Category Archives: Diversity

Year of the Pig at Oakland Museum and in SF!

Lunar New Year Sunday, February 10, 12–4 pm

OMCA will ring in the Year of the Pig with our 18th Annual Lunar New Year Celebration. Join us for a daylong festival celebrating the diverse Asian cultures represented in California with live music and dance performances, hands-on activities, and much more.

Easy to get to on BART, only one block away from 10th Street–Lake Merritt BART.

Lunar New Year – February 5 – marks the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar and is the biggest annual event celebrated by many Asian cultures including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean. 

Most of the top traditions of Chinese New Year observed during the 15-day holiday serve one purpose: to usher in a year of good fortune and prosperity.

The ancient Chinese lunar calendar, on which Chinese New Year is based, functioned as a religious, dynastic and social guide. Oracle bones inscribed with astronomical records indicate that the calendar existed as early as 14th century B.C., when the Shang Dynasty was ruling.

IN SAN FRANCISCO:  The 2019 Chinese New Year Parade is on Saturday, February 23. It starts at 5:15 pm at the corner of 2nd and Market Streets in San Francisco, and is one of the largest in the world. There will be lots of fun events for the lunar new year in both February and March. There are hundreds of lively parade entries! The parade includes several floats, the largest and most popular of which is the 28-foot-long Golden Dragon. It takes a team of more than 100 people to operate and move it through the streets of San Francisco. It then weaves its way through Chinatown and ends at Jackson and Kearny Streets. The parade usually ends around 8pm.

Get there early, take BART to the Montgomery station.

Oakland Museum of California.1000 Oak Street @ 10th Street–Lake Merritt BART

Lunar New Year – The Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival, also called Yuan Xiao Festival. It honors deceased ancestors on the 15th day of the first month (Yuan) of the lunar calendar. The Lantern Festival aims to promote reconciliation, peace, and forgiveness. The holiday marks the first full moon of the new lunar year and the end of the Chinese New Year. During the festival, houses are festooned with colorful lanterns, often with riddles written on them; if the riddle is answered correctly, the solver earns a small gift.

The Lantern Festival may originate as far back as the Han dynasty (206 bce to 220 ce), when Buddhist monks would light lanterns on the 15th day of the lunar year in honor of the Buddha. The rite was later adopted by the general population and spread throughout China and other parts of Asia. A legend concerning the festival’s origin tells the tale of the Jade Emperor (You Di), who became angered at a town for killing his goose. He planned to destroy the town with fire, but he was thwarted by a fairy who advised the people to light lanterns across the town on the appointed day of destruction. The emperor, fooled by all the light, assumed the town was already engulfed in flames. The town was spared, and in gratitude the people continued to commemorate the event annually by carrying colorful lanterns throughout the town.

Festival celebrations also include lion and dragon dances, parades, and fireworks.

Each year for Lunar New Year, in SF the Chinatown area comes to life with Cherry blossoms, and preparations for the upcoming Lunar New Year parade.THIS YEAR: Chinese New Year is on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. It is so much fun to see this parade and very loud too.  I have been able to walk in the parade with my company 3 times, that is thrilling – we were surrounded by thousands of clapping spectators,  stilt walkers, Lions, dragons, high schools, martial artists and local civic groups. — the editor

 

Hakone Matsuri Festival – Sunday May 21

Hakone Gardens festival URL   | Visitor Information

Address: 21000 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070
Phone: 408.741.4994

Hakone Matsuri Festival – May 21st, 2017

The Hakone Estate and Gardens are a cultural treasure, and located in Saratoga, CA.
Japanese cultural presentations include:  
  • Japanese music
  • Martial Arts
  • Japanese food
  • luxury Japanese wedding kimonos (uchikake gowns)
  • kids’ corner – which includes: Origami, Shuji (calligraphy) and Soroban (abacus)
  • Japanese tea ceremony
What’s new this year?  These beautiful luxury Japanese wedding kimonos (uchikake gowns) are available for purchase at a discounted price.  Price starts at $1,500 and up. (The estimate market value is $2,000 and up.)
 
