Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was fortunate to spend time with some newer family and friends, taking some time to share old family stories of history and migration, taking a moment of pause to acknowledge the global similarities we are facing now in our world, some 40 years later.
I have always been vocal about my identity as the daughter of Vietnamese refugees. In the late 1970s, my parents came as boat people to the U.S., fleeing a country torn by war and opposing political ideologies, not much different than what every day people are experiencing today in other parts of the world. As I hear and read about the rhetoric around Syrian refugees, I can't help but be disturbed by the unfounded fear and hate from individuals who are unable to recognize and show empathy for the violence, hunger, poverty, and every day fear that has pushed hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, often making life or death decisions in hopes of finding safety for their children and families. I know that if it were not for the compassion of the U.S. to take in refugees like my parents, I would not be here writing this today.
So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the courage and sacrifice my parents made, and the compassion and generosity shown to my family by so many when my parents and countless other refugees made their journey to and laid roots here in Michigan. And I am thankful for organizations like APIAVote-MI. Our work in immigrant rights, educational equity, voting rights, economic justice and leadership development are all a part of our commitment to justice and equity for not only the Asian American community, but all communities who share in struggle to be accepted and treated with the dignity and humanity we all deserve. We're looking forward to continuing and growing this work in the years to come, and hope to count on you for support with your time, talents and treasures.