Throughout the year, OCTA celebrates diversity with communities throughout Orange County. The last few weeks have been particularly busy, with more events on tap. Two more events are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4 as OCTA continues its involvement in the Black History Month Parade and Unity Festival in downtown Anaheim along with a pop-up event at the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace with Latino / Hispanic families.
Starting a month ago, OCTA joined the O.C. Ministers Council and the O.C. Heritage Council to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Santa Ana College on January 6. Prominent leaders throughout Orange County — including OCTA Director and O.C. Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento — joined Pastor Leon Clark, a longtime member of the OCTA Diverse Community Leaders Group, to deliver comments on the importance of continued community unity for justice and equality with more than 200 civic, community and faith leaders in attendance.
OCTA also participated in six events in January to usher in the Lunar New Year of the Cat in Vietnamese culture or the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac.
Hosted by OCTA Director and O.C. Supervisor Andrew Do, the O.C. Tết Festival at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22 generated enormous visibility for OCTA. Nearly 8,000 community members visited OCTA’s booth and more than 2,250 responded to a community survey for OCTA’s Long-Range Transportation Plan. OCTA Vice Chairman Tam Nguyen, Directors Andrew Do, Steve Jones, Don Wagner and Patrick Harper engaged with festivalgoers at the OCTA booth and provided information about OCTA's construction projects such as I-405 Improvement Project and OC Streetcar as well as transit programs including Youth Ride Free.
During the same weekend, OCTA also participated in the Tết Lunar New Year Countdown event with Little Saigon TV in Santa Ana. On behalf of OCTA, Vice Chairman Nguyen and Director Sarmiento shared new year’s greetings to thousands of community members on site and watching live on TV.
As the celebrations ended in Mile Square Park, the next day OCTA joined in the festivities in Garden Grove where Vice Chairman Nguyen conducted a community celebration in Little Saigon. OCTA Chairman and Yorba Linda Mayor Gene Hernandez, Directors Do and Jones, and OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson joined community and business leaders as they placed red “lì xì” lucky envelopes into the mouths of two “múa lân” lion costumes to symbolize prosperity, fortune and happiness for the Lunar New Year.
In the spirit of unity, the Vietnamese community continued festivities at the UVSA (Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California) Tết Festival at O.C. Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa from Jan. 27 to Jan. 29. OCTA Directors Katrina Foley and Farrah Khan accompanied the Lunar New Year celebrations in their traditional Vietnamese attire — “áo dài.”
The weekend of activities generated many visits to the OCTA booths. Nearly 2,000 community members also filled out surveys, sharing their feedback for the draft transportation plan.