Save Chinatown Button

拯救中國城委員會
Save Our Chinatown Committee
Preserving Chinese American Heritage in Riverside, California
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The Save Our Chinatown Committee cordially invites you to attend:

The 9th Annual Chinese New Year Banquet

Saturday Feb 18, 2017
6-830pm,
Lotus Garden Restaurant, 111 E. Hospitality Lane, San Bernardino 92408

Ring in the Year of the Rooster with a traditional Chinese feast, a festive lion dance, and live auction.


$60 per person or $100 per couple
Reserve your tickets by February 11:

ONLINE by clicking on the Paypal buttons below: 

Single

Reserve Single

Couple

Reserve Couple

BY MAIL by sending a check, payable to SOCC, along with the names of everyone in your party and any dietary requests, to:

SOCC
PO Box 55436
Riverside, CA 92517

BY PHONE:
Margie Akin at (951) 787-0318

BY E-MAIL:
s
aveourchinatown@gmail.com


  重陽
You are invited to a fundraising event celebrating

Chong Yang: The day honoring seniors
 

王维
独在异乡为异客
每逢佳节倍思亲
遥知兄弟登高处
遍插茱萸少一人


A history and translation of this beautiful Tang Dynasty poem will be provided at the event....

An afternoon at Jane and Richard Block’s home:
424 Two Trees Road Riverside, CA 92507
Sunday, October 9, 2016  1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


Light refreshments provided. $50 per person

After the event, a walk in the adjoining Box Spring Mountain Park will enable guests to complete the traditional observance of this traditional Chinese holiday.

RSVP by October 5, 2016 to Margie Akin by phone or text (951) 675-8312. Please send checks to: Save Our Chinatown Committee, PO Box 55436, Riverside CA 92517.

All funds will support efforts to protect the Riverside Chinatown archaeological site and to establish a park to honor Riverside’s Chinese pioneers. The Save Our Chinatown Committee is a 501c3 organization


 

Ring in the Year of the Monkey at SOCC’s

8th Annual Chinese New Year Banquet!

Saturday Feb 6, 2016

See Here for more info!


Ram Medallion   Ring in the Year of the Ram
at the Save Our Chinatown Committee’s

7th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration


Saturday, February 21, 2015
5:30 — 9:00 p.m.
GRIER PAVILION
Riverside City Hall   [Free Parking on Saturday]
3900 Main Street
Riverside, CA 92501

Vision Award Honoree: DR. CHERSTIN M. LYON

Enjoy a buffet dinner, Chinese lion dance, live music, silent and live auctions, and more! $50 per person / $90 per couple. Purchase your tickets  below by February 8.
 


This Place Matters!  Students at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) recently partnered with Coyote Radio and Save Our Chinatown Committee (SOCC) of Riverside to research Chinatown’s history and record oral history interviews. Please come join CSUSB students, faculty, and SOCC committee members in a public event to hear more about this project and to see what you can do to help save this historical treasure.

Saturday, Sept 6, 2014  2:00 - 3:30 p.m.  Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties  3855 Market St., Riverside CA. Mooncakes and light refreshments. Free to the Public. [Event Flyer]  [Facebook Page ]


Founders Day Front Row Fireworks

SOCC will have an information booth at Founders Day Front Row Fireworks on July 4, 2014, 5-10pm. Evergreen Cemetery, 4414 14th St, Riverside, CA 92501. $5 General Admission $3 Kids ages 3-12  Kids under 2 FREE  

Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets to watch the fireworks after dark!

We will also be offering Riverside Chinatown History Walks. Meet tour guides at the corner of 14th and Pine Street. Tours begin promptly at 530pm, 630pm, 730pm. FREE and open to the public.  You do not have to purchase admission to Founders Day Front Row Fireworks to join the History Walks.


Chinese New Year Coin6th Annual Chinese New Year Banquet
The Save Our Chinatown Committee invites you to ring in the Year of the Horse at the 6th Annual Chinese New Year Banquet at the Lotus Garden Restaurant, San Bernardino, CA.

Saturday, February 1, 2014
5:30 p.m. Meet & Greet
6:00 p.m. Dinner, Entertainment & Auction

Enjoy a 10-course traditional Chinese feast, a festive Dragon Dance, and a live auction! We will honor Jane Block for her leadership and dedication to preserving Riverside's cultural heritage.

