This letter is in response to the series of articles on Asian immigrants in the San Gabriel Valley.
It is commendable that you decided to focus on the Asian community in an in-depth manner. By illuminating the family/cultural conflicts that immigrants face, the "child dumping" problem, and the background of immigrants, hopefully all residents of our community have gotten a better idea of the feelings behind the many faces they see.
However, we of the Asian Task Force of United Way Region II are also very concerned that important aspects of the Asian community have been omitted. While it is important to define the problems of Asians, it is just as important to look at the possible solutions being undertaken. Without such a focus, the impression is given that nothing is being done to ameliorate the situation. Yet there are examples of such work being done by Asians, Hispanics and whites.
Some examples are:
Work by agencies and community groups to help immigrants acculturate. The Salvation Army takes Asian seniors to restaurants to teach them how to order in English. The Alhambra and San Gabriel chambers of commerce hold orientation seminars for Asians so they may learn how to deal with American utilities. The Family Counseling Center of the West San Gabriel Valley has organized Asians and Hispanics to learn parenting and cross-cultural understanding by daily learning a word in each other's language.
Efforts by Asians to integrate into the community structure. In many cases, Asians are being welcomed onto the boards of agencies, school boards and community groups. In other cases, it is not the Asians who are unwilling to integrate, but longtime community members who are hesitant.
Work by groups such as the Coalition for Harmony in Monterey Park (CHAMP) and a recently formed ecumenical group in Rosemead to promote racial tolerance. They are examples of people of all races working together because they do not want to see racial tension in their communities.
The formation of groups such as the Asian Task Force for United Way, serving as a bridge between the Asian community and the larger community served by United Way. We are identifying needs, resolving social service problems and communicating them to United Way.
We hope that you will cover this side of the issue in the future. Without this kind of coverage, there could be the false impression that the racial bridge is impossible to cross. On the contrary, there is definitely slow but steady progress being made by those with a vision of creating a community of racial harmony and tolerance for all.
JUDY CHU, chairwoman
Asian Task Force
United Way-Region II
Editors' note: Stories on at least four of the programs mentioned in the letter appeared in the San Gabriel Valley section before the Asian series ran in April. Several others were touched on in the series.