Northwest Asian Weekly
Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) serves as an interactive cultural crossroads between local and international communities.
Led by Patsy O’Connell, APCC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization was formed in November 1996 from the vision of a small group of citizens representing three generations of Americans from Asian and Pacific Islanders heritage. APCC represents 47 countries and cultures, offering programs and services honoring their distinct artistry, business protocols, history and social practices.
The APCC, founded in November of 1996, is the only Asian and Pacific Islander cultural center located in Pierce County, representing an impressive 47 countries.
Moreover, it’s brimming with activities, through partnerships with schools, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and other organizations. APCC offers a variety of educational, cultural and language programs throughout the year. It also provides rental space, acts as a resource center and throws on a popular Lunar New Year celebration with a different “host country” every year. Earlier this year, the Lunar New Year celebration was hosted by Pakistan and attracted 9,000 people. The upcoming year, it will host Indonesia. Board president and founder of the APCC in Tacoma, Patsy O’Connell was born in Shanghai.
In 1995, O’Connell brought her father to the U.S., where he passed away the following year. The event had a profound effect on the grieving O’Connell.
“If you have that kind of experience, you can just sit there and be sad about it. You kind of reevaluate your existence. That’s when I called six people, four different ethnicities, second and third generation,” she said.
“I was wondering if second and third generations feel the same way (as first generations) and we unanimously agreed that we need a place,” she said.
Thus was born the APCC. At first, it was O’Connell’s intention to represent Asian countries. But, as she talked to more people, the more need she realized there was. The center opened up to the Philippines, Tibet, Pakistan, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia — and more, and more and more, until it reached today’s current total of 47 countries.
“It’s not just a place, it’s an identity, it’s an aspiration we can attain in a big scale,” O’Connell said. (end)
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