Chinese Hispanic chambers linked
Arizona Daily Star
Jan. 8, 2008


By Lourdes Medrano
Tucson, Arizona | Published:
Banking on the time-honored adage that there is strength in numbers, members of two local Chambers of Commerce have launched what they hope will be a successful partnership.
The Tucson Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held a networking mixer last week at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 W. River Road.
The gathering, which featured the traditional Chinese lion dance and mariachi music, attracted about 200 people.
"Together, the Hispanic and Asian communities we can do a lot more," said Abe Lai, president of the Chinese chamber.
"I'm sure that together we can benefit each other and benefit the Tucson community as a whole," Lai said.
Maricela Solis de Kester, who just took over the Hispanic chamber, said the two organizations can learn from each other in tackling matters important to the business communities they represent.
The groups can "benefit from each other's resources in dealing with such issues as the new employment law," she said. And, contrary to public perception, people of any nationality can belong to the Hispanic or Chinese chambers.
The effort to join forces includes reaching out to the broader Asian community, said Dorothy Lew, executive director of the Pan Asian Community Alliance.
"We have a lot of different communities Sri Lankan, Pacific Islanders, Filipinos."
The next step is to identify all Asian-owned businesses to gauge interest in the potential creation of an Asian Chamber of Commerce in Tucson, Lew said.
The Asian-American community can learn from the larger Hispanic chamber, she said. The Hispanic chamber has about 650 members, Solis de Kester said. The Chinese chamber has about 65 members, Lai said.
Marie Hanna, president of the alliance, said a new Asian chamber could provide enhanced opportunities for business people.
"With numbers you have a lot more clout, whether it's trying to promote the community or trying to get some issues resolved," she said.
● Contact reporter Lourdes Medrano at 618-1924 or