2011 New Year Gala
An innovative Hmong dance team and a new rock band’s first gig were just two of the highlights of the 5th Asian Media Access Lunar New Gala at Varsity Theater in Dinkytown on the last day of February.
The annual event served to thank around 175 supporters, board, staff and participants with a program and awards presentation. It also served as fundraiser and network session for the coming year. The ambitious AMA goals were visible with an architectural drawing display of what the Asian Media Access Multimedia Arts Complex will look like when completed. “We couldn’t do it without our dedicated capital campaign committee, staff and board,” said Ange Hwang, executive director, AMA. “But most importantly, our youth – they are the motivation behind all these actions, and they have demonstrated, every step of the way through our event, their talent, commitment to the community, and passion for the arts, and deserve all our support.” Guests watched the annual screening the Spike’s Awards for Best Asian Television Ads as they enjoyed a diverse buffet of pan Asian ethnic food. Pamela Xiong served as the master of ceremonies, introducing the program that included Minnesota Sunshine Dance team performed Southeast Asian, Bollywood and Chinese dances. The group won first place honors at both major Hmong New Year events.
The AMA Youth Band, a popular music ensemble of young men ages 16-18, just formed a few weeks prior to the gala and performed “Collide” by Howie Day. The members include lead singer Ker Lee, Bonnsy Vue, bass, Chong Vang, guitar, Jeffery Vang, lead guitar, and Bao Ung on drums. The band started when its members, with various amounts of musical experience, took an interest in the instruments at AMA. Then staffer Kang Vang helped get them formed and took an interest in getting them playing together. The members said the next step is to continue exploring the direction of the band and writing original material.
David Kang, AMA Project Director and event organizer, introduced a slide show on AMA’s “Past, Present, and Beyond” to showcase its programs and accomplishments. Kang emphasized that AMA is evolving but still has its same community-based mission of using media arts, media and Internet/digital technologies for youth, education, social betterment and to “connect the disconnected.” One board member, Loretta Minat, has a background in diversity education and said she began volunteering with AMA early on and became a board member two years ago. She said the organization has demonstrated impact There were three awards presented for corporate giving at the event. API organization leaders vote on the winners with the decisions independent of AMA.
The Minnesota Twins professional baseball organization received AMA’s Special Community Partner Award at the gala. The award acknowledges long-term commitment to building community partners in minority and immigrant neighborhoods. Twins staffers Alejandra Cabrera, Emerging Markets, and David Marley, Group Sales, were on hand to receive a plaque and plenty of applause for them and the screening of a new Twins advertisement produced by AMA including staffer Kang Vang who is also a feature filmmaker. The ad shows a refugee/immigrant Southeast Asian family enjoying baseball in their yard as an adopted part of their new American life. It is an ad designed to specifically reach Asian and Pacific Islander communities. David Kang said the approach is unique and demonstrates that the Twins are committed to building community ties that are designed to get people to attend their first baseball game.
According to Miguel Ramos, emerging markets manager for the Minnesota Twins, said the Twins are committed to a long term approach that includes cultural pre-game events, Diversity Day and Twins Fest, a kick-off celebration at the start of each season that includes diverse community representation.
“I know there are dads who have $20 in their pocket that they could use to buy tickets; but I want the Twins to be a community partner and leverage the strong brand identity we have in this area,” said Ramos.
The AMA Best Corporation award was presented to Target.
The AMA Best Foundation award was presented to the Otto Bremer Foundation.
As the afternoon drew to a close Kang made an emotional appeal to urge people to give generously to support Asian Media Access and to help raise funds for the Multimedia Arts Complex and AMA’s programs in media arts, media and social services.
The event concluded with the traditional Korean percussion group Shinparam. There was no shortage of applause for the colorful San Do performance, a blend of regional drum songs of Korea, and also for the group performer Dong Hee Kang, who had just became a father the day before.
Asian Media Access is located at 3028 Oregon Avenue South Minneapolis. Call 612-376-7715 or visit online at www.amamedia.com.