The Miami Overseas Chinese Association prides itself on bridging the gap between the Asian and Non-Asian Communities in Miami Dade County. Our mission is achieved through the production of the Miami International Dragon Boat Festival as well as representing China at various community events.
The Miami Overseas Chinese Association (MOCA), started by the Chi Family, was assembled in order to promote Chinese and other Asian cultures through various means. Their first and main means of conveying the Asian culture is through the art and sport of dragon boat racing. This activity highlights a 2000 year old tradition in the Asian community. Sparked through the legend of Qu Yuan, dragon boating originated as a way to appease the sea dragons (see appendix for detailed story).
Today, the sport is practiced all over the world; more than 50 countries hold tournaments, races and competitions and over 10,000 teams co-exist world wide. Not only is this sport the oldest form of rowing or paddling, but it is also the fastest growing water sport worldwide.
The Miami International Dragon Boat Festival, hosted by MOCA brings together participants from all over the South Florida community. There is a strong presence from local authorities and agents such as the City of Miami police, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and State Attorneys office. The corporate and youth community has also shown much interest and participation ranges from Ocean Bank to Publix Supermarket to teams formed by students of UM, FIU and MDC.
In Miami, MOCA alongside the Miami Dragon Boat Club anxiously work year round to prepare for the annual Miami Dragon Boat Races as well as to make sure that the sport does not fizzle away throughout the year. MOCA holds practices, lends its decorative boats to parades, other festivals and events, holds clinics and every so often hosts dragon boat parties. The appearance is becoming prominent in the City of Miami with participation in events that are landmarks to our community: La Parada de Los Reyes Magos (3 Kings Parade) and the Miami Dade Youth Fair. MOCA has also participated in the Jr. Orange Bowl Parade, Greater Miami Mardi Gras, and with Miami Dade County’s Team Metro Pride Week.
MOCA raised the bar on February 3rd, 2005 when it held a benefit dinner / fundraiser for the Tsunami Victims of the Indian Sea / Asian Tsunami that occurred December 2004. The event was held at the Mandarin Oriental and raised Fifty One Thousand dollars ($51,000.00). All the funds raised were donated to the American Red Cross International Relief Fund. MOCA also raised $21,000 in the same manner for victims of Hurricane Katrina and Wilma for the American Red Cross.
MOCA will continue to strive and continue pushing forward the sport of dragon boat racing. The organization and its members are immensely committed and strongly believe in what MOCA offers. MOCA is making a difference not only with the Asian culture, but all the cultures melted together under the Miami sun.
During the summer of 2007, MOCA was granted funding to hold a Dragon Boat for Youth Development Summer Camp. The activity was fully funded by The Children’s Trust. There were 136 kids over a six week period being exposed to Chinese culture through the sport of dragon boat racing. The participants came from local City of Miami Parks and Recreation summer programs, and were predominately in low income areas of the cities. Participating parks: Shenandoah Park, Jose Marti Park, Curtis Park, Range Park, Verrick Park, Duarte Park, and West End.