“Generations of Power” United States of Asian America Festival 2022 Performing Arts Showcase

The Asian-Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) proudly presents GENERATIONS OF POWER, a multi-disciplinary showcase featuring The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet (spoken word with live instrumentation), Autonomous Region (jazz fusion), First Voice (story theater), Asian American Dance Performances (contemporary dance), Leela Youth Dance Company (classical North Indian dance), and tashi tamate weiss (movement/ritual).

This FREE, ALL-AGES, OUTDOOR event is part of the 25th annual United States of Asian America Festival (USAAF): Generations of Power. We are proud to host this event at the historic Japantown Peace Plaza as a visual symbol of community resilience and resistance during this period of increased Anti-Asian sentiment.

We The Arts: JUNETEENTH Celebration in Healdsburg

We The Arts: Civic Engagement Through Art is an ArtsEd4All project taking place from June 12 – July 4, 2022, in celebration of Civic Season 2022.

JUNETEENTH Celebration in the Healdsburg Plaza

Juneteenth is the African American celebration of liberation 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Soon after the end of the Civil War, black communities throughout the nation celebrated independence every June 19th with gatherings, delicious food, and of course good music. Healdsburg Jazz is proud to present a diverse range of music, art, culture and education in honor of this holiday, free to the public, in the Healdsburg Plaza.

FREE TO THE PUBLIC

Sunday, JUNE 19, 2022, 11 am – 4 pm,

Healdsburg Plaza, Healdsburg, CA

Healdsburg Jazz Festival 2022

https://healdsburgjazz.org/sunday-june-19/

Juneteenth Celebration in the Healdsburg Plaza with Willie Jones III Quintet, MJ’s Brass Boppers, the Curtis Family C-notes, poets Enid Pickett and Kamau Daáood, KCSM’s Greg Bridges, educational areas, vendors and more.

Presented in partnership with Healdsburg Community Services Department

Make a flag in the arts and crafts area in the plaza.

The Juneteenth Flag, a symbolic representation of the end of slavery in the United States — was created in 1997 by Ben Haith, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF). In 2000, artist Lisa Jeanne Graf modified the flag to its present, modern-day design.

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th.

While flags are everywhere and a part of daily life; most people don’t pause to unlock the rich history and ideas they represent.  With North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) and the community of knowledge it builds, members say “open, sesame” to reveal the wealth of symbols and stories behind flags.

Flags first developed in China, with the advent of silk, and spread across Asia to the Middle East, where crusaders brought them to Europe.  Beginning as markers on the battlefield, their use expanded to identification at sea, denoting who owned, taxed, and protected vessels.  Eventually they became the ultimate icon representing nations, peoples, sub-national and civic entities, organizations, military units, companies, and individuals.  Flag design began with heraldry, then spread its independent wings.  Even before flags, “vexilloids” served as earlier symbols of group affiliation—tribes, armies, clans—and the Romans’ battle standard, the vexillum, gave its name to “vexillology”, the study of flags.

Good Flag, Bad Flag – This 16-page booklet, compiled from the expert input of over 20 different vexillologists world-wide, has become a classic resource for flag design.

African American artists, including Faith Ringgold, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hammons and Gordon Parks have used the flag form in their art.

American Gothic, Washington, D.C.” Credit: Photograph by Gordon Parks.

FREE On Demand Online Film Screening

A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks

A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks explores the power of images in advancing racial, economic, and social equality as seen through the lens of Gordon Parks, one of America’s most trailblazing artists, and the generation of young photographers, filmmakers, and activists he inspired.

A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks is a co-production of Kunhardt Films and HBO. Film for this screening provided by Kunhardt Film Foundation.

This film screening is presented by ArtsEd4All, in conjunction with this year’s #CivicSeason (from Juneteenth to July 4th). Please RSVP to receive a link and password enabling FREE unlimited access to the film via the virtual screening room from Monday, June 12, 2022 at 12:01 AM PST to Tuesday, July 4, 2022, 11:59 PM PST.

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Resilience

Juneteenth is a time to gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. Discover ways to celebrate this African American cultural tradition of music, food and freedom.

