Melody Lam, Co-Director and Founder, Philadelphia Asian Pacific American Youth Assembly (PAPAYA) an former Mid-Atlantic Coordinator, East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) and former Co-President Temple University Asian Students Association
  • 0:34:30– 0:35:20 – Mabel Chan, Philadelphia AAPI community leader, Joy Tsin Lau Chinese Restaurant
  • 0:35:20– 0:37:05 – Chairwoman California Board of Equalization & Candidate for California State Treasurer Fiona Ma
  • 0:37:05 – 0:39:25 – Theresa Mah,  Illinois Representative, 2nd District (first Asian American to serve in the Illinois State Legislature – starting in January 2017)
  • 0:39:25 – 0:41:00 – Sheriff of Philadelphia Jewell Williams
  • 0:41:00 – 0:42:20 – Josina Morita, Cook County Board, Illinois
  • 0:42:20 – 0:43:10 – Democratic National Committee
  • 0:43:10 – 0:45:08 – Filipino Americans for Hillary
  • 0:45:08 – 0:46:30 – Congressman Mike Honda (D-California, District 17)
  • 0:46:30 – 0:48:40 – Helen Gym, Philadelphia City Council Member
  • 0:48:40 – 0:49:30 – Ronald Joseph, Temple College Democrats
  • 0:49:30 – 0:50:18 – Final Words – Andy Toy, Philadelphia AAPI Community Leader

Like in 2012 in Charlotte, there was an AAPI community get together, in the form of the Philadelphia AAPI Community Luncheon“The Philadelphia AAPI Network welcomes DNC AAPI Caucus members, AAPI delegates and guests to a complimentary DNC Dim Sum lunch in honor of our Congressional APA Caucus (CAPAC) Members” Coincidentally, the hashtag for the event was #DemSum (get it?)


The luncheon was held in Philly’s Chinatown at Ocean City Restaurant (which was very close to the Pennsylvania Convention Center) on Tuesday, July 26th from 12:30-2:30/3:00PM. This fell in between any of the morning meetings at the convention center and before the delegates made their way to the Wells Fargo Center for the official evening proceedings (which was almost 7 miles away via bus shuttles or the subway).

The goal of the luncheon was to “highlight the Philadelphia region’s strong and diverse local AAPI community and continue to build a dialogue with our national representatives about our efforts and priority issues.” But essentially, the event was mostly a lot of prominent elected AAPI official and community leaders a platform to speak and also to network.

At the luncheon, I saw again – whom I had met four years ago at the same type of gathering, former Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu, who is now the Deputy Secretary of Labor.


Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to interview Lu again since he had a pretty tight schedule. I saw William Tong, Connecticut House of Representatives from the 147th district – the last time I saw Tong, it was at a fundraiser in San Francisco when he was running for Senator of Connecticut.


William Tong, Connecticut House of Representatives from the 147th district

Also, I had bumped into Eric Blyer, a former filmmaker I had met back around 2003 – 2004 when his film, Charlotte Sometimes debuted and had a screening in San Francisco. We’re “friends” on Facebook and had seen his posts here and there but didn’t exactly know what he was up to now. Eric now works for The Young Turks, which I had heard of, but didn’t know much about it exactly.



Eric Byler (the one holding the video camera with the headphones on)

I don’t think Eric remembered me or anything, but it was just kind of cool at least for me to see a familiar face from the past, especially an Asian American filmmaker I supported by viewing his film and buying a DVD of it.

Overall, the luncheon was very well attended – in fact, a bit too crowded for my taste. There was a second floor where there was more space and tables to sit, but all the food and all the speakers were on the first, so there wasn’t a huge incentive to go to the second floor. After all the speakers spoke, I did go to the second floor and wondered why they didn’t hold the event there!

There was also a handout for the attendees – “The Ultimate DNC Scavenger Hunt for AAPIs” which I’m sure no one had the time to do … but the other side of the handout had a nice “The Ultimate AAPI Food Guide to Philadelphia.” Too bad I didn’t have a chance to check out too many restaurants in Philly – but I did have an official Philly cheesesteak at Pat’s.

Additional photos of the event:
DNC 2016 - Day 2 - Philadelphia AAPI Community Luncheon

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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