As many of you know, the Committee of 100 was founded in the aftermath of the Tiananmen tragedy in June 1989, so this month marks the 20th anniversary of our organization. The Committee gave Chinese Americans a strong voice to share concerns about China. Whether you were a third or fourth generation Chinese American or a recent immigrant from Taiwan, Hong Kong or China, the images of the student protests in 1989 touched a common core among us all. These past few days watching what has been happening in Tehran in the aftermath of the recent Iranian presidential election not only brings backs images of June 1989 in Beijing but similar scenes following leadership changes in Taiwan, Korea or Thailand in years past. Twenty years later, we are still striving for the same things—to be heard.
The importance of Sino-U.S. relations is just one part of our dual mission. No less important is the other half of our mission, to promote opportunities for Chinese Americans and Asian Americans in all fields of American life.
On the domestic front, we have made great progress in the past twenty years, as more and more Chinese Americans and Asian Americans participate in public service. At this year’s conference in Washington, D.C. one of the highlights was the panel on Asian Pacific Americans in Public Service, moderated by John Podesta and featuring Julie Chon, Christopher Lu, and Karen Narasaki. The return of former C-100 members Gary Locke and Ivan Fong to public service is also a great inspiration for all of us to give back.
Another interesting first to watch is the upcoming election of the first Chinese American woman to Congress from California. In a contest to replace Hilda Solis, now Secretary of Labor, Democrat Judy Chu (Vice Chair of the State Board of Equalization and a former speaker at a C-100 conference) is running against Republican Betty Chu, a Monterey Park City Council member. The 32nd Congressional District election takes place July 14.
Whether it’s on international or domestic issues, now that we have found our voice, let us not become mute again! Let’s work together to win the release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling.