Embracing, understanding, and working with different cultures brings many communities closer, and West Philadelphia community members hope to see future results of collaborative work with the Chinese American community.
Members of the 16th and 39th police districts were hosted last week (Jan. 28), along with about 500 other people, at the Chinese Lunar New Year Banquet and Inauguration Ceremony in South Philadelphia at the Grand Palace Restaurant, 600 Washington Ave. for an evening of celebration of culture.
The host groups were the Philadelphia Greater Prosperity Dance Alliance and the Greater Philadelphia Chinese Restaurant Association, among others.
As the festive night began, there were a variety of performances by Chinese dance groups and singing that honored their traditions. To mark the Year of the Dragon, festooned dragons were the moving entertainment.
Acknowledgments were given to a host of people in attendance for their community work. Those included: Lu Duan Jing, the outgoing president of the Greater Philadelphia Lianjiang Association; his successor, Yongwu Liu; Razin Karu, executive director of the state’s Commission on AAPI Affairs; Yutao Ziang, the consulate general in New York; Andy Liu, of the Philadelphia Northeastern China Association; and Steven Zhu, co-chairman and general secretary of the Pennsylvania United Chinese Coalition.
Representing Philadelphia police was Insp. Jarreau Thomas, and Capt. Paul Brown of the 16th Police District in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia.
Brown and police Community Relations officer Jesse Woodhouse were guests of Professor Ying Zhang Lin, president of the Dance Alliance that participated in this year’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Day of Service” event at 40th & Lancaster Ave. on Jan. 15. Also invited was 39th district police Insp. Jarreau Thomas.
“This is my first time to this location,” said Brown. “I was here eight years ago when I was (stationed) at the 22nd Police District. It’s a lovely celebration and it shows community solidarity and I thank them for inviting me so that we can see their culture in action.”
“I just like the joyous celebration that people are giving,” added Brown. “The community seems happy and that’s what I like about it and the comradery.”
Lin said he hoped the friendship and partnership symbolized by the event will extend far beyond the night. The occasion also marked Liu’s installation as new president of the Lianjiang Association. The executive president is Dao Feng Yang.
“We’ve been building relationships among different communities since 2005,” said Lin, who added since the creation of the Chinese Restaurant Association, “there are more Chinese organizations in Philadelphia involved.”
“Good relationships among communities make our society better,” added Lin. “Those good relationships start from communication, understanding, and working together, and eventually, having good relationships will benefit everyone in our society. And together, we will have a much brighter future.”
The Lianjiang Association has been involved in local community activities for the past two years, including partnerships with the 16th and 39th police districts.
“The officers and association members get to know each other,” said Lin. “We want them to keep this relationship strong so that we can continue to work in the community together. In the last two years, Liangjiang Association has participated in three events.”
Specifically, said Lin, “We donated $500 to buy students’ book bags. Second, we donated turkeys for Thanksgiving to lowincome families and then participated in the Celebration of (Dr.) Martin Luther King’s birthday.”
Thomas was also recognized for community partnership.
On behalf of city police, he thanked the hosts “for your hospitality and wish you all a happy new year. As we embark on this new year, let us embrace a spirit of renewal and hope. May this year bring you joy, prosperity, and good fortune. May the year be filled with opportunities for growth, success, and happiness.”
Brown introduced himself while on stage and essentially echoed previous remarks.