Garry Ong Brings Decades of Experience Serving Communities to Chandler’s HRC

May 19, 2021
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Communications and Public Affairs

For almost 30 years, Garry Ong has been actively involved in serving the public throughout the State of Arizona. Since moving to Chandler seven years ago, Ong has been committed to advocating for the City’s Asian communities, businesses and residents and helping them succeed.

As the newest member of Chandler’s Human Relations Commission, Ong serves as a liaison between Chandler’s communities and the City’s Mayor and Council. He brings with him an impressive background in advocacy for Asian communities — locally, nationally and internationally.

Ong was born in Guangzhou, China and immigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong when he was 12 years old. For years, Ong served as the owner and operator of Mu Shu Asian Grill in Phoenix, from which he recently retired due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 1988, Ong started the Chinese Restaurant Association after recognizing the unique struggles of other restaurant owners like himself.

“Many Chinese restaurant business owners are mom-and-pop shops trying to make a living,” Ong said “I recognized that many business owners were dealing with similar issues trying to navigate their stores without access to support within their own culture, language and business community. That is something I wanted to address through the association.”

The association has since grown to include more than 150 members and supports local businesses by offering assistance and resources on many aspects of restaurant operation, including credit card processing assistance, health management classes, insurance, and much more. The association supports community involvement by creating and co-sponsoring the Phoenix Chinese Week and promoting Chinese culture throughout the Valley.

“We believe in giving back to the community as much as possible,” Ong said. “Just recently, members of the organization organized and delivered more than 400 meals to first responders to show our support for their service.”

Ong has accomplished much for Arizona’s Asian communities over the past several decades. His dedication to service has earned him a spot on a number of prestigious boards and committees.

In 2001, President George W. Bush selected him to be one of 14 commissioners for the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders. The commission’s goal was to bridge the administration and the Asian communities across this country and U.S. territories in the Pacific.

Also on his long list of service, Ong serves or has served as a member of the Arizona Attorney General’s Asian American Community Justice Council, the Better Business Bureau of Central/Northern Arizona’s Board of Directors, the Maricopa Community Colleges’ Asian Pacific Islander Community Advisory Committee, the Arizona State Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, the Republican National Committee’s National Asian Advisory Committee, the delegation for the 1997 Hong Kong Return to China Ceremony in Hong Kong, China, and the delegation for the 1999 Macau Return to China Ceremony in Macau, China.

Ong’s commitment to serving the Asian community stems from his own personal experiences and desire to see more people of Asian heritage recognize by organizations that have the ability to help them. He said celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Month each May is one place to start.

“Asia is very large, and people who identify as Asian make up an incredibly diverse group of people with so many unique languages and cultures,” Ong said. “It is great to get that recognition to shine a light on our communities each year. It is important that Asian communities continue to get more recognition and support from government organizations, and that they do not get left out.”

Through his service on Chandler’s Human Relations Commission, Ong hopes to learn even more about the City and offer leaders valuable insights on ways to support diversity and Chandler’s Asian communities.

“The City has the opportunity to provide chances for people to learn about each other and to support the social, cultural and economic growth of its residents and business owners,” Ong said. “I am here to keep learning and help leaders create a vision for a stronger community.”

Learn More about Chandler’s Human Relations Commission

Chandler’s Human Relations Commission, also known as the HRC, was created more than 20 years ago to foster a culture of diversity between Chandler’s City leadership and the cultures it represents. The community liaisons appointed to the HRC offer unique insights into Chandler’s population, which is made up of individuals of all races, religions, cultures and ethnic backgrounds.

The HRC offers guidance to Chandler’s Mayor and Council, as well as helps City staff plan and execute community events and outreach, such as the Annual Multicultural Festival.