TACL 2016 September Convention in Boston

By: George Liao, TACL Director of Membership and Technology

Labor Day weekend is often described as the last weekend of the summer here in the United States. Many groups of friends and families around the country will take advantage of the long weekend to travel a bit and see the country. Others will stay home and enjoy the weather and maybe host a BBQ or have some friends over.

With TACL, we’re not too different. This past Labor Day weekend, we had a whopping 90+ people at our annual September Convention, hosted for the first time in the city of Boston. Thanks to the tireless efforts of TAP-Boston, its members, board, and volunteers, this gathering of TACL family and friends was treated to amazing programming, delicious lobsters, and of course, karaoke! Themed “Disrupt”, we were all challenged to reimagine our role in our community — and how we could give back. We were lucky to have all TACL programs represented, and even a few friends from partner organizations (special shoutout to ITASA and TANG) participate.

The weekend started with TAPpy hour at Mead Hall, where convention-goers from all over the country trickled in after arriving in Boston. They mixed with the TAP-Boston board, members, and more. After a long day of traveling for many convention-goers, Mead Hall, with one of the best beer selections of any place in Boston, was the ideal place to unwind.

The convention officially kicked off the following morning at the Microsoft NERD (New England Research and Development) center. There, for the next two days, TACL family and friends participated in a variety of workshops and sessions, with topics ranging in everything from civil service, to personal identity, to good old-fashioned fun. Let me highlight a few.

At the “Boston Taiwanese Superstars” seminar, we were lucky enough to meet and chat with a few amazing Taiwanese Americans in the Boston area. Tommy Chang, the Superintendent of Boston Public Schools talked to us about moving across the country to run the oldest school district in the United States. Simon Hedlin, contributor to The Economist, talked to us about using his writing as a weapon against sex traffickers and more. And Michelle Wu, President of the Boston City Council talked about her approach to city politics and her personal experiences with the government and how she wants to improve it.

In another program, HoChie Tsai, founder of TaiwaneseAmerican.org, taught us how to “craft our own story”, by leading us through an exercise to help connect our individual identities with the broader community. Working together, we (creatively) identified potential problems of the future – and put together a plan and an organization to combat it through personal identity, teamwork, and imagination.

There were other amazing programs of course, but I’d be remiss not to mention the food. Breakfast from 101 Bakery. An amazing and unique lunch from Clover, a local Boston food chain rethinking fast food. Taiwanese food from Dolphin Bay, and more. But the meal I have to highlight was Saturday night dinner, an authentic New England Lobster Bake with steamed clams, farm-raised mussels, corn on the cob, buttermilk biscuits, and of course a 1 1/4 lobster for each convention-goer.

Overall, an amazing weekend and conference. Thanks again to TAP-Boston for all the effort they put into making it a success. And of course a thanks to all the TACL family and friends who took time out of their Labor Day Weekend to join us and “Disrupt: Reimagining Our Community”.