Asian Amer­i­cans urged to speak up

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS NORTH AMERICA - By LIA ZHU in San Francisco li­azhu@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

For­mer US Am­bas­sador to China Gary Locke called on Asian Amer­i­cans to stand up against racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, at a fundrais­ing event for US Con­gress­man Mike Honda on Mon­day in Cu­per­tino, Cal­i­for­nia.

Locke, the first Chi­nese Amer­i­can to serve as a gov­er­nor and am­bas­sador in US history, told guests at the event, mostly Chi­nese com­mu­nity lead­ers, that racial dis­crim­i­na­tion ex­isted not only in the past but also in the present, re­mind­ing them of the Chi­nese Ex­clu­sion Act and Ja­panese in­tern­ment camps dur­ing World War II.

“Not a long time ago, the US said ‘we don’t al­low Chi­nese to come into the United States’; and not long ago, they locked up Ja­panese, even kids, in prison camps dur­ing World War II,” Locke said.

He also said that “some of the peo­ple run­ning for of­fice” pro­posed to “kick out all the Mus­lims” due to re­cent ter­ror­ist at­tacks. “Just be­cause a few peo­ple of Is­lamic faith com­mit­ted ter­ri­ble crimes doesn’t mean ev­ery­body is bad,” he said.

“That’s not what Amer­ica stands for. Amer­ica is a land of im­mi­grants, whether our an­ces­tors came from China, Poland, Ire­land, Africa or Rus­sia. Amer­ica is great, be­cause we have en­trepreneurs from dif­fer­ent cul­tures, and they bring th­ese new ideas and new val­ues. That’s why Amer­ica is so great,” he said.

Honda, who rep­re­sents Cal­i­for­nia’s 17th Dis­trict, known as Sil­i­con Val­ley, spent part of his child­hood in a Ja­panese-Amer­i­can in­tern­ment camp.

He was there “long enough that I swore this coun­try will not make the same mis­take again,” he said. “As Chi­nese Amer­i­cans, as Asian Amer­i­cans, we know that a lot of us end up in this coun­try as per­pet­ual for­eign­ers, though you were born here and speak English.”

“But un­der the con­sti­tu­tion, each one of us, whether you have a doc­u­ment or not, whether you have visa or are out of sta­tus, you have the pro­tec­tion.”

Honda cur­rently serves as hon­orary cu­ra­tor of the WWII Pa­cific War Me­mo­rial Hall, a mu­seum of show­ing the history of Chi­nese re­sis­tance against Ja­panese ag­gres­sion.

LIA ZHU / CHINA DAILY

US Con­gress­man Mike Honda, (cen­ter stand­ing)for­mer US Am­bas­sador to China Gary Locke and Cu­per­tino Mayor Barry Chang (third from right) and supporters at a fund-raiser for Honda on Mon­day in Cu­per­tino, Cal­i­for­nia.

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