APACC’s Gala Honors AAPI Community

The APACC sign was a popular stop for photos at Saturday’s gala.

As the supplier diversity administrator for Forvia, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, Lisa Loomisa is always on the lookout for minority businesses with which Forvia can partner.

The black-tie gala also encouraged cultural dress. Tawat Sittipong (left, with Kalaya Petek) chose traditional Thai garb.

She had a target-rich environment Saturday, when the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce hosted its 23rd annual gala at the MGM Grand in Detroit.

More than 500 people were in attendance for the annual gala, designed to help recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and support businesses and communities from that culture.

“We partner with minority-owned businesses, and this is a great chance to meet people we believe would make good partners,” Loomis said. “It’s a chance to talk to people we believe would be a good fit for us.”

That’s the whole idea of the APACC gala, bringing various people from the business community together to support the AAPI community.

Duc Abrahamson, the executive director of APACC, said that kind of support is crucial for what she said is the fastest-growing minority community in the state.

Attendees represented businesses large and small.

“It’s a great opportunity to support the AAPI community,” Abrahamson said. “Everybody who is here understands the importance of supporting this community.”

A special performance at the APACC gala featured Vietnamese musicians from Our Lady of Grace in Warren.

It’s one of the reasons Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

“Michigan is a beacon of opportunity where people from all over the world came to for economic opportunity and success,” Whitmer said. “In Michigan, we not only value and respect our differences, but we embrace them. During AAPI Heritage Month, we celebrate our state’s strong, vibrant Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.”

APACC’s gala featured a cultural performance set up by the Detroit Lion Dance Association. The performance featured musicians and dancers from Our Lady of Grace parish in Warren; an after-dinner performance from former APACC director Van Nguyen; and keynote speaker Priya Mann, an anchor and reporter from WDIV TV-4.

The evening also featured a silent auction, which enticed John Chau, representing Honigman, to bid on a round of golf.

John Chau of Honigman puts in a silent auction bid on a round of golf.

Chau called organizations like APACC and events like the gala “great platforms” not just for the Asian culture, but for all communities.

“They provide us with moments of reflection,” Chau said. “These kinds of events are good for bringing people together and allowing us all to be part of the community.”