Asian American Cultural Center officially opens in Milford

MILFORD — Residents can now get a taste of Asian American culture right in Milford.

The New England Asian American Cultural Center — led by president Jack Guo and co-founders Xiaolei Cheng and Shirley Chock — officially opened its 49 Research Drive location with a grand opening last week.

“It’s great that NEACC is officially open after a few months of hard work,” said Cheng, who operates Wu Dang Kung Fu Academy with Guo, her husband.

“It is an amazing feeling,” Chock added, “because we’ve worked so hard to transform this mixed-use office and warehouse space into a state-of-the-art recreational facility with classrooms and offices that were filled with Asian art.”

The New England Asian American Cultural Center will be a place to learn more about Asian culture, the trio has stated.

During the grand opening event there were cultural performances, as well as guest appearances from Qian Jin, the deputy consul of the Chinese Embassy in New York, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, Milford Mayor Ben Blake, state Sen. James Maroney, and state Reps Charles Ferraro, Kathy Kennedy and Tony Hwang.

“We could not have asked for a better grand opening event," said Chock. “Each of our distinguished guests took part in cutting a piece of our ribbon. Many distinguished guests gave fantastic speeches, and the Connecticut legislative officials gave us official state proclamations.”

Recently, the Connecticut General Assembly passed Raised Bill No. 5282, which requires, among other things, Asian American and Pacific Islander studies to be implemented into the state curriculum by the 2025-26 school year.

With the implementation of AAPI studies in schools, Chock said they would be able to host field trips dedicated to illustrating Asian American history. Adding the center will be an opportunity for non-native Chinese people learning Chinese to learn more.

“Currently, we are running both kung fu and tai chi programs at the center,” said Cheng. “Kung fu provides traditional contemporary kung fu instruction for various age groups, instructional intensive self defense program.”

“This fall, we will expand programs to include an after-school program as well as weekend cultural programs,” said Chock. “On the website, we have a master calendar of activities, so you can see everything we are offering at the center.”

Cheng said they hope to have more local people join the cultural center and benefit from kung fu and tai chi programs.

“I want to give my heartfelt thanks to everyone in the community who has supported us in this endeavor,” said Chock. “I believe in mutual understanding through collaboration and hope our center can provide programming that everyone is able to enjoy.”