The Generation Gap in Asian Immigrant Families

Eligible participants: All Asian Americans ages 12 (grade 6) and up

Sometimes by choice, sometimes by forces beyond their control, Asians have left their homelands to immigrate to the United States since the mid-19th century.  Behind them lies a trail of forgotten hopes and dreams, memories of another life lived by faded incarnations of themselves, and a legacy of tradition without roots in  new world.  They find ways to adapt, new ways of eating, sleeping, working, and speaking, although forever trapped as strangers in a strange land.  Their children, however, born in this new world, have no need to adapt, only to live.  The "new" is not so new, only what is.  But the trail of what was before is more powerful than anyone ever imagines.  Though immigrant parents can share the present and future with their American-born children, the past more often serves as a gap and not a link--separating the generations not only by time but by culture.  All that had been left behind still fingers, whether in its suppression, or the adamant clinging to it, this gap prevents intimate and profound understanding between mother and daughter, father and son, grandparent and grandchild.
The aim of this essay contest is to address the generation gap and articulate myriad ways Asian-Americans have lived and experienced their brief history in a new land, the globalization phenomenon of the late-20th   century, and the hopes and ambitions for the new millennium.  Therefore, please answer one of the following questions:

Whether you were born here, immigrated as a child or an adult, you are eligible to submit an entry for this contest.

Please include information about yourself, i.e. name, address, phone number, age, place of birth, and age upon immigration to the United States (if applicable).  Submissions must be typed and sent via mail, email, or fax to:

Linda Chang
The Dance Center of Columbia College
4730 N. Sheridan Rd.
Chicago, IL 60640
Tel. 312.344.8340 / fax 312.344.8037 / email:

DEADLINE is April 1, 2000

Submissions will be divided and judged according to age groups, including ESL categories.  Judges panel will include Asian American community leaders.  Winners' essays will be mounted and displayed in The Dance Center of Columbia College lobby during May I - 13, 2006, in conjunction with the world premiere of H.T. Chen & Dancers¡¯  ¡°Bian Dan,¡± a full-evening length dance piece based on the Asian immigrant generation gap experience.  A photo essay exhibit is also being prepared.
Winners will receive tickets to one of the performances of "Bian Dan"; college-age and above winners will receive in addition a one-year's membership to the National Association of Asian American Professionals Chicago Chapter (NAAAP).  Additional prizes and sponsorship is being sought and will be announced at a future date.

Sponsored by The Dance Center of Columbia College's H.T. Chen Residency Project, National Association of Asian American Professionals - Chicago Chapter (NAAAP), and Keumsil Cultural Society.  Programs of The Dance Center are supported, in part, by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Sara Lee Foundation, New England Foundation for the  Arts, National Performance Network, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Northern Trust Company, and Columbia College Chicago.  Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council.  American Airlines is The Dance Center's 1999/2000 Airline Sponsor.  WBEZ 91.5 is The Dance Center's 1999/2000 Media Sponsor.  Day's Inn Lincoln Park-North is The Dance Center's 1999/2000 Hotel Sponsor.