Monday, March 30, 2015

When the Best & Brightest Speaks frankly & publicly for YOUR interest

The wise words presented below are from Alice Huang who has donated $240,000 to SELF.  She is a retired professor from Harvard, a retired Dean of Science at  New York University, and a member of the Division of Biology at California Institute of Technology.  She has also served as a Board member of 80-20 PAC for many years, as well as that of many other non-profits such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Johns Hopkins Univ., Univ. of Massachusetts, Keystone Center and Public Agenda.  She was the President & Chairperson of AAAS, American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is the world's largest general scientific society.  Her spouse is Dr. David Baltimore, a Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine.  Alice even pilots her own airplane.  :-)

She is definitely one of our best and brightest, because unlike many other "successful" AsAms, she remains an integral part of our community, and she has the courage and substance to speak out & fight for our equal opportunity.

          Why I support 80-20 and why you should too!
                                             By Alice S. Huang

   "After living in this country for more than 90% of my life, I am still asked questions like, where are you from? and receive comments on how good my English is! Caucasian minority immigrants in the U.S., once they lose their accents, can pass as White Americans; but we Asian American immigrants will not be able to easily blend into this country's majority population. Despite our educational attainments and earnings, both of which are higher than the average American's, we stand out and can easily become targets of racial harassment or discrimination. To avoid this we need to whole-heartedly participate and contribute in every aspect of American society to the extent that we become indispensable and gain enough influence and power in the economic, military, and political realms to protect ourselves.

This is because racial bias, and worse prejudice, is alive and well in the United States. On top of that the populace is prone to hysteria and fear of those who appear to be different. U.S. history is full of examples of racial laws passed by Congress to prevent Blacks, Chinese, or Mexicans from exercising their full civil rights. The internment of Japanese during the Second World War and their loss of homes and property stand out as examples of what can happen due to mass hysteria. Despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1968 and declaration of the unconstitutionality of the Anti-Miscegenation laws in 1967, these rights are not always fully enforced. More recently, after 9/11, besides the continued debates in the U.S. about limiting immigration, there were even questions concerning the rights of naturalized citizens and whether they could be jailed or deported without trial.

As Asian Americans most of us are still focused on our individual families and remain comfortable in the protective social niches that are isolated from mainstream America. Look around us. We cannot ignore that: (1) our children, who volunteered to join the armed forces to fight for the U.S., are often harassed to the extent that they have resorted to suicide as the only way to escape their tormentors; (2) our children's racial profile rather than their capabilities determines their entrance into the college of their choice; (3) we are too slowly entering the power structure of professions compared with those of us who fully qualify due to our training and capabilities; and (4) increasingly there is open resentment of recent wealthy Chinese immigrants who purchase desirable real estate or have the poor taste to build "McMansions".

Although we all hope that our and our progeny's contributions will be gradually recognized and rewarded, we cannot totally ignore the possibility of a sudden reversal of fortune for Asian Americans. Such a reversal could easily happen if the relationship between the governments of the United States and any one of the Asian countries increase in animosity or distrust leading to open warfare. As a group we should accept that self-promotion is an acceptable behavior in successful democracies. That is where 80-20 becomes so important.  Unlike other Asian American associations and societies, it is not focused on just educational and cultural exchange. It promotes Asian Americans through political action as its primary goal and secondarily to prevent the stereotyping and denigration of Asian Americans through tasteless venues such as entertainment and in a variety of other circumstances.

Why is 80-20 trying so hard to raise financial support? Only with a strong and sustained financial base will we be able to attract a professional staff dedicated to educate and involve Asian Americans of all ages in the democratic political process and provide the tools for self-interested activism. We need to forge a strong coalition with other Asian American organizations so that by strength in numbers we can increase our political influence. Staff is needed to engage in wide surveillance of activities that prevent the advancement of Asian Americans, make these activities known, and solicit and coordinate appropriate action to counter these activities.  This is the right time for 80-20 to succeed, and if does not, it will be because we are still too provincial to see the opportunity we have to provide future security for ourselves and our children.

For all the above reasons, I have directed my main philanthropic efforts recently to 80-20, hoping that a strong financial base in its educational arm will bring together more like-minded Asian Americans who are fully aware of racial history and the unpredictable nature of human society. Gradually, through political and civic education, my hope is that 80-20 as a political action committee will be able to gain strength and influence to fight for justice and fairness for ALL Asian Americans and at the same time educate a cadre of Asian American leaders who will dedicate themselves to being selfless public servants and exemplars of what we can offer to this country. 

Why does 80-20 need to raise money? Beside what have been mentioned above it also needs to forge a strong and lasting  coalition with other Asian American organizations. Join us and help us to accomplish all this by donating as generously as you can." 

                            Click  HERE TO DONATE  to SELF .

S.B. Woo, a volunteer
President, 80-20 Asian Am. National Educational Foundation, Inc.
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80-20's Top 10 Accomplishment , published 3 years ago.