I Am ___: Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Did you know May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month? Me neither. I’m Asian-American, and even I didn’t know. What does this imply?
Together with Verizon Wireless, the I Am ___ campaign strives to highlight movers, shakers, and role models in the Asian-American community, especially those who have achieved certain recognition for their pursuit of what Asian-Americans may consider untraditional career paths.
Like many of my peers, my parents told me when I was five years old that I had to be a doctor when I grow up. When I was in middle and high school, I decided I’d rather go to law school.
“Lawyers aren’t as respected as doctors,” my mom said. Forget that before she’d left Vietnam as a refugee in 1975, she’d been working towards a triple degree in literature, philosophy, and law. And forget that right before she’d been diagnosed with cancer, she was contemplating leaving social work and getting her Juris Doctor degree in America. “Well, I guess that’s better than becoming an artist.”
After she passed away, I had more freedom to study what I’d wanted. My dad was less strict on me when it came to education. But fourteen years of living under my mom’s scrutiny still forced me to follow a “respectable” career path. In college, I decided law wasn’t for me, and I instead majored in finance and management information systems. A business degree, I thought, was respectable enough.
Fast-forward many years, and I Am a writer, a celebrity chef, a public speaker, a television co-host. I am far from being a doctor or a lawyer. Yes, Mom, I’m an (gasp) artist.
CAPE’s I Am ___ campaign celebrates our uniqueness, our determination, and our heritage. I am proud and honored to be part of such an empowering movement. Please watch and share.
Which is your favorite I Am story? (Don’t worry—you don’t need to say mine.) What’s your I Am story?