Schwab, a Taiwan native, had hosted similar events in other cities
in the US where she lived before moving to Birmingham 13 years ago. When she arrived, different groups of Asians were celebrating
the holiday on their own, and she thought it would be great to share New Year’s traditions with the wider community.
“We wanted to share with Americans,” Schwab said. “I feel our heritage is something we need to tell others about.”
At the first gala in 2006, “we Chinese came together” and organized it wi
th help from a primary corporate sponsor, Alabama Power Co, along with the Bir
mingham mayor’s office, the public library and other city departments, which pitched in and have been involved eve
r since, Schwab said. Her employer, Alabama Power, appointed Schwab as its community liaison to the gala.
Other corporate sponsors, such as Honda and Regions Bank (major business playe
rs in Alabama), and many small businesses and individuals have added their support over the years.
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