Learn more about the historical legacy of Juneteenth and explore more objects related to emancipation in the National Museum of African American History & Culture’s collections. https://nmaahc.si.edu/juneteenth

The Emancipation Proclamation

Transcript of the Proclamation, January 1, 1863. By the President of the United States of America. https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/emancipation-proclamation/transcript.html

‘What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?’: Descendants Read Frederick Douglass’ Speech | NPR

In the summer of 2020, the U.S. commemorated Independence Day amid nationwide protests for racial justice and systemic reforms in the wake of George Floyd’s death. That June, we asked five young descendants of Frederick Douglass to read and respond to excerpts of his famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”. It’s a powerful, historical text that reminds us of the ongoing work of liberation.

FEATURING (alphabetically) Douglass Washington Morris II, 20 (he/him) Isidore Dharma Douglass Skinner, 15 (they/their) Zoë Douglass Skinner, 12 (she/her) Alexa Anne Watson, 19 (she/her) Haley Rose Watson, 17 (she/her)

A text version of the full speech is available here.

In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union

Each year on Martin Luther King Day of Service, ArtsEd4All officially launches the Blake Mini Library Book Drive. Founded in December 2013 by then six-year old Blake Ansari in New York City, Blake Mini Library supports the reading, writing and science literacy of children ages birth to 21 living in homes for runaways, homeless shelters and foster care. Here on the West Coast in San Francisco, we’ve shared our love of books and reading with the children and families at the Hamilton Families shelter in the Tenderloin since 2016.

In 2022, we are pleased to kick off the 7th Annual Blake Mini Library Book Drive with a special online film screening of OBAMA: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union. This three-part documentary chronicling the personal and political journey of President Barack Obama is available to registered viewers via View on Demand. Please RSVP on Eventbrite to receive a link and password enabling FREE unlimited access to our virtual screening room from Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service through Presidents’ Day — Monday, January 17, 2022 at 12 noon PST to Tuesday, February 22, 2022, 12 noon PST.

The New 3Rs

It is especially exciting to present this film in partnership with The New 3Rs, an educational program that uses stories of social justice to dismantle racism. The New 3Rs educates and empowers through the art of social justice storytelling, building relationships, and fostering a sense of responsibility. By offering programs and resources, the organization educates and empowers children, parents, educators, and workplace leaders through a lens of racial justice and racial awareness.

“The New 3RS is a diverse group. We listen to each other’s stories. We talk about the great things Black people gave the world and racial topics that usually are not taught in school. The New 3Rs gives me hope and strength. And for that, I am grateful!”

— Donovan, age 13

Learn more about The New 3Rs at https://thenew3rs.org/

Students of The New 3Rs, including Blake Mini Library founder Blake Ansari, plan to participate by viewing the film. The students will select a racial inequity issue from The New 3Rs curriculum and envision how they or their nation can become a more perfect union in areas such as education, health, environment, and other topics of concern? The New 3Rs will create A More Perfect Union Anthology that will share student essays and art which they will send to Congressional Black Caucus and President Biden in late spring.

Download The New 3Rs 2019-2020 Student Anthology HERE.

Take Action: My School Votes!

When We All Vote is a leading national, nonpartisan initiative on a mission to change the culture around voting and to increase participation in each and every election by helping to close the race and age gap. Created by Michelle Obama, When We All Vote brings together individuals, institutions, brands, and organizations to register new voters across the country and advance civic education for the entire family and voters of every age to build an informed and engaged electorate for today and generations to come. https://whenweallvote.org/

My School Votes is an action-oriented civics program where students learn by doing, to build student leadership, advocate for local issues, create exceptional voter registration campaigns, and together, launch young people into cycles of life-long civic engagement.

Geared towards children in Kindergarten through 5th, Parent Read Alouds feature Michelle Obama, WWAV co-chairs, and parents from around the country reading civics themed children’s literature paired with tangible learning opportunities for parents to engage in with their children.

“Change only happens when ordinary people get involved” – @BarackObama.

Find resources and tools here: bit.ly/ObamaSeriesTakeAction


ArtsEd4All invites young artists to design a one-word poster reminding grown ups of the importance of voting. The poster criteria: The one word, VOTE, should be big, clear and visible. The rest, images & media, size is up to you. Parents can share photos of poster art (no faces, hands only please) and credit the artists with first name & last initial, age & city of residence.


Fill Yourself with Hope

President Obama and daughter Malia and Sasha watch Michelle Obama deliver her speech to the Democratic National Convention from the White House Treaty Room, September 4, 2012 (Courtesy Barack Obama Presidential Library)

Each year, former President Barack Obama releases a list of favorite books, music and films, and we enjoy doing the same! We hope that you will enjoy our recommended reading list compiled for this year’s 2022 Blake Mini Library book drive.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you.  If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” 

― Barack Obama

Angel Island Insight #5: Christine Huhn

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.

Christine Huhn. Native Oak Limbs near Sunrise Campsites, 2021. Silver Gelatin Print. 16″ x 20″

When Andi approached me about the Angel Island Insight Project, I thought this would just be a great opportunity to visit a California State Park I had never been to. On my first visit to the Island, I was immediately drawn to the natural dichotomy within the landscape. The native oak and invasive eucalyptus trees subtly reflect the dichotomy of the treatment of the European and Chinese immigrants that came through the Island. The vegetation and structural ruins encompassing the Island visually represent the varied history and time passed through the landscape. Angel Island has become a deep inspiration to me and my work. When I spoke with friends about the project, some had never been to the Island including many SF natives. I have always been most interested to visit lesser known landscapes, as I hope my work highlights and informs the public of these beautiful and historically rich places.

Christine Huhn, preservation photographer, www.christinehuhn.com


Christine Huhn by Micaela Go

CHRISTINE HUHN (b. 1984) is a visual artist and cultural heritage professional who grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania, less than five miles from the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. This connection to the landscape has deeply influenced her work, which focuses on preserving cultural landscapes through film photography and historic photographic processes. She received her bachelor of fine arts in photography from the State University of New York at New Paltz and her master of arts in historic preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design where she was awarded a SCAD Honors Scholarship and inducted into Sigma Pi Kappa: National Historic Preservation Honors Society.

In 2021, Christine exhibited her work Can We See Time at the Napa County Library in Napa, CA. Her work has been selected for several group exhibitions nationally, most notably at the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature, New Museum Los Gatos, and The Center for Fine Art Photography. Over the past ten years, Christine has volunteered at many non-profit organizations including; the National Park Service, the Landmarks Association of St. Louis, Baltimore Heritage, and the Historic Preservation Office (Washington, DC). She has been awarded artist residencies at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, Mojave National Preserve Artists Foundation, and Kala Art Institute. Christine currently lives in San Francisco, CA. 

Photo: Christine at Land’s End by MICAELA GO, http://www.micaelago.com/

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #4: Imogen Cunningham

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.


“The formula for doing a good job in photography is to think like a poet”

— Imogen Cunningham


IMOGEN CUNNINGHAM (April 12, 1883 – June 23, 1976) was an American photographer known for her botanical photography, nudes, and industrial landscapes. Cunningham was a member of the California-based Group f/64, known for its dedication to the sharp-focus rendition of simple subjects.

“Angel Island, 1952” by Imogen Cunningham depicts a young man at the San Francisco ferry landing.

Imogen Cunningham. Angel Island, 1952. © 2021 Imogen Cunningham Trust

When we wrote to the Cunningham Estate to request permission to share this photo, we enjoyed the exchange with her granddaughter Meg Partridge. Meg spoke of Imogen’s friendship with photographer Benjamen Chinn, a relation to Lenore Chinn.

Meg also fondly recalled her grandmother Imogen’s special relationship with artist Ruth Asawa.

As the Asawa family notes on their website, “Beginning in the 1950s and until she died in 1976, Imogen Cunningham was a close personal friend. Many of Imogen’s photographs document Ruth’s early work and family life.”

When artist LILLI LANIER shared a lithograph that she made in college of her great grandmother Haru Asawa, drawn from a photograph taken by Imogen in 1966, we were delighted. Haru Yasuda came through Angel Island when she immigrated to the United States to marry Umakichi Asawa.

It is a special pleasure to link generations of artists through this special project.

Lilli Lanier. Haru (after Haru Asawa, 1966, by Imogen Cunningham). Lithograph on paper. 2006.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #3: Lenore Chinn

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.

Photo: Lenore Chinn. Angel Island Immigration Station Dedication Ceremony for The Immigrant Heritage Wall. July 23, 2011. 
Photo: Lenore Chinn. Angel Island Immigration Station Dedication Ceremony for The Immigrant Heritage Wall. July 23, 2011. 

“Quite a few years ago I was with Flo Oy Wong and family during a 2000 opening of her art exhibit, made in usa: Angel Island Shhh at the Angel Island Immigration Station.