Tickets must be purchased in advance. $60 per person; $100 per couple. RSVP by January 27, 2014. To purchase tickets, click here for the reservation form to mail back with your check.

For more information, call Kevin Akin at (951) 787-0318 or send an e-mail to saveourchinatown@gmail.com


Headstone for Jim AH Olivewood Memorial Park in Riverside Marks 125 years with a walking tour.
Sunday, October 20, 2013, 11AM-3PM. The tour will include information about the Riverside Chinese pioneers.  SOCC will be there!

See event flyer


estate sale sign COMING SOON! CHINATOWN ESTATE SALE FUNDRAISER
Friday Jun 7 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
Saturday Jun 8 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sunday Jun 9 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
At the Baker Home, 3678 Jurupa Avenue, Riverside CA  See our Facebook page for a preview of some of the items available.  Our Press Release has descriptions of some the sale items.

June 7 - 10, 2013 FRI and SAT: 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. SUN: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. People can drop off donations at any of the estate sales by Odekirk's between now and then, or they can leave a message at (951) 231-4164 to arrange a drop-off.  To find out when and where Odekirk's is having an estate sale, people can visit www.odekirks.com or sign up to the e-mail list by sending a message to odekirks@att.net

Gom Benn Village Society Banquet
Socc attended the Gomm Benn Village Society Banquet in Los Angeles' Chinatown on March 3, 2013. See photos on Facebook.

Day of the Dead MastheadWe will have an altar at the Dia De Los Muertos in Riverside, CA to honor Wong Ho Leun, aka George Wong.  Join us Friday, November 2, 2012, 6:00-9:00 pm, downtown Riverside, on Mission Inn Avenue between Orange and Lemon Streets. 

FOUNDERS' DAY Front Row Fireworks
Guided Tours * Live Entertainment * In-N-Out Burgers * Best Seats in Town

Wednesday, July 4, 2012 5:00-10:00 p.m. Evergreen Cemetery 4414 14th St (14th & Pine Streets) Riverside, CA 92501  

$5 General Admission $1 Kids ages 3-12  Kids under 2 FREE

Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets to watch the fireworks after dark!

FREE George Wong history walk:

Guided tours highlighting the life of Riverside Chinatown's last resident and private owner, George Wong. Tours will depart at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. from the Save Our Chinatown Committee booth at Founder's Day.

**Limited edition George Wong t-shirts will be available for a donation.

estate sale signChinatown Estate Sale Fundraiser: November 4-6, 2011 – 8am-3pm everyday Donations + Volunteers needed!   See Flyer


 

Moon Festival Celebration
September 26, 2010 - SOCC celebrated the Autumn Moon Festival this year with an informal gathering of new friends: UCR students (some with origins from Taiwan) and RCC students here from China, the majority of whom hail from Jiangmen, Riverside’s Sister City.  The evening event included socializing, a little history about Riverside’s early Chinese pioneers, moon gazing, a raffle, and, of course, food!  After dinner snacks, cold beverages, tea, and several kinds of moon cakes were featured. 

Joining us from Los Angeles were Rebecca H. C. Lan, Director, Cultural Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, Xia Weihua, Consul, Overseas Chinese Affairs Section, Consulate General of the PRC in Los Angeles, and Wang Hongming, Vice Consul (Consular Protection), Consulate General of the PRC in Los Angeles.

The evening concluded with positive and exciting new friendships and the promise of future meetings and endeavors.

     
             
     

AIPA emblemSOCC at the 2010 National Asian Pacific Islander American Historic Preservation Forum
June 24-26, 2010 – Members of SOCC  participated in this landmark gathering of APIAs for historic preservation at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco’s historic Japantown.   Supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “[t]his forum will be the first time that APIAs convene to share their experiences and stories and to support one another in a common struggle not to lose their heritage and their American stories.” (from the Forum’s website

Thumbnail of Collage for API ForumThis forum was an opportunity for SOCC to share information about the struggles for the historic Riverside Chinatown archaeological site, meet and learn about others involved with Asian Pacific Islander American historic preservation, and trade experiences, strategies, and contacts.


SOCC Student Interns from UC Riverside
January – June, 2010 – SOCC supported 5 student interns from the Undergraduate Research in the Community program of UC Riverside.  These interns worked in 4 areas under the guidance of SOCC mentors and 2 UCR faculty for those receiving academic course credit.

