2019 Unity Dinner Highlights

Friday, May 3, 2019

THIRTEENTH ANNUAL UNITY DINNER
“Forward Together: Our Heritage, Diversity, and Identity”
6:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Crowne Plaza Boston
15 Middlesex Canal Park, Woburn, MA

The Commonwealth of MA Asian American Commission (AAC) celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and our 13th anniversary as the only permanent state government organization advocating exclusively for and on behalf of the Massachusetts AAPI communities, at our annual Unity Dinner event, on Thursday May 3, 2019. The Unity Dinner highlighted the extraordinary work of AAPI individuals and organizations in the Commonwealth through three award categories: Leadership for Inclusion & Diversity, Lifetime Achievement, and Community Hero.

The AAC would like to thank everyone who’s attended the event and the support they’ve given to the AAC’s mission. As the sole fundraising event the AAC holds, the AAC is grateful to the following sponsors: Eastern BankSouth Cove Community Health CenterTai Tung RealtyTai Tung Pharmacy,  East Boston Savings bankEast West BankAsian American Civic Association (AACA), Asian Community Development Corporation, Southcove Community Health Center, Tufts Medical Center, Bunker Hill Community College, Casner & Edwards, LLP, Harvard Human Resources, Korean American Citizens League, Leader Bank, Mary K. Y. Lee, Meenakshi Bharath, UMass Lowell Asian American Studies.

Congratulations and to our Keynote Speaker: Dr. Vichet Chhuon, President of Bunker Hill Community College.  Thank you for welcoming remarks by Deborah B. Goldberg, Massachusetts State Treasury, and MA AAPI Legislative Caucus.

The AAC appreciates the participation at the Unity Dinner of numerous government officials and international diplomats: Deputy Consul General of People’s Republic of China Zhao Yumin and Lin Mu, Consul General of the Republic of Korea Yonghyon Kim, Director General – Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston Douglas Hsu, State Senator Dean A. Tran, Assistant Secretary of Business Development & International Trade Nam Pham, Executive Director of the Office of Refugees and Immigrants Mary Truong, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, State Representative Carlos Gonzales, Donald Wong, Tram Nguyen, Tackey Chan, Councilor Ed Flynn of the Boston City Council, Councilor Vesna Nuon of the Lowell City Council, Selectman Daniel Koh of Andover, and Mayor William Samaras of Lowell.

The AAC is grateful for the wonderful community of supporters, and we look forward to continuing and advancing our work, with more partnerships and collaborations, in forthcoming months, to advocate for the state’s AAPI communities and individuals.

Thank you to our press partners for covering the 2019 Unity Dinner.

Sampan – Unity Dinner gathers Asian American Community in New England

Please see below for more captures from this year’s Unity Dinner.

Thank you to our photographer, Bimal Nepal for capturing highlights from the night.



Community Hero Award: The Bhutanese Society


The Bhutanese Society of Western Massachusetts aims to provide necessary services to the community to help strengthen the resettlement program effectively and successfully.



Leadership for Inclusion & Diversity Award: Saffron Circle



Saffon Circle is a group of multi-generational Asians committed to creating positive social change in the greater Boston Asian community.



Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Jean Wu



Her teaching focuses on explaining structural inequities of race and class and the development of curriculum and pedagogy that best help learners to understand and practice community-based race and class justice work. In mentoring numerous generations of Asian Americans, she sees the continuing power of our own stories to move hearts and minds across generations and boundaries to build communities that center compassion and actively work for liberation from injustice.



Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Vichet Chhuon



Vichet Chhuon is an Associate Professor of Education and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is a leading scholar on immigrant education, racialization in schools, identity, and motivation.


Event Emcee: Commissioner, Nate Bae Kupel

Nate Bae Kupel, MSW is the Associate Director, New England for the Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP), a Tufts affiliated management and leadership certificate program for nonprofit and public sector professionals and executives.

Event Emcee: Commissioner, Meena Bharath

She worked for 15+ years in the Corporate world. She was last working as Vice President, Enterprise Risk Management group at a Fortune 500 Financial Services Company in Boston. Her work there involved leading large teams and complex projects across many groups to successful completion.