OUR GLOBAL VILLAGE
Posted: September 16, 2014
On Saturday, September 27th, Irvine will host the fourteenth Irvine Global Village Festival. We encourage you all to attend.
We were proud to launch the Irvine Global Village Festival in 2001 when Larry Agran was Mayor. It was Larry who first referred to Irvine as an “International Crossroads City.” Since that time Irvine has grown to be the most culturally diverse, thoroughly integrated City in the world. Yes, in the world!
What we have always understood is that it’s not enough to be diverse. To ensure our long-term success as a community, Irvine must not only be diverse, but also inclusive.
Unfortunately, things have changed in recent years. Mayor Choi has done little to create a more inclusive community. Instead of embracing all cultures, he started his own Irvine Korean Cultural Festival and hosted it at Irvine City Hall. He has also led the effort to put a Korean Garden at the Great Park.
We have dozens if not hundreds of cultural constituencies represented in Irvine. People have been drawn to Irvine for our safety, our schools, our villages and our democracy. We have so much in common, and so much to learn from one another.
There’s nothing wrong with showing respect to your own cultural community, but a Mayor is supposed to value the entire community. Yet when citizens from our local Chinese, Pakistani and Vietnamese communities asked Mayor Choi to support Friendship City relationships with their native countries, he chose instead to attack those countries, challenging the intentions of local residents and denigrating their efforts.
According to Mayor Choi, there should be a litmus test for how international relationships are forged. In a City blessed with large communities from India, Pakistan, China, Korea, Vietnam, and so many other parts of the world, you would think the Mayor would understand the desire of Irvine citizens to forge connections to their home countries. He doesn’t.
In fact, the only new Sister City and Friendship City initiatives Mayor Choi has supported since joining the City Council have been with cities in South Korea.
We showed respect for Mayor Choi’s South Korean heritage by supporting his initiatives. Sadly, he has made it clear that if you come from some place he doesn’t like, you are invisible. That is not the “Irvine” way. If we expect to raise the next generation to think globally, we should not be picking and choosing what countries we can be friends with.
For information on the Irvine Global Village Festival, click here.