Golden Lotus Foundation - CSPM

Golden Lotus Foundation

From Cynthia Aki: If you are fortunate, in many Asian families, an heirloom tea set may be passed down to you. The tea set on display is a porcelain white tea pot with traditional tall, Yunomi decorative tea cups, and lacquer tray from the estate of Reverend George and Misake Aki to their son Galen, and daughter-in-law Cynthia Chung Aki. The Aki’s were Nisei, Japanese born in California, and at the turn of WWII entered into Tanforan Assembly Center then transferred to Jerome Arkansas Interment Camp under Executive Order 9066. Reverend George Aki, serving as clergy, would later receive the Congressional Gold medal awarded collectively to the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

– From the CSPM Curator of History

Tea has been an integral drink of Asian culture since 59 BC. However, tea flourished during the Tang Dynasty from China, to Korea, Japan, and India in the ninth century. Tea began as a medicinal drink, and became popular in Buddhist monasteries after the caffeine was discovered to keep monks awake during their meditation hours. Today, tea drinking has taken on many art forms from tea ceremonies, tea parties, social gatherings and is enjoyed by many in all social classes. There are over 20,000 varieties of teas, however, the main categories of tea are black, oolong, green, white, yellow, and fermented or pu’erh, and more recent herbal tea.

Little is known or documented on Asian populations residing in El Paso County, Colorado. The history of Asian immigration occurred in waves to Colorado Springs and El Paso County, and provided complex issues of varying degrees dealing with uncommon ethnic heritages within the Asian immigrants. The first Asian immigrants to settle in Colorado Springs were Chinese male laborers who found jobs in the mining industry after their contract expired upon the completion of the Transcontinental railroads in 1869. With the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Japanese immigration flourished, followed by Filipino migration during 1940 through 1945. By 1972, Colorado Springs welcomed Asians of the Vietnam conflict which included a mixture of Vietnamese, Hmong, Lao, Cambodians, Thai and Southeast Asian refugees.

The establishment of three military bases situated in Colorado Springs accounted for many Asian American service personnel, among these Korean national intermarriages, and soon Asian Indians attracted to the high tech and professional jobs began settling in surrounding communities. Today, 3.1% Asian Americans and Asian Nationals, and 0.4% Pacific Islanders reported on the 2010 US Census make El Paso County their home. The 2020 US Census predicts the Asian and Pacific Islander population in El Paso County will be 25,214 of the total 720,403 residents.

Golden Lotus Foundation, 501(c)(3) recognized nonprofit, established in 2011 in Colorado Springs, is proud to represent the Asian population’s for COS150. The mission of Golden Lotus Foundation is to provide intergenerational opportunities in the Pikes Peak region to experience Asian heritage and traditions, advocate for Asian populations, and ensure our future generations with the benefits of learning their heritage and cultural experiences. Visit us at www.GoldenLotusFoundation.org.

Generously Submitted by Cynthia Aki, Golden Lotus Foundation

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