There is an African proverb that goes “If you want to go fast, fly alone. If you want to go far, fly together.” CLUSA founder and chairman, Mr. Sandy Chau, referenced this quote during his opening speech at this year’s Asian USA 2018: Asian American & Pacific Islander Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. With 6% of American being Asians, he emphasized the importance of being able to unite the Asian communities around the US in order to create a bigger impact. If one Asian community is one bird, then many birds flying far would be the equivalent of multiple Asian communities uniting for a common purpose. ” Asians have a lot of contributions to this country but haven’t gotten recognition. Many Asian people work so hard but haven’t gotten equal opportunities. That’s why we should work together and make some changes.”
Following Mr. Chau with her own opening speech was the CEO, Sue Van, from Wallace H. Coulter Foundation. She also emphasized the importance of representation, especially in office. Over the last few elections, there has been an increasing in the number of AAPI in public office, specifically the House of Representatives and the Senate. By increasing the level of civic engagement within communities, more AAPI will be inclined to run for office and not only add to the current number of AAPI in office, but will maintain that representation when the current members step down from offices.
When people hear the term DNA, they tend to think of the genetic term. To Karthick Ramakrishnan, professor of public policy and political science at UC Riverside as well as the founder of AAPIData, DNA refers to Data (and technology), Narrative, and Action (ex. advocacy and civic engagement). To be successful in anything, one needs to apply all three into their plan to be successful.