Some confirmed performance: Tsugaru Shamisen, Aikido, Japanese Calligraphy, Shorinji Kenpo.
Japanese cultural activities for kids: Origami, Shuji(calligraphy), Soroban(abacus)
 
  • Date: Sunday May 21st, 2017
  • Time: 11am – 4pm
    Advance Admission ticket: only $5. Children aged 4 years old and younger, and Hakone members are free. Hakone members still need to get tickets. Tickets are $10 at the event.
  • Shuttle: 10am – 5pm (The first shuttle departs West Valley College at 10am. The last shuttle departs Hakone at 5pm.)
     
    The gardens are beautiful and the various events, food and demonstrations are not to be missed!
    Check the Hakone Facebook page for updates.

NOTE: You may not park or walk into the gardens on this festival day, you may take the shuttle from Parking Lot 5 at West Valley College.  Hakone will be closed for vehicle access and walk-in access for safety reasons.

  

Story of a Lost Boy from Sudan

A former ‘Lost Boy’ finds freedom and success; progress toward corporate social responsibility goals; more

Ateny Ajak, who was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who through a series of twists and turns ended up in Los Vegas, with a beautiful wife, 4 children and a job at Wells Fargo.

I know that when I bought my first home, I was thrilled to be part of a community…. It was in 1985 and the interest rate was over 15%, it was a struggle to get a loan approved.  I was working at a Federal financial regulator in SF and compliance was very strict. When I had the mortgage in my hand I was so happy. Giddy even.  – – the editor

Ajak’s joy at owning a home in the U.S. led him to a career that helps others experience the same thing, said Michelle Merced, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Southern Nevada, a Las Vegas nonprofit that works with the LIFT program.

Pink Man Prevails! A Pink Superhero in a Unitard

Pink Man (real name Michael Maxfield) is a local celebrity from the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be seen riding his unicycle around the cities of Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco. He gets his name from the shocking pink unitard and cape he wears while he performs impromptu unicycle tricks in public places—spinning, engaging in sudden stops, riding down the street at high speeds, and carrying people on his back.

Need a Smile?  One of the many characters that adds more charm to San Francisco streets. He has amazed people with his fasts moving stunts.

Maxfield was born and grew up in Leominster, Massachusetts, where he discovered the unicycle at age 13. He moved to San Francisco at age 19, and then to Oregon. While in Oregon, he started performing on his unicycle under the name Jester Max. When he moved back to Leominster years later, he found himself spending hours dancing on his unicycle, and pedalling around town, garnering a front page story in the Worcester Telegram. He moved back to Oregon, where he sought out a new unicycle persona; on a whim, he purchased a pink Lycra unitard costume from a dancewear catalog. The new outfit proved extremely popular, and an onlooker at the University of Oregon campus dubbed him “pink man.”[1][2]

Pink Man has performed in Oregon, Los Angeles, Houston, the San Francisco Bay Area, New Jersey, New York, the Pacific Northwest, Jacksonville, Vancouver, Paris, Tokyo, and Germany.[1][2][3] His Tokyo and Paris trips were sponsored by computer-game designer Will Wright, who calls Pink Man “the only real superhero I know.”[1]

Are You Globally Present? Richard Richards

To ensure your success in making a connection across cultural divides? Here are some guidelines from Richard Richards:

Reference: A Seminar is coming, details: Global Thinking, Training, Success

Be Present

Being present is a universal courtesy that transcends culture, language, and whether communicating in-person or virtually. Key points to consider:
– Some cultures have personal relationships that precede business relationships. Results in a “Type A Sales first” behavior vs. calmer, contemplative start to a working relationship.
– Multi-tasking and BUSYNESS, can be seen as rude and unacceptable. Unplug!
– Looking at “body language” and cultural politeness.

Reach Out

Reaching out and connecting is essential. Key points to consider:
-Check-in frequently , discover acceptance or disagreement.
-Use empathy in timing, holidays, local happenings, religious events. Establish a “Do not Call List: for areas that are experiencing disasters, holidays etc. Think about time zones!  Bend YOUR work hours.