I couldn’t find any image files from that far back. But today I came across a set I had taken years later on the occasion of a dedication there on July 23, 2011. Again, I was there with Flo and family and quite a few notables from our Chinese American community, like Buck Gee, Board President of AIISF, musician Frances Wong and photographer Frank Jang. Historian Judy Yung, who died last month, was in attendance.”

— Lenore Chinn, January 17, 2021


Lenore Chinn
by Mia Nakano, ©Visibility Project. https://www.visibilityproject.org/

LENORE CHINN

I am a San Francisco based artist who focuses on the depiction of a wide spectrum of people in all their diversity and color.

Portraiture is at the core of my visual art practice whether it is painting or photography – both are employed in my creative process.

A moment in time spontaneously captured by my digital bridge camera, transmitted to acrylic on canvas, conveyed in modern archival print or Shared on Facebook, these images document everyday life.

As a body of work they are visual narratives that constitute an art history largely hidden from the public’s perception of society and our particular collective experience.

My focus as a photographer is capturing images and documenting cultural landscapes from a painter’s point of view.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #1 : AIISF & Del Sol Quartet

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.


“While there are inscriptions by immigrants from many different nations that can still be found on the walls of the detention barracks, it’s the 200+ poems left behind by Chinese detainees that helped to save the site’s buildings from being torn down and that secured the site’s status as both a California Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. These poems give us a glimpse into the emotions and experiences of immigrants who were held in detention then.”

Edward Tepporn, Executive Director, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation


Photo: Edward Tepporn. Angel Island Chinese Monument. July 20, 2019.

ANGEL ISLAND IMMIGRATION STATION FOUNDATION (AIISF) raises awareness of the experience of Immigration into America through the Pacific. AIISF collects and preserves the rich stories and personal journeys of thousands of immigrants and shares them with visitors and everyone living in America through education initiatives and public programs. The Angel Island Immigration Station reminds us of the complicated history of immigration in America. It serves as a symbol of our willingness to learn from our past to ensure that our nation keeps its promise of liberty and freedom.

Photo: Russell Nauman. Return to Angel Island – Calvin Ong (Ong Doon). June 26, 2021.

In 1937, ten-year-old Calvin Ong (Ong Doon) was detained on Angel Island by immigration officials on his way into the country. Eighty-four years later—on June 26, 2021—Calvin returned to the U.S. Immigration Station with his family. He briefly spoke about his time as a detainee, and a hospital patient, on Angel Island. 

In this photo, Calvin was looking out the window of the former immigration hospital when he noticed the hillside below. He could remember sitting on the hill and watching the ferry arrive with new immigrants each day. Later, we went outside so Calvin could look out over the water with his children and grandchildren.

— Russell Nauman, Operations Manager, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation


THE DEL SOL QUARTET revels in the risk of constantly reimagining the string quartet, building community around art, artistic process, our environment and our culture. Supported by the nonprofit Del Sol Performing Arts Organization (DSPAO), the Del Sol Quartet shares living music with an ever-growing community of adventurous listeners.

Committed to advancing art’s place in society and providing access to a diverse range of audience, the Quartet focuses on commissioning and performing new works, forming unusual and provocative collaborations, and sharing its work globally through recording and education projects.

THE ANGEL ISLAND ORATORIO PROJECT fits squarely into Del Sol’s tradition of adventurous collaborations between artists and community organizations to create new work with a lasting place in the repertoire and to broaden audiences. These goals are integrally connected to shared experiences and socially-relevant themes. The oratorio provides a new way of examining immigration and the clash between governmental policies and national ideals — relevant both to our history and our current political climate. The work also reflects our individual values of what it means to be American, the stories of how we got here, and the history of our city and state.

Photo: Kathryn Bates, View on Island. 2021.
Photo: Edward Tepporn. Angel Island Immigration Station Barracks. July 20, 2019.
Photo: Kathryn Bates. View of Island. March 13, 2021.
Photo: Kathryn Bates. View from Island. March 13, 2021.
Photo: Edward Tepporn. Hope. Angel Island. June 16, 2019.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

USAAF 2021: Angel Island Insight

Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs examining the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and Del Sol Quartet.

These presentations expand public engagement with composer Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings. World premiere performance with Del Sol Quartet and Volti, directed by Robert Geary on October 22 2021, 8pm at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco, with performances on Angel Island on Saturday, October 23, 2021, pending safety restrictions.