This pilot program in the Office of Undergraduate education sponsored two CommuniTeas to showcase the efforts of the internship participants.  4 of the 5 SOCC interns presented at the Winter Quarter CommuniTea and prepared a poster session for the Spring Quarter CommuniTea.  Some of them also made a presentation at the 2010 UCR Undergraduate Research Conference in Spring.

Read the essay  "Today's Mystery, Tomorrow's History" by one of our interns in News and Notes [Chinese Historical Society of Southern California Newsletter] June 2010 (Once in the PDF, scroll down to find the essay).


Chinese Culture Awareness Day, Hyatt Elementary School (Riverside, CA)

The Chinese in Riverside Slide  

June 1, 2010 – An SOCC representative spoke about Chinese contributions to Riverside at both sessions of the school assembly.  Other participants included various representatives of Hua Xia Chinese School (Riverside, CA) who loaned Chinese costumes, performed Chinese dances, made the closing presentation, and provided student snacks.  Kudos go to the Principal and 4th Grade Teacher who organized this event for their school.  The event was so successful that the school plans to hold other similar assemblies in the next school year.


Heritage Consortium of Inland Southern California Potluck
April 18, 2010 – Several SOCC Board members participated in the potluck and enjoyed meeting representatives from the many organizations that attended this gathering at Stewart’s Boathouse in Fairmont Park. SOCC has had a regularly attending representative to this group, which is striving to be a coordinating body for the many cultural heritage organizations of the Inland Empire region.


Image from Ching Ming   Ching Ming Ceremony
April 3, 2010 - See info at lower right
 

Gom Benn Village Society Banquet
Socc at Gom Benn 2010March 7, 2010 - SOCC again attended the annual Gom Benn Village Society banquet in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, renewed ties with descendents of Riverside’s Chinese families, and brought them up to date on our efforts to save Riverside’s Chinatown.


Chinese New Year Banquet
February 13, 2010 – See info at upper right


Community Alert! Chinatown Site Watch!
December 2009 -

Photo 0748, September 2009   Heavy machinery was used at the site in December to remove weeds.  Because the protective overburden (thick layer of soil) was removed in the Valentine’s Day Massacre (2009) preceding the injunction, the site is especially physically fragile now. In spite of repeated requests by SOCC members to the RCOE, the site has not been covered over or otherwise protected.  With the injunction now removed, it lays prey to destruction from more than just the elements.

Given the behavior we witnessed in February 2009 on the part of the developer, the City, and the Riverside County Office of Education, we are concerned for this historic archaeological site.  Prior to the February 2009 assault on the site, the weeds were cleared in a manner similar to what we have recently seen.

Photo 0748 was taken in September for the “This Place Matters” contest; you see the growth in the background.  Photos 0947 and 0949 were taken December 19th.  You can see the vulnerable property.

Developer Doug Jacobs has used a holiday weekend for his activities on this site in the past.

If you have any time to drive by the site, we would appreciate your help in monitoring it.

 
Photo 0947, December 2009
Photo 0949, December 2009
If you spot activity on the site, please:
 
  black dot Call Kevin Akin at: Home (951) 787-0318 or cell (951) 675-2813 and report what is happening – call anytime, day or night.
  black dot If you can, document what is going on at the site by taking photos or video evidence of the site and the people active at the site.  Take notes if you can, including the types of equipment being used.
  black dot Call The Press-Enterprise at (951) 684-1200.
     

Chinese Calligraphy at Holidays Around the World  

More photos on Facebook.

 

 

Holidays Around the World December 12, 2009 - Presented by the Riverside Museum Associates' Multicultural Council, "Holidays Around the World" was part of Downtown Riverside's First Sunday Family Programming. SOCC contributed information on Chinese New Year traditions and hosted craft activities for children, including samples of Chinese Calligraphy.

End of Year Rummage Sale
November 21, 2009 - Was held in Riverside, CA.
See photos on Facebook.
 


