"On July 12, 2004, 12,000 leaders filled the Los Angeles Convention Center to celebrate OneLA’s founding. The gathered body politic was the result of slow and patience work spanning more than five years—thousands of face-to-face conversations, hundreds of house meetings and training sessions and months of deliberative planning. We came together around one collective, ambitious vision to fashion a center to the civic life in the “reluctant metropolis” of Los Angeles.
Yet that day was even more poignant for me because six years before, in the very same hall, I stood as one of 10,000 nameless faces being sworn in as an American citizen. I did not know anyone standing with me that day. I do not remember the precise words of the oath I recited. We were anonymous, and we stood alone next to each other.
But on that July afternoon in 2004, as I called the convention to order, the sound of the gavel striking the podium announced not only a new political reality and a new body politic for Los Angeles, but it hammered out for me the deeper meaning of democratic citizenship. I was a resident alien for 8 years before I received my U.S. passport; I was a leader with the IAF for 4 years before I learned the full meaning of being a citizen."
- Samuel Chu, OneLA Board Chair
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