CAPA History

logoIn 2000, the idea of creating a Pan-Asian American cultural organization in Michigan emerged among Asian Pacific Americans to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The seed money for the organization was raised from DTE.

The Council of Asian Pacific Americans was formed on February 17, 2001, and the first Splendor of the East was held at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in May 2001.

In 2003 and 2004, CAPA began two other signature events, Simply the Best and the Leadership Summit. CAPA established its advisory board, provided service through a clothing drive and bone marrow drive. CAPA also hosted the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration in Lansing and began an essay contest for Asian Pacific American high school students.

In 2005, CAPA united the community to raise more than $50,000 for Tsunami victims and began the Starfish program to assist Asian Pacific American families in distress. The first family that CAPA assisted was a Vietnamese family from New Orleans who lost many possessions in Hurricane Katrina. CAPA contributed donations to many other programs and was featured on local cable TV.

In 2006, CAPA collaborated with the Michigan Asian Pacific American Bar Association and the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce on an educational forum on Asian Pacific Americans and affirmative action. CAPA also held its first Asian food-tasting event, volunteered at events such as an APA Health Fair, and sponsored important programs, such as First Step.

In 2007, CAPA began regular community leadership roundtable meetings to facilitate communication between leaders of the various Asian American ethnic groups. CAPA increased its membership to over two hundred and twenty and its e-newsletter readership to nearly one thousand and two hundred! Splendor of the East, Simply the Best, and APA Leadership Summit all were very successful.

In 2008, CAPA initiated the first Asian Pacific American Statewide Leadership Summit in Lansing, MI. This year we were able to expand this event and collaborate with more than 13 different local Asian Pacific American organizations. It was a very successful event that truly brought the community leaders together to bring about a positive social change.

In 2009, CAPA saw the need to draw a direct and active involvement of the youth and potential APA leaders. Therefore, Adeeb Haque, one of the volunteers of CAPA created the CAPA Youth Committee. The youth committee members were recruited from high schools and colleges and have been assisting with the Annual Scholar Award, Splendor of the East, Educational Workshop and the Statewide Leadership Summit in the year 2009 and 2010.

In 2010, CAPA collaborated with The International Women’s Day Celebration as a partner organization to honor women for their achievements and contributions to society. CAPA also participated in the various Census Outreach programs for ethnic communities to help them see the significance of being counted. It also expanded its social relationships with CAPA members and friends by celebrating the Christmas holiday on a larger scale to include a holiday celebration with the majority of the CAPA family, advisory board, corporate sponsors, community leaders, organizations and friends from various ethnic communities It was held at the Philippine American Community Center of Mi. to accommodate more guests and to hold an entertainment program fit to celebrate the holiday season.

In 2011, CAPA mobilized the Asian community with various campaigns to raise funds for the Japan tsunami earthquake victims. It revived the CAPA e-News with regular monthly web posting and circulation to 2000 members and allotted space for other organizations to disseminate their news and information to the community. The SOE 2011 staged over 200 performers, drew a full house and a standing ovation. There was favorable membership growth derived from its annual soiree, the Taste of Asia. Most significantly, it held a very successful Leadership Summit attended by 250 Asian organization members that led to partnership with 35 organizations, who to this time continue to do cross-organizational collaboration with each other’s events, activities and projects.

In 2012, CAPA increased its Statewide Asian Pacific American leadership partnership to 45 groups. GM sponsored the huge event held at its Vehicle Engineering Center (VEC) and was attended by 275 organization leaders in the APA community, leaders in state and local governments, aspiring youth leaders and participants from health, education, cultural and business groups. CAPA’s Education Committee drew a large student involvement and participation from different schools in its educational workshop on Micro Lending.

In 2013 and 2014, CAPA increased the level of its partnership with the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC). In November 2014, MAPAAC was one of the sponsors for CAPA’s leadership summit. The summit drew a large involvement and participation both from successful the private and public leaders.

In 2015, CAPA started its quarterly Taste of Asia event introducing members to the culture and cuisine of an individual Asian country with the help of a partner organization. These events have expanded the educational and cultural component of CAPA. The SOE celebration showcased the wedding costumes and traditions of the Asian Pacific countries, and was a great success. GM sponsored the Leadership Summit and Linda Akutagawa from LA to conduct a workshop tailored to the Asian Pacific American Community on Effective Communication styles. This attracted the support of MAPAAC and sponsorship from small businesses. It was greatly appreciated by aspiring leaders and youth. Our Sponsorship brochure was changed to break down the funding levels to encourage more sponsorship.

In 2016, CAPA collaborated with NAAAP to host the first AsiaFest (a culture- cuisine) experience of Asia with partner organizations in Royal Oak. It attracted over 1,000 guests in the space of 4 hours. A new production team did a great job with the Splendor of the East on Sights and Sounds of Asia which had a full hall. The Leadership Summit continued to focus on skill building and Leadership with Sachi Koto presenting the workshop on speaking powerfully. It was sponsored by GM and MAPAAC. Besides leaders of the community it attracted a lot of young professionals. Two other Highlights of this year were (1) a grant awarded by the Michigan Humanities Council for a project on Our Voices, Our Stories documenting the communication and adjustment of first generation Asian immigrants and their children in Michigan (2) the youth committee introducing CAPA representatives in schools.

CAPA Milestone: 15 Years. Over the past 15 years CAPA has had the honor of having Michigan leaders like Governor Rick Snyder, Governor Jennifer Granholm, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood, Senator Sandra Levin, House Representative Stephanie Chang (a former CAPA board member), House Democrat Leader Sam Singh, Dr. Virender Moudgil and many leaders of the community attend CAPA events as keynote speakers and recognize the contribution of CAPA to Michigan in promoting diversity. Mumtaz Haque and Sook Wilkinson, our past presidents have been publicly recognized for their contributions to the community.