Wednesday, October 08, 2008


This year's annual conference of the Chinese Immigrant Service Agency Network-International is in Houston, TX. We spent the first day at our partner agency, Chinese Community Center 中華文化服務中心 discussing cities in transition.

Did you know that Houston is now the 4th largest city in the United States? And what was once a basically biracial city, dominated and controlled by white men, has over the last 25 years emerged as a city at the forefront of a new diversity that, according to Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg, "is refashioning the socio-political landscape of urban America"?

Bet you didn't know that Houston is one of the most culturally diverse metropolitan areas in the country where all of its ethnic communities are now minorities. (Anglos 36%, Blacks 18%, Hispanics 38%, Asians 7%)

Coming off their experience with Hurricane Ike last month, we discussed ways we could all learn from Houston to be better prepared for disasters, and how we can continue to provide service to our communities in the aftermath of hurricanes, earthquakes, pandemic flu, or whatever. Discussion amongst the participants revolved around how government can work better with limited English speaking communities. For examples, see the City of Houston's website.

Of course no visit to Texas would be complete without a genuine old-fashioned Texas barbecue, and our hosts treated us to a delicious barbecue this evening at a private ranch in Richmond, TX. And just in case you're wondering, it really is true. Everything is bigger in Texas!

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