In the evening of May 3rd, I joined the Civic Leadership Forum on Ding Ding TV. In the forum, six different Asian American civic leaders presented their view on the topic: What are the challenges facing Asian Americans? This left me a deep impression on me.
In Dr. Zhang’s presentation, he presented the importance of Asian Americans through a series of statistics. Asian Americans typically have a higher income than average but a very low degree of civic involvement. This made me understand the importance of this civic forum, and what's more, the importance of Asian American involvement in civics. Dr. Zhang compared the Asian American population and to the populations of other ethnic groups. The statistics also showed a lack of civic involvement in the Asian American group. “Whether one votes for AAPI candidates is a personal choice, but the increased political participation because of Asian Americans running for the presidency is a victory for Asian American community.” “All boats are lifted when water rises. This is why Asian Americans must work together to achieve multi-ethnic democracy in a pluralistic society.” Dr. Zhang said.
In the conference, moderated by Mr. Wong, there were three Asian American speakers: Soma Chatterjee, the India Currents Diversity Ambassador; Cathy Peng, CEO of ROCS; and Angelica Cortez, the founder of LEAD Filipino. In the course of this conference, the three leaders talked about their experiences working in the bay area as well as the difficulties they faced being an Asian American. They also talked about their present and future plan of cooperating with each other to achieve more influence in the bay area.
Finally, the dancers from Abhinaya dance company presented a dance with a topic surrounding earning rights: “I Have a Dream:” the Life of Martin Luther King. Their influencing dance, along with the explanation between segments of dance, presented a clear moral. That moral was true when Dr. King was fighting to earn rights for the African Americans, and is also true now as we Asian Americans struggle to gain the rights and positions we deserve: The only weapon we have is the weapon to protest.
In this Civic Leadership Forum, I have listened to leaders talk about their past experiences, what are we now facing, and most importantly, what we can do to make it better. “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” by John F. Kennedy.
- Katherine Mo
On May third I attended a Civic Leadership Forum hosted by Ding Ding TV. The forum started with Dr. Xiaoyan Zhang explaining the concept of pluralism, showing us many interesting statistics about the United States population, and where Asian minorities fall into the bigger picture. What surprised me was that the Chinese American population only took up about 5-6%, and that America is set to become a pluralistic society, meaning that there will be no leading majority in terms of race. Living in the Bay Area, it is very easy to be blind-sighted by the large Asian population and diversity here, leading many of us to not consider what the condition may be in the rest of the country. After Dr. Zhang finished his presentation, there was a panel moderated by Joel Wang. During the panel, the speaker that stood out to me the most was Ms. Angelica Cortez, Director at Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Ms. Cortez spoke about the importance of trust among the minorities of America. She talked about how her group would attend multicultural events just to show her support of other minority groups and gain trust. She solidified the necessity of unity in her point of view and that the only way to succeed in getting minorities more recognized in America was to work together, something many people from different cultures are not willing to do. If I were to summarize the most important points I took away from this event, the words I would look to are “trust” and “unity” within minorities in order to gain the recognition we deserve.
- Dennis Wang