BEIJING, Feb. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- Leah Li, junior from New York University, won the 56th Miss Chinatown USA Pageant in San Francisco Saturday, under the theme of "Homage to Women."
Twelve beauties attended the pageant including contestants from Hawaii, the states of Washington, Texas, and Massachusetts, and Chicago.
During an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kathy Eng, who as 18-year-old Kathy Jung was crowned Miss Chinatown 1969, and today is a South Jersey grandmother, said, "It gave me a sense of direction, who I was as a person, as a Chinese American."
Consciously and unconsciously, the pageant encouraged the assimilation of an immigrant community, helped preserve its traditions -- and, not unimportantly, drew visitors to the neighborhood's restaurants and shops.
"It was a good promotion, because the Caucasian people did come to Chinatown for the parade," said Cecilia Moy Yep, 83, the grand dame of Chinatown organizers.
The annual Miss Chinatown USA Pageant, launched in 1958, has given young Chinese women from across the United States opportunities to win scholarships and become goodwill ambassadors for the Chinese community.