The year has finally come to a close. 2016 was a year of some heartbreaks and some breakthroughs. The presidential election, for one, left many minorities feeling worried about their status and representation in their country's politics, but the election of some Asian Americans into Congress have left many feeling hopeful towards a more diverse future.
One of the Asian Americans elected is Stephanie Murphy, the first Vietnamese-American to be elected into Congress. Murphy was endorsed by President Obama. Her story is one that many of us can relate to. She immigrated from Vietnam with her parents to escape Vietnam's communist regime and became a refugee before coming to America to be the first in her family to go to college. Murphy is a champion for education and women's entrepreneurship and will continue to fight for ending gender discrimination whilst in Congress. As a Vietnamese person, I find her extremely inspiring.
Another amazing Asian American politician is Pramila Jayapal, an Indian-American activist and politician, and she will be the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House of Representatives in the next term. Similarly, she was born in India and came over to America to attend college, and founded Hate Free Zone (now OneAmerica) as an advocacy group for immigrant groups. In Congress, she will help lead the national fight for comprehensive reform and due process and serve as a voice for women, communities of color, low-income communities, immigrants, and refugees. As people of color, I hope we find her as a source of encouragement to continue to use our voice to speak about issues we care about.
Lastly, Kamala Harris is another Asian American elected into Congress. Harris is half Indian and half African-American and will be the second African-American and first Indian-American woman to serve in the US Senate. She actually visited USC the day before the election to discuss the importance of voting and youth leadership. She is a proponent of immigration, gun control, and criminal justice reform and will continue to pursue these and other issues in Congress. She is committed to social justice and will fight for issues that concern us, as Asian-Americans, to better the future of this country.
Although the results of this year's presidential election have been disheartening to many, there have been many signs of hope and movement towards a diverse America. We mustn't let our fears deter us from fighting alongside these incredible Asian-Americans who have stepped up to aid us in making our voices heard.