Wuyi Roots
August 23, 2009 -The public screening of this unique documentary (part I of III) was organized by Inlandia Institute, with SOCC as one of its cosponsors. In
Wuyi, China, lies Jiangmen, one of Riverside’s Sister Cities. Wuyi is “The Number One Homeland of the Overseas Chinese” who came to California in 1849 to work in the goldfields, on the railroad, and then in Riverside’s citrus industry. This TV documentary tells their story and was produced in Jiangmen, China (2005) by the Guangdong Provincial Publishing House/Guangdong Petrel.
 
thnumbnail   thumbnail   thumbnail   thumbnail

In the Pearl River Delta of southern China, west of Macao & Hong Kong, is located the beautiful and unique city of Jiangmen. The districts of Xinhui, Taishan, Kaiping, and Heshan under its jurisdiction are customarily called “Wuyi”, meaning 5 Counties.

Many of the ancestors of today’s Chinese Americans, including those who settled in Riverside, came from the Wuyi region. Wuyi Roots is their story and the story of Wuyi as it has developed over the past 150 years.  The free public viewings were featured by a Press-Enterprise article in advance of the first screening. The Event Flyer can be found here.


  UCR Bluegrass Ensemble
 

UCR Bluegrass Ensemble

Music for Chinatown: an evening of acoustic world music
May 1, 2009 - SOCC held a fundraiser at Back to the Grind, a coffee house and juice bar in downtown Riverside. Our deepest thanks go out to the community members who turned out to support us!  We are also very grateful to Darren Conkerite, owner of Back to the Grind, who allowed us to use his performance space for the event. The featured music included bluegrass, old time, flamenco guitar, Malaysian keroncong, Okinawan folk music,  Javanese gamelan, Latin American folk music, Philippine rondalla, and more.  Many of the musicians were students at UCR.  We thank all the musicians for their spirited support of our effort!  The Chinese lion dance performed by members of the UCR Vietnamese Student Association was the perfect opening act
! See a Youtube video of one of the performances.


Socc at Gom Benn 2009Gom Benn Village Society Banquet
March 29, 2009 - members of the SOCC attended the annual Gom Benn Village Society banquet in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, met descendents of Riverside’s Chinese families, and brought them up to date on our efforts to save Riverside’s Chinatown.


Revoke the Vote Demonstration
May 12, 2009 - Demonstration at Riverside City Hall During a city council meeting.

Revoke the Vote Demonstration

Community members addressed City Council at this meeting, asking them what actions they had taken following the complaints presented at the February 24 City Council in the aftermath of the developer’s February 14-16 heavy equipment “excavation” on the historic Chinatown archaeological site.  Community participants in this demonstration called upon City Council to “Revoke the Vote”, their unanimous October 7, 2008 vote in face of community opposition to approve the Jacobs Medical Office Building project, thus, respecting Riverside’s heritage and culture.


SOCC at the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (CHSSC) SOCC at the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (CHSSC) March 4, 2009 – CHSSC monthly program

Three SOCC members made a presentation to the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (CHSSC) for their March 2009 program. CHSSC was an early supporter of the Riverside Chinatown site since the early 1980s.  The Riverside Chinatown was a significant topic of their newsletter, News 'n Notes, for March 2009.  The April 2009 newsletter appeared with an update on the Riverside Chinatown since the March presentation.
 


Save Riverside Chinatown Demonstration
February 24, 2009 - Demonstration at Riverside City Hall During a city council meeting.
 
Save Riverside Chinatown Demonstration
 
Scroll of Shame  

Scroll of Shame

This silent “George Face” protest took place 10 days after the first day of the developer’s heavy equipment grading and “excavation” on the site.  Community members of all ages took part in this protest.  Many spoke during the public comment session of the City Council meeting and a “Scroll of Shame” listing several of the violations from that weekend was presented.  See photos on Facebook.

Youtube Videos: City Council Meeting Public Comments 1 | 2 | 3


Picketing at the Chinatown Site February, 14, 2009 - See Photos on Facebook


Dragon House Restaurant, Riverside CA   Chinese New Year Banquet
January 25, 2009 Dragon House, Riverside CA.

 
Annual Events

Ching Ming/Qing Ming 2016

8th Annual Ching Ming Festival

Saturday, April 2, 2016, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Olivewood Memorial Park Cemetery - 3300 Central Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506
Free and open to the public.
more


Ching Ming/Qing Ming 2015

7th Annual Ching Ming Festival
Saturday, April 11, 2015, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Olivewood Memorial Park Cemetery - 3300 Central Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506
Free and open to the public.

