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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Serving Milwaukee’s Chinese Community

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There may be an addition to Milwaukee’s summer festival lineup in 2011. Peng Gao, president of the Milwaukee Chinese Community Center (MCCC), says that the organization is “actively planning” Chinese Culture Fest, a weekend celebration of Chinese culture on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Although it is still in the planning stages, he says that the festival will aim to entertain attendees while fulfilling one of the MCCC’s main initiatives, which is to contribute to the cultural diversity of the Milwaukee area.

What is the mission of the Milwaukee Chinese Community Center (MCCC)?

Our mission is to serve members and the community through Chinese language education, outreach and social engagement.

What kinds of programs does the MCCC offer?

We offer a few. One of our main initiatives is to operate the Milwaukee Modern Chinese School (MMCS). We have a community service program where we, as a community, participate in the annual Holiday Folk Fair event through the (Milwaukee Modern) Chinese School. We also work with the Milwaukee County Parks system to host the Chinese New Year event at the Mitchell Park Domes.

How is the Chinese New Year celebrated at the Domes?

It normally happens at the end of January or the beginning of February—it depends on which days the Chinese New Year happens. It is a one-day event where we decorate the Domes like Chinese New Year. And we have performers and programs, food services, and a marketplace where you can shop. And we have lots of activities for kids inside the Domes. This year there were 3,000-4,000 visitors who experienced Chinese New Year in the Mitchell Park Domes.

When are MMCS classes offered and who may attend them?

Our school teaches two sessions of Mandarin Chinese every Sunday afternoon. We collaborate with Marquette University; they are very kind by loaning the facility to us free of charge. We are very grateful to them. We offer different levels of Chinese language classes, for students and grown-ups—two classes for language education, and then we have a third class for actual musical activities, and arts and crafts.

How does an interested individual become a member of the MCCC?

We serve whoever is interested in Chinese culture. So, if someone says, ‘I am a member,’ then you are a member. There is no mechanism for you to claim to be a member… Individuals can go to our website, www.milwaukeechinese.org. They can also go to our school website, www.mmcsweb.com, to learn about our school program.