Advocacy

Working to ensure social justice and equity for all.

Founded in 1973, OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit, membership-driven organization based in Washington, D.C. with over 100 chapters and affiliates around the country. Touching hundreds of thousand of AAPIs each year, OCA works with its organizational partners, members, chapters, and supporters to empower the next generation of leaders. 

OCA-Utah is a chapter of OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates.  Founded in 1998, our chapter has fought to protect our community from:
  • school bullying; 
  • commercial exploitation; 
  • racial, ethnic, gender and identity discrimination & harrassment; and,
  • political/economic disenfrancisement

We have worked for:
  • civic engagement;
  • charitable giving; 
  • cultural preservation;
  • community support;
  • Voter registration;
  • Voter education; and,
  • equity for the APA community.

Chinese Arch, Promontory Summit

Formerly known as Chinaman's Arch

Led by OCA - Utah Founder Karen Kwan, our chapter fought to rename this natural arch near the Golden Spike National Historic Site.  Known a Chinaman's Arch, it was so named due to the Chinese railroad worker's encampment nearby.  The Chinese, some 20,000 strong, helped to build the Transcontinental Railroad, linking east to west.  OCA - Utah petitioned federal and local government agencies to change the name to the non-pejorative, Chinese Arch.  Working collaboratively, the renaming was completed with new signage and updated maps in a year.

Our Policy Priorities

Immigration: We fight for comprehensive immigration reform that will improve the family visa system and create a clear pathway to citizenship.

Education: We advocate for a more inclusive and accessible education system for all members of our community.

Fair Treatment: We promote fair treatment and the elimination of discrimination, stereotyping, and hate crimes.

Broadband Access : We support efforts to expand opportunity by increasing broadband access to low-income, immigrant, and elder communities.
  1. Ensuring Our Ancestors' Sacrifices and Contributions are never forgotten.
    Ensuring Our Ancestors' Sacrifices and Contributions are never forgotten.
    Corky Lee's Iconic Photo
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OCA-Utah has joined with the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association (CRWDA) to commemorate the contributions of Chinese immigrants who came to the U.S. to help build the Transcontinental Railroad.  This remarkable achievement was possible through the labor of 20,000 Chinese men from the Guangdong (Canton) province of China along with Irish, Italian and Mormon workers.  The arduous, dangerous work was completed on May 10, 1869 when a golden spike was driven linking the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads at Promontory Summit, Utah.  Despite their sacrifices and hard work, the Chinese were excluded from the celebration and are not seen in the iconic photo taken at the time.  Corky Lee, famous APA photographer, has taken photos of Chinese visitors to the Golden Spike Re-Enactment Ceremony every year since 2002.  The photo above was taken in 2014 at the 145th Anniversary.

CRWDA is a national, membership based, charitable organization which seeks to preserve, promote and protect the contributions made by Chinese railroad workers to the United States.  Through our educational and philanthropic efforts, we support academic research, historic preservation and artistic projects that further the understanding and appreciation of the sacrifices, struggles, hardships and contributions made by generations of Chinese and Chinese Americans to the United States.  To learn about their contributions to the building of America, transportation projects abroad, and the contempt and hatred those efforts earned them, go to www.goldenspike150.org