This annual Chinese rite is also known as "Clear Brightness Festival" and is similar to the Japanese 
Obon and Mexican Dia de los Muertos. Although the normal practice is to honor ancestors in one's direct line, most of the Chinese pioneers buried in Riverside left no descendants due to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and later extensions. Since 2009, SOCC has invited the public to learn about this Chinese remembrance tradition in Riverside. Light refreshments will be served following the program. 

Come into the old part of the cemetery on the south side of Central Ave and look for us near the freeway overpass. Flowers are welcome. For more information: call Rosalind Sagara, 951-442-8070.


ching ming 2014 photoChing Ming/Qing Ming 2014

Community members honored Riverside Chinese pioneers at 6th annual Ching Ming Celebration:


Chinese New Year Banquet
Join us for our annual feast of Chinese Delicacies.


2013 Chinese New Year Banquet:
Goodbye, Dragon; Hello, Snake!

On behalf of the banquet guests, selected members take turns “feeding the lion” by offering the hong bao, or red envelopes of lucky money, to ensure good fortune in the New Year.The Fifth Annual Save Our Chinatown Committee (SOCC) Chinese New Year Banquet and Fundraiser took place on February 2, 2013 at the Lotus Garden Restaurant, San Bernardino, CA.  A nearly full house of banquet guests sent a fond farewell to the dynamic Dragon and welcomed the serendipitous Snake.  A wonderful lively yellow lion from Gio Nam Mua Lan (Southern Wind Lion Dance Troupe) enhanced the banquet festivities by warding off evil spirits and spreading good fortune.  The lion received the traditional lucky offerings of greens and citrus, both at the banquet and in the restaurant lobby.  Selected banquet guests further ensured the luck of the coming year by feeding the lion the traditional lucky money hong bao (red envelopes).  Some of the banquet activities can be seen in photos on our website as well as additional ones on the Save Riverside Chinatown Facebook page.

Representative Mark Takano of the 41st Congressional District addresses the banquet room.Special guests at this year’s banquet included: Peter Chin-Lung Chou, the newly-arrived Deputy Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of Los Angeles (TECOLA); Jerry Liu, Secretary of TECOLA; and Mark Takano, Representative of California’s 41st Congressional District.  SOCC thanks Wayne Lin of Crystal Pacific Window and Door System and Paul Odekirk of Odekirk’s Estate Sales & Appraisals for their sponsorships of the banquet’s program printing.

Master of Ceremonies was Eugene Moy, SOCC Board Member and officer of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California.  The program included the annual report by Chair of the SOCC Board Rosalind Sagara and remarks by Ray Johnson (the leader of SOCC’s successful legal team), Deputy Director-General Peter Chin-Lung Chow of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Los Angeles), Board Member Tony Truong recognizes the 5 Rivers Partnership (family of Voy and Fay Wong) with the 2013 SOCC Vision Award.  Accepting on behalf of the Wong family is William Wong, the President of the Gom Benn Village Society.Congressional Representative Mark Takano, SOCC Board Member Judy Lee, Consultant Pete Dangermond, and a special acknowledgement by new SOCC Board Member Tony Truong of the 2013 Vision Award to the 5 Rivers Partnership for their sustained and consistent active support and encouragement to preserve this historic Chinatown site.  Accepting the Vision Award on behalf of the 5 Rivers Partnership (the family of Voy and Fay Wong: Don Wong, Janlee Wong, Linda Huang, and Julie Duncan) was William Wong, President of the Gom Benn Village Society.  Michael Lee made a surprise special presentation on behalf of SOCC to SOCC Chair Rosalind Sagara in recognition of her tireless efforts and work on behalf of the Chinatown site and her recent Aspire Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.SOCC Chair Rosalind Sagara is presented with a recognition award by Vice Chair Michael Lee on behalf of the SOCC Board.

The auction was led by Kevin Akin, with the assistance of Scott Fedick and Paul Odekirk, and our cheerful, young auction aides Solymar Sola-Negron, Jon Le, and Alice Koga.  Lively bidding took place on coveted items.  We appreciate the support of those making auction purchases and the generosity of our donors: Odekirk Estate Sales, Margie Akin, the Riverside Asian American Community Association (RAACA), the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (CHSSC), Scott Fedick, and the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China.