“As an Asian American artist, this opportunity to showcase a history that has both a direct connection to my ethnicity as well as a global connection is incredibly empowering.”

– Charlton Lee, Del Sol’s founder & Artistic Director

Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s United States of Asian American Festival 2021 presents ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT with The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet

The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet

In a journey that flows from anger and sorrow, using gratitude as a way to find joy, this Zoom program weaves together their poetry with performances by the Del Sol Quartet, music by Asian-American composers Kui Dong, Theresa Wong, Jungyoon Wie, Huang Ruo, and a collaborative composition performed by The Last Hoisan Poets with the Del Sol Quartet. Artist Q&A moderated by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation’s executive director Edward Tepporn.

Online program held via Zoom on Saturday, May 22, 2021, 2pm.

Three descendants of Angel Island immigrants, The Last Hoisan Poets – Genny Lim, Flo Oy Wong and Nellie Wong – use poetry to speak their individual truths and creatively reclaim the Hoisan-wa language and culture, with performances by the Del Sol Quartet, music by Asian-American composers.

Recording of 5/22/21 APIIC USAAF presents: ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT with The Last Hoisan Poets and Del Sol Quartet

APICC USAAF 2021 Digital Program

Haw Meong Suey (Good Life’s Water)

This collaborative poem written by poets Nellie Wong, Flo Oy Wong, and Genny Lim, was performed with accompaniment by the Del Sol Quartet on Saturday May 22, 2021 for the United States of Asian America Festival 2021, presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. “Haw meong suey” is a Hoisan-wa phrase that translates as “good life’s water.” A person who has “haw meong suey” is a vessel of blessings.

For more information, please visit https://www.delsolquartet.com/angelislandinsight


This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org

The Peach Tree

On Tuesday morning, artist/poet/educator Flo Oy Wong shared her photo of these gorgeous peaches ripening on a tree in school garden near her home. Sweet Dawn, Flo’s neighborhood walking partner, wanted to bring her friends to enjoy the vibrant school garden, home of milkweed plants and more.

“From my morning exploration at the school garden behind my house. The insects – wasps, bees, ladybugs, Monarchs (big ones) – were plentiful.”

insects
pollinate now
wasps lady bug bees buzz
on sunflowers milkweed grapevines
near by

FLO OY WONG
July 28, 2021

Two days later on Thursday morning, Flo and her neighborhood walking partners, Wonderful Wendy and Sweet Dawn were so sad. They discovered that the peach tree had been cut down. Flo wrote a poem, Robust Peaches 2, about the giving volunteer tree — now a memory shared by friends.

Flo Oy Wong reads her poem, “Robust Peaches 2”
Robust Peaches 2
Robust peaches, 
kissed by the sun,  
grow by a low concrete 
wall at the neighborhood 
school.

Robust peaches.

The peach tree’s inviting 
palette, a deep reddish hue 
with gold undertones, glow 
under azure sky.
Abundance of fruit weighs
heavily on limbs limping 
towards ground, enchanting
walkers who pass by. 

Robust peaches.

One day, workers tear down
the peach tree, a volunteer one.
No one planted it.
It just grew.
Soon, when children return,
masked or double-masked,
to start the new school year,
the peach tree, pregnant with
bounty, will no longer be there.

Robust peaches.

FLO OY WONG
July 29, 2021

Unidentified Artist An Immortal on a Cloud with a Pair of Peaches, 20th century China, Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Leaf from an album; ink on paper; H. 9 11/16 in. (24.6 cm); W. 12 in. (30.5 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Fritzi and Murray Sanders, 1984 (1984.492.1) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/51866

THE PEACH (Prunus persica, Rosaceae) is a deciduous tree native to the region of Northwest China between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It bears edible juicy fruits with various characteristics, most called peaches and others, nectarines.

The peach tree is widely thought to have origins in China, but its evolutionary history is largely unknown. The oldest evidence for the peach has been Chinese archaeological records dating to 8000–7000 BP.

Various American Indian tribes are credited with migrating the peach tree across the United States, taking seeds along with them and planting as they roved the country. Today, California produces 65 percent of the total US crop of peaches.

Peaches are not only a popular fruit, but also are symbolic in many cultural traditions, such as in art, paintings, and folk tales such as Peaches of Immortality.