Be Expressive

Not just what we say, but how we say it (vocally, facially, physically, and emotionally). Key points to consider:
• Pace of their speech, clarity, loudness and enunciation will profoundly change the level of understanding with a new audience. Involve written communication with verbal. Have you ever misunderstood or had trouble understanding a faster pace? ASK your audience if they can hear you! Accents, slang, idioms can cause trouble.  Yup and Bob’s your Uncle!
• You might try SMILING when speaking. You can hear it (even in a phone conversation). Body language helps communicate, so if others cannot see you, enhance your descriptions.
•Watch out for filler words, “ums” and “ahs.” These are distractions. Practice in front of your team. Join the Toastmasters International club for encouragement and help.
•Acronyms will cause misunderstandings, even if they are explained, because B sounds like D and on a conference call, new people may join later or be afraid to “raise their hand”. Yes, check-in!
•Make sure to have supporting visuals or text. Increased understanding AND retention will help those listening in their non-native language.

Be Aware

Self-knowing is being aware your values, strengths, and limitations, especially when it comes to what you know about the other culture. Key points to consider:
– Admit what you don’t know. Own it with grace and humility and teach others what you learn so it can be adopted company-wide.  Be forthcoming,  Make sure to “honor” questions. Thank those that speak up!

At the end of the day, we need no language to be able to laugh together, and much of what “divides” us is really our own biases and lack of curiosity about differences. And as the author Ciore Taylor said, “Differences simply act as a yarn of curiosity, unraveling until we get to the other side.”

Global Thinking, Training, Success

The ATD training network is holding their yearly conference, many subjects, many speakers.  This one, grabbed me, Uniting Global Teams: Communicating Virtually for Impact, Inclusion, and Engagement it’s on Tues, May 23. And although I cannot go, as trainers and knowledge workers, you may want to go. (BTW, we are ALL trainers and knowledge workers.)

As an employee you must understand global consequences of our actions on earth, and the meaning of what happens HERE, has an effect “over there”.  Employers want their teams to have global understanding, cultural acceptance, and curiosity / the drive to get along.

As technological advances and other disruptors drive companies to become flatter, more global, and more matrixed, employees at all levels need to get better at working together through virtual channels. But that’s easier said than done. This session will share best practices and frameworks you can incorporate into your training and onboarding programs to unite your global teams and cut down the time it takes to get them working together harmoniously and efficiently. You’ll also be able to see the practices in action, because one of the speakers will be using Skype to lead the session. Class Description


SpeakersATD

Nugent, Kate

Nugent, Kate

Director of Learning

The Ariel Group, Role: Speaker

Richards, Richard  Richards, Richard

Senior Consultant and Facilitator

The Ariel Group, Role: Speaker

Reference: Are You Globally Present? Richard Richards

 

Lion Dance… at work

Understanding other cultures is a big deal. When we are part of a diverse group, when work with our customers better. We understand more; hopefully we develop empathy and perspective. Practicing Diversity is a core value of ours. It is also a requirement for many employers all over the world. For me, the best way to learn is to ….DOI!

We will have a fellow team member teach us how to be a Lion and we may participate in a Lion Dance. This is happening on January 26 and February 10. On February 11, Wells Fargo will have a float and we will walk in the San Francisco Lunar New Year Parade. WF has been a long-time supporter of this great event. This will be my 2nd time… I love this energetic happy parade.

I am so excited about a lion dance, I looked it up. There is a school in SF, we could learn more!  Here is the link.  Maybe they could be a SPEAKER at one of our Asian Connection events. This is so interesting. This is the ABOUT US – take a look!  There is more than one kind:

Traditional Lion dance

A great showcase of Southern Lion Dancing is our backbone. With props including crabs, scorpions, water pots, benches, and staggering tall wooden beams, the dancing lion comes alive to overcome these obstacles.

Flying Lion dance

The most modern and advanced movements in this art can be seen in this act.  Clambering over obstacles, leaping through the air and stepping across danger, this lion dance act is a must see.

Northern Lion Dance

Also known as the “Buk See” or northern lion, this dog-like dancing lion performs life like movements including acrobatic steps and jumps.

Walking in the San Francisco Lunar New Years Parade was exciting, we saw many “Lions” and also dozens of high school and college Marching Bands. There were gymnasts performing, local non-profits walking (many that we volunteer with!), even stilt walkers in the parade, many Lions and dozens of floats. It was a very happy time, children and adult spectators were cheering and clapping. We were cheering and clapping too.