Thanks to all for their support and camaraderie!  // JL

Remember, for more Banquet photos, don't forget to visit our Save Riverside Chinatown Facebook Page

banquet room


Photos from the Fourth Annual Chinese New Years Banquet (2012) are on Facebook


Photos from Feb 5, 2011: Lotus Garden Restaurant, San Bernardino

       
               
       
               
       
               
       
               
       
               

CNY Banquet 2011

rabbit iconFebruary 5, 2011 – Music, a ten course meal and the challenge of saving Riverside’s Historic Chinatown site brought out community partners from throughout Riverside and surrounding counties in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

SOCC held its Third Annual Chinese New Year Banquet at the Lotus Garden Restaurant in San Bernardino, welcoming the Year of the Rabbit.  Senryu Taiko, who performed at last year’s banquet, returned to provide a percussive rhythm to the start of SOCC’s largest fundraising event while musician Willie Wu performed during the program and lead those in attendance in a Mandarin language sing-a-long.  

The auction highlighted various donations by SOCC members, Chinatown supporters, respected authors and the international community.  The Los Angeles Consulate of the People’s Republic of China and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of Los Angeles provided numerous items that highlight Chinese culture and art.  Paintings, a statuette, framed Chinese embroideries and red lacquered art pieces were among the items sold in support of saving and preserving the home of Riverside’s Chinese pioneers. 

SOCC members shared current news surrounding Riverside’s Chinatown as well as preservation efforts around the country that may aid in saving the historic site.  Those who attended the banquet learned that SOCC and its supporters were not alone in preserving all American history and honoring the people who helped shape it. 


Photos from Feb 13, 2010: Lotus Garden Restaurant, San Bernardino

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CNY Banquet 2010

SOCC welcomed the Year of the Tiger with a successful second annual Chinese New Year Banquet and Fundraiser.  Held nearly a year after the “Valentine’s Day Massacre”, or assault on the Chinatown archaeological site, friends and supporters of Riverside’s Chinatown celebrated the New Year with a 10-course banquet at the Lotus Garden Restaurant (San Bernardino).

Festivities started with a big bang in lieu of firecrackers thanks to Senryu Taiko, the student taiko group from UC Riverside.  Their performance was held outside the front doors of the restaurant as other diners were welcomed to enjoy the musical numbers.  The restaurant certainly received its share of good luck to the start of the New Year.

Mistress of Ceremonies and SOCC Vice Chair Judy Lee introduced speakers SOCC Chair Deborah Wong (“SOCC Year in Review”), SOCC lawyer Ray Johnson, and Gene Moy, Board Member of both the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (CHSSC) and SOCC (“Part of the Bigger Picture? Recent Events in ‘Chinese America’”).

In addition to the good food, guests were enchanted by the beautiful voice of the talented and graceful Ying Shen, who performed twice during the event.  Back by popular demand, the live auction generated much interest and was made possible by the generous donations of organizations, individuals, and local artists.

Thanks go to all who contributed to yet another fortuitous celebration among friends, including SOCC Board Members, SOCC student interns, our documentarians for the event, and those at the restaurant.


Ching Ming /Qing Ming CeremonyChing Ming ("clear bright") is a venerable Chinese Tradition honoring those who have come before us. It is held at the Olivewood Memorial Park Cemetery in Riverside.


We had our fifth annual  Ching Ming  Ceremony on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at Olivewood Memorial Park in Riverside.  See photos on Facebook


Photos from the 2011 ceremony (April 10, 2011):

       
               
       
               
       
               

This year's Third Annual Ching Ming was held Sunday, April 10, 2011 at the Olivewood Cemetery, toward the later end of the "Ching Ming season".  Other Ching Ming observances were held throughout the state.  This year a wreath was delivered to Olivewood by representatives of the People's Republic of China Consulate in Los Angeles and another was sent by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles (TECOLA). 

Guests included current and former students, local members of the community, and two representatives from the Los Angeles Consulate Office of the People's Republic of China, Xia Weihua, Consul for the Overseas Chinese Affairs Section, and Zhu Rentao, Vice Consul.  Both participated in cleaning the gravesite of and paying respects to C. Y. Cheng, a Chinese pioneer who was a student from Shandong, China, and died in 1924. 

