Chinese Association of California (ACA)


Overseas Chinese are increasingly influencing the political arena. They do this in part through Chinese associations that manifest the institution and culture of the community.

Association leaders rely on their contacts with the embassy and with local elites. They thereby gain access to political guidelines from the Chinese government.

ACA’s Mission

ACA’s mission is to serve the needs of its members and the community through social work, educational and cultural programs. The Association also acts as liaison between the community and government agencies to ensure a harmonious relationship between people of all backgrounds.

Founded in 1883, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) was one of the oldest organizations in New York City’s Chinatown and acted as a quasi-governmental body. CCBA supported business ownership in Chinatown and assisted with naturalization service for new immigrants.

ACA’s goal is to provide leadership in expanding the capacity for high quality and sustainable Chinese language learning and teaching in the United States by promoting and supporting scholarly exchanges, and providing professional development opportunities. In addition, ACA supports the development and dissemination of instructional materials and pedagogies that foster effective Chinese language instruction. ACA also works to enhance public awareness of the importance and value of Chinese language and culture in the global community.

ACA’s Vision

ACA believes that the community’s needs are best met by providing year-round services and programs at its four service centers. These include social services, education, preventive health care and cultural activities. ACA also provides personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline workers at no cost through our PPE program.

During the 1880s, pressure was growing for a body to be established exclusively concerned with Anglo-Chinese affairs. This was due to increasing numbers of ‘Old China Hands’ returning from the East and who wanted to meet and discuss their experiences with others of similar interests.

Founded in 1965, ACA has come a long way since its beginnings. Today, it offers workshops, activities and social gatherings that bring families together to celebrate Chinese holidays and share their common heritage. It is open to all ages and professions that are interested in learning about Chinese culture, language and traditions. ACA’s clubs, for example, unite members who share an interest in dancing and other talents.

ACA’s Core Values

As a professional organization, ACA is committed to the principles of social justice. This commitment applies to all facets of the Association’s activities and services. ACA prohibits discrimination based on age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, language preference, marital/partnership status, socioeconomic status, or immigration status.

In addition, ACA strives to promote the welfare of all Chinese people through its various clubs, which offer members opportunities for fellowship and community enrichment. Among these are the ladies’ and kids’ dancing groups, where members share their talents and energy.

The cultural emphasis on unity and face means that Chinese people are usually careful to protect their reputation and honor, and to act deliberately and with consideration for others’ feelings. This also means that people tend to be conservative in their behavior and communication. They believe that heaven does not prosper for good rulers and neither suffer for bad ones, so everyone should work hard and cultivate themselves. They also believe that if they want to enjoy the benefits of civilization, they must contribute to its progress and development.

ACA’s Community Center

Throughout the year, ACA artists engage with the community by teaching, hosting workshops and creating public art. This outreach is complemented by lectures, readings, demonstrations and presentations by renowned authors, musicians, dancers and choreographers. Several of these events are free and occur in correlation with exhibitions and other special programs.

ACA also works to reach a broader community with its online programs. The mentoring artist residency program, a series of webinars and other online offerings all reach beyond the walls of our community center to a global audience via ACA’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

In addition, ACA partners with local organizations to bring its artist ambassadors to serve veterans experiencing PTSD, elders who are navigating the stages of dementia and disabled youth seeking creative expression. All ACA programs are ADA accessible with considerations for tactile and audio resources, facility lighting, pace of presentation delivery and more. This is in addition to the work done by ACA’s Community Arts and Wellness Initiative, launched with a grant from Discover.

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