The Peach Blossom Spring is a fable written by Chinese poet Tao Yuanming (365-427) in 421 CE about “the chance discovery of an ethereal utopia where people lead an ideal existence in harmony with nature, unaware of the outside world for centuries.” 

This stunning video is generated by a model which simulates complex interactions within the tree, including growth, carbon partitioning among organs and responses to environmental, management and genetic factors. The model presented here is of a peach tree but is not calibrated to a specific tree.  Developed by Mitch Allen, P. Prusinkiewicz and T. DeJong in partnership with The Virtual Tree. From the UC DAVIS Fruit & Nut Research & Information Center.

WikiHow: How to Start a Peach Tree from a Pit / How to Plant a Peach Tree

Peach (Prunus persica)

The Heirloom Project with Roots and Shoots was created by ArtsEd4All to encourage the harvesting and sharing of free seeds with friends. The project shares stories and free resources about seed saving, planting and other small acts of kindness that can be taken to help pollinators, people and the environment.

Read Across America 2021

Happy Read Across America Day!

In normal times, today is the day that we would be delivering the Blake Mini Library book donations to be enjoyed by the young readers in celebration of Read Across America Day. But as you know, the times are anything but normal.

Thanks to Christina and the fantastic team at Hamilton Families, we were able to find a way to help fill a need. The shelter was in need of Spanish language books.

Vijay knows it’s cool to know another language.
from ¡Solo Pregunta! (Just Ask!) by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael López

We are happy to report that thanks to the generosity of community. We received the email this afternoon from First Book confirming that our shipment of 100 Spanish Language children’s books is on its way! We would like to offer our deepest thanks to the following individuals for their generous support of the 2021 Blake Mini Library Book Drive.

Young Wong
Tony Fong
Patrick Wu
Dennis Austria
Noel Santos
Sam Hom
Victor Yan
Alan Hom
Dennis Dong
Andy Kwong
Loangle Newsome
Karl Chan
Jill Haw
Karin Rylander
Frank Bravo
Olga Kiselev
Kim Altamero

Felicia Westphal
Frank Obi
Gurneet Kaur
Edgar Cardenas
Brentyn Carder
Chris Wong
Aida Austria
Tony Miranda
Jun Merced
Mao Elma
Noel Asiatico
Jerry Poblador
Stephen Macasero
Paul Campbell
Dori Garcia Campbell
Teresa Proano & Family Ruby Roque Quan

Theng Mangabat
Ryan & Michelle Wong
Cindy Castronovo
Jon Wong
Jelin Hoh
Airene Austria
Joey Jao
Emmanuel
Alan Merced
Aldrin Austria
Todd Fong
Debbie Fong
Jan Willemse
Jamie Willemse
Olivia Hicks
Charles & Nuria Higueras
Alex Higueras

“How do you use your voice?”
Rafael López’s delightful illustrations enliven Sonia Sotomayor’s ¡Solo Pregunta! (Just Ask!)

¿Cómo usas tu voz? (How do you use your voice?)

In celebration of Read Across America Day, we started working on a new project –  a way to safely celebrate reading together. Today, we are inviting friends to help to record a short reading from Sonia Sotomayor’s wonderfully story for young children, in both Spanish (¡Solo Pregunta!) and English (Just Ask!). 

If you would like to help to record either the Spanish or English Language text for one of the characters in the book, please reach out and let us know that you would like to help by recording a reading for this special Read Across America Day project.

Readers are using the voice memo app on their phones or downloading a free app such as Audacity to record their readings in a quiet spot. Once we receive all of the audio files, the individual readings will be used to create one community read aloud file which we will share with the shelter.

A big thank you to our community of read aloud volunteers:

Alec Hawley, Antigone Trimis, Audrey Pasillas, Charles Higueras, Charlton Lee, Joanie Juster, Kathryn Bates, Linda Higueras, Maggy Frias, Mara Grimes, Maribel Pasillas, Miriam Magaña, Norma Rodriguez, Nuria Higueras, Pat Zamora, Rosa Rodriguez Perry and Tara Cartegena.

If you are interested in joining this project, we are keeping track of the people who have volunteered to read HERE, where you can see which characters are spoken for so far.

If you know of anyone who would really enjoy reading for this project, please invite them to join us for Read Across America Day. We welcome and celebrate community participation!

“There are uses to adversity, and they don’t reveal themselves until tested. Whether it’s serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths.” – Sonia Sotomayor