All attendees participated in the annual reading of the names of the deceased Chinese pioneers.  We later cleaned the gravesites of a specific area and offered our respects to the deceased with flowers, paper offerings (joss and spirit world money), incense, food, and drink at the sites where the headstones were still intact.  A smaller group traveled to another, more recent, section of the cemetery to honor the last immigrant from Gom Benn to Riverside, Voy Wong,  and his wife, Fay Hing Lee Wong.

New this year was the recognition of those with (now) unmarked graves.  We temporarily marked two gravesites missing their headstones, that of Ah Hing, a fruit packer who died in 1922, and that of Wong Toy, a laborer who died in 1927.  Respects were made to these two Chinese pioneers, as well.  Olivewood has many unmarked gravesites of Chinese pioneers from the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.

Some of the participants honored adjacent Japanese gravesites from the same time period.  One brought sage leaves to burn in honor of all the departed. 

After the public observances, a group of people remained, traveled to Evergreen Cemetery, and honored Wong Ho Leun (George Wong), the last resident and private owner of Chinatown who died in 1974.  From his gravesite, one can see where Chinatown once stood.


Photos from the 2010 ceremony (April 3, 2010):

Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2010   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2010   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2010   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2010  
               
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Ching Ming/Qing Ming 2010

The Save Our Chinatown Committee (SOCC) held its second annual Ching Ming ceremonies at Olivewood Cemetery, Saturday, April 3 to honor the departed.  This annual Chinese rite is similar to Obon and Dia de los Muertos.  Although the normal practice is to honor those ancestors in ones direct line, most of the Chinese pioneers buried in Olivewood left no descendants due to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and later extensions.  SOCC felt it was important to recognize their contributions and sacrifices by honoring their memory.

This year the Press Enterprise offered an advance article on the event.

An impetus for many to attend, one Riverside resident arrived with citrus in recognition of the Chinese contributions to the successful growth and development of the citrus industry, accompanied by his niece so she could experience the ceremonies.  Another included a regular visitor to Olivewood who had seen the article in the paper and wanted to participate in the day’s ceremonies.  Some were familiar with the history of the Chinese pioneers; others were new to the stories.

Members of the Riverside community were also joined by individuals from as far away as the Los Angeles region.  This year reporters from the Chinese Daily News, Chinese World Journal, and the Chinese branch of the Voice of America arrived to cover the event.

thumbnailDignitaries also joined the occasion this year.  Consul Wang Peng from the LA Consulate of the People’s Republic of China addressed the crowd in both Chinese and English, giving us an articulate and moving speech that encouraged us to remember history, stressed tolerance and understanding, and issued a call to work with all ethnic groups.   He presented a lovely white floral wreath with good wishes to the departed Chinese pioneers.  After the public ceremonies, the wreath was also brought to the grave sites of Voy and Fay Wong (Voy having been the last immigrant from Gom Benn to Riverside), and finally to rest at the Evergreen grave of George Wong (Wong Ho Leun), the last resident and owner of Riverside’s Chinatown.

The Gom Benn Village Society, representing descendants of the village from which most of Riverside’s Chinese pioneers originated, was represented by Vice President Jim Wong who traveled to Riverside for the occasion.  (The Society had just celebrated its 40th anniversary as an organization at its annual Spring Banquet.   Several SOCC representatives attended and were touched by the support and generosity of Society members for our efforts to preserve the historic Riverside Chinatown site.)

Attendees were given the opportunity to participate in the reading of names, then the more traditional rites of Ching Ming: the cleaning of the gravestones and gravesites, the floral offerings, the offering of food and drink, incense and bows, and the burning of various kinds of paper money, enabling it to be sent over to the spirit world.  As families normally close Ching Ming, participants in this communal ceremony then socialized with snacks and drink.  For many, it was a moving experience.


Photos from the 2009 ceremony (April 5, 2009):

Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009  
               
Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009  
               
Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009   Image from the Ching Ming Ceremony 2009  

On April 5, 2009, SOCC celebrated Ching Ming at George Wong’s grave in Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery in Riverside and at the graves of the Chinatown settlers in Olivewood Memorial Park.  Ching Ming is the Chinese festival when ancestors are honored and relatives’ graves are swept and tidied.  We hope to make this an annual event and will welcome community participation.

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  Save Our Chinatown Committee
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01/20/2017
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