On May 22, the Alameda Asian Pacific Islander (API) Round Table invites the community to celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month at the Niel Tam Education Center. The event will honor API history in Alameda.
The location is fitting, as a highlight of the celebration will be honoring the life and legacy of Niel Tam. Tam passed away in 2015 after serving the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) for over 40 years as a special education teacher, administrator, and school board trustee.
Speakers will include Reverend Michael Yoshii, Chris Tam, and Austin Tam. Rev. Michael Yoshii is a United Methodist minister serving the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines Global Council, Co-Chair of Friends of Wadi Foquin (a Palestinian partnership), Coordinator of United Methodist students at Pacific School of Religion and a member of the API Roundtable.
Chris and Austin Tam are Niel Tam’s sons. Chris Tam is the owner of the All Good Living Store in Alameda, a purveyor of sustainable and eco-conscious lifestyle products, and the founder and Executive Director of the All Good Living Foundation, which partners with AUSD to support unsheltered students and their families in the District and throughout the Bay Area.
Austin Tam is an API Disability Awareness Advocate at Buena Vista United Methodist Church and an elected member of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee representing the 18th District.
Chris Tam will present the Niel Tam Memorial Scholarship, established by the Tam family for deserving API high school students to remember Niel’s legacy. This year’s recipient is Kristen Wong, a graduating senior at Alameda High School, in recognition of her student leadership, academic achievements, and as the first student Co-Chair of the API Roundtable.
Niel Tam’s Legacy
Niel Tam became the District’s first Chinese-American principal in 1997 when the District hired him to lead the now-closed George P. Miller Elementary School. He became the Principal of Washington Elementary (now Maya Lin) School in 2006. He was elected to the Board of Education in 2008, re-elected in 2012, and served as Board President in 2013.
Throughout his career, he devoted himself to AUSD’s most vulnerable, advocating for those with special needs, who were low-income, or for whom English was a second language. He took leadership roles in Alameda civic organizations, including the Alameda Boys and Girls Club, Alameda Family Services, Alameda Food Bank, and more.
He will be celebrated as a role model who championed inclusion and equity for all children in the school district.
Asian Pacific Islander Round Table
The event’s host, the Alameda API Round Table, comprises caregivers, students, district staff, board of education members, and community leaders that work to ensure the academic success and well-being of AUSD API students. They also serve as a vehicle for API community input to the District.
The API Round Table welcomes people from all walks of life that want to learn about and improve the experiences of AUSD’s API students and families.
How to Go
The celebration will be on May 22, from noon to 2 pm, at the Niel Tam Education Center (District Office) at 2060 Challenger Drive, Alameda. This free outdoor event is open to the community, but RSVP through QR code shown above. There will be light refreshments and table activities for children.