May 11, 2008
Portland Asia Fest
Yesterday, AsiaFest took place at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. I had the opportunity to run the booth for the Oregon Commission on Asian Affairs, which is the official government liaison between the Asian American community in Oregon and the governor's office. It was fun. I spoke to the people about our upcoming Frank Chin event, and I was able to see many people in the community whom I haven't seen in a while. They had a number of really cute performances by little kids.
It's really important to get out there and meet people. For me, it humanizes the whole advocacy/activism thing. You can't really know a person's problems or issues until you've conversed with them in person. My demographic--young people with or without families--was not very well represented, but it was a lot of fun working the floor.
I think I also learned a thing or two about promotion. The booths with the brightest and friendliest displays or games got the most action. The only reason people came to my booth was that I was located next to the unmanned Spirit Mountain Casino display, and old ladies kept approaching me to find out when the bus left from Chinatown. Next year I may not be so lucky with my location--they may put me next to Falun Gong (who was also there) or Asian Americans for Hillary (if she's still running after the new president is already in office)--so it's best to be proactive with the promotion.