This year, he expects more than 10,000 revelers to brave the cold for the annual celebration.
“Everywhere, in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, people can see the parade,” Tu said, noting the parade is broadcast live on television. “You can say Chinese people come every day, wo we have become bigger and bigger.”
It takes him and his team about three months to plan the entire parade. Despite the various groups, cultures and dignitaries who attend, Tu said people respect and trust him to run it well.
“They found out I can handle it because I know how to handle it,” he said. “The process is very peaceful if they know I’m in charge.”
In the two decades Tu has organized the parade, one thing has changed. Back then, many cultural performances were done in Chinese languages. Now, he said, they only speak in English.
“When you do everything in English, that means they will understand from the performance about your culture,” Tu said.
He sees the Lunar New Year as an opportunity for people of other cultures to learn and appreciate Asian-American cultures.
“When they open the door to eat your food, they will like it. That’s better than you speaking out and saying, ‘respect my culture,’” Tu said. “They will automatically respect it.”
Tu said he’s not focused on making money, which is why he hasn’t invited more English-speaking businesses to sponsor the parade.
“If I let more English businesses come in, they can give big money to me, but that’s not what I want,” Tu said. “I want to keep the culture strong, to show our respect, welcome them and for them to respect our culture.”