The Taiwanese American community is proud to present the Passport to Taiwan Festival which celebrates Taiwanese American Heritage Week designated by the Congress in 1999. New Yorkers who are not traveling out of town during the Memorial Day Weekend are encouraged to take the subway to Union Square North for a trip to Taiwan!
At the Passport to Taiwan event each year, participants can sample local delicacies from in Taiwan, observe dough figurine makers and calligraphy masters at work in the arts & crafts area, learn about various organizations and agencies, play children’s games, learn about traditional Taiwanese toys in the interactive area, fold cranes in the kids’ workshop area, and learn more about Taiwan and Taiwanese Americans in the exhibition area.
In 1992, President Bush signed Act HR5572, which named May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. In 1999, Congress designated the second week in May as Taiwanese American Heritage Week to recognize the contributions of Taiwanese Americans. President Clinton later issued a proclamation to congratulate the Taiwanese American community.
To answer the Congress for this generosity for the designation, Taiwanese American organizations throughout the US started a campaign to organize events to introduce Taiwan and Taiwanese Americans. New York answered this call with “Passport to Taiwan”, a festival that comprised of stage performances, delicacies, presentation of organizations/government agencies, arts & crafts, games & interactive area, children’s workshops and art installations from Taiwanese artists in NY. Since the initiation of “Passport to Taiwan” festival in 2002, it has become the most important event for TAA-NY as well as the Taiwanese American community in the New York Tri-State area. Tremendous resources have been gathered in order to make the event successful. The festival has since become the largest outdoor Taiwanese event in the entire United States. In New York, the event is viewed as the most organized and entertaining Asian festival and is considered as the largest Mandarin speaking festival in the city.
United States is the great land of immigrants. Some call it a melting pot; some view it as “salad bowl”, as a mix of ingredients but each still maintains its own characteristics. Lacks of understandings often results in hatred and misapprehension among different ethnic groups. Asian Americans are especially prone to the situation because of skin color or the way language is spoken. Taiwanese American and the Mandarin speaking community, as a subset of Asian American are weak in presenting the case to the public.
When Asian American Heritage Week was designated in 1979, discrimination against Asian American was in much more seriously situation then today. In 1992, when the week became the month, discrimination towards Asian American still exists in some fashion. Most of the time, such discrimination arises from misunderstandings of one’s culture and tradition; especially there are several nationalities/ethnic backgrounds when it comes to Americans with Asian origin.
Therefore, it is crucial to educate the public about different types of ethnicities and Passport to Taiwan is here to do just that for Taiwan and Taiwanese Americans and other ethnicities.
There are not many Asian related festivals in New York. Most of the festivals are for certain country and very rarely that anyone outside of the community knows about it. Passport to Taiwan, now in the 14th year has the experience and knowledge to create a big and presentable event. The location is ideal and exposure is guaranteed!
It is important for any ethnic marking personnel to know that there is no such race called “Asians” in the dictionary. With backgrounds from many countries, the markets need to be opened up one by one. Passport to Taiwan provides that bridge to the Mandarin speaking niche and Taiwanese American have proven to be the pioneer in doing so.