APCC Celebrates 25th Anniversary

It was 1996 and Patsy Suh O’Connell was searching for a way to honor her recently deceased father. She decided to create a nonprofit that honored his Korean heritage. She brought together a small group of citizens representing three generations of Americans from Asian and Pacific Islander heritage and through their vision, Asia Pacific Cultural Center was formed.

APCC, located on South Tacoma Way in Tacoma, represents 47 countries and cultures and offers programs and services honoring their distinct artistry, business protocols, history, and social practices. The organization also offers a variety of educational, cultural, and language programs throughout the year that are divided into three categories.

Cultural Program Events and Activities, including an annual Asia Pacific New Year Celebration, are held at the Tacoma Dome. An authentic Polynesian luau, a Korean Chuseok festival and Samoa Cultural Week are some of the many activities that make up the first category. The second category is APCC Youth Programs and Activities which ranges from summer learning programs to the Promised Leaders of Tomorrow program that assists local Asian and Polynesian students in reaching their goal of graduating. Food support programs, vaccination clinics and a wide variety of community support programs make up the final category of Outreach Activities and Projects.

To commemorate 25 years, APCC is hosting a 25th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, November 6 from 6-9 p.m. at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. Attendees will enjoy delicious food, music, and a special presentation from students of Kunjang University in South Korea as well as learn about APCC’s new building project. Tickets for the Anniversary Celebration can be purchased by contacting APCC at 253.383.3900.

Asia Pacific Cultural Center is a not-for-profit formed in 1996 with the mission to bridge communities and generations through art, culture, education, and business. It serves as an interactive cultural crossroads between local and international communities.

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Asia Pacific Cultural Center Steps Up to Help Community

A quick visit to Asia Pacific Cultural Center’s Facebook page and you see it instantly. This organization does so much for the South Sound community, but especially during the current pandemic.

From hosting free COVID-19 testing in their parking lot every other Wednesday for months, to providing free food giveaways from the Tacoma Farmers Market weekly in the summer, APCC dug deep and helped often. Whether it was giving away thousands of masks and sanitation tools or school supplies to kids as virtual school started up, APCC helped everyone in the community.

According to APCC Executive Director, Lua Pritchard, “Helping our community is part of our core values. It is what Asian Pacific Islanders do every day, but it was especially important during the recent crisis.”

Throughout the months of the crisis, Pritchard and her team worked with several organizations to touch as many people as possible. A great example was the COVID-19 Assistance for Families program which partnered APCC with the Pierce County Connected Fund to give away $75 grocery store gift cards in late December when struggling families needed the help the most. Just days before, APCC hosted a toy giveaway with local Kiwanis chapters and free lunch from Northwest SHARE.

APCC also worked with the Pierce County Management Team and Tacoma Pierce County Health Department for free flu shots as well as the COVID-19 Testing. They worked with Tacoma Project Access to ensure people had health care coverage options. APCC promoted the Census, how to apply for government-funded small business loans in various languages, and educated the community about the Family and Medical Leave laws to ensure everyone knew their rights. And most importantly, APCC’s Promised Leaders of Tomorrow team continued their work with the youth of the Tacoma and Bethel School Districts through virtual learning programs providing support wherever it was needed.

Asia Pacific Cultural Center