Cora Quisumbing-King, Co-chair of NH AAPI Democrats, delivered this speech at the Stop Asian Hate Rally in Concord on March 21. May is Asian American Pacific Islander Month – a good time to remember the extraordinary contributions of Asian Americans to our history and culture against the hostility experienced by members of this community today.
Thank you for being here with us today.
I am Cora Quisumbing-King. I stand here WITH my ASIAN AMERICAN and PACIFIC ISLANDER community and WITH YOU, our allies.
We are the AAPIs.
As an AAPI community of communities, we are unique, we are different and we are the same. And so are you, our allies.
We come here, many of us meeting for the first time in person.
Otherwise, we would have been sipping cocktails in Dover or
sake in Cornish, relishing dim sum in Pelham,
munching samosas in Nashua or Manchester or Concord,
stuffing ourselves with lumpia in Somersworth,
yummy-ing over momo cha in Barrington or Hookset or Keene or Hollis or Dartmouth ….. and wherever we might be in NH .
Yes, to celebrate and to gather in grief and protest and solidarity. We are sad, we are frustrated. We are angry. Righteously angry.
WE HAVE CHOSEN TO BE HERE ……. Just as you have.
We are HERE to be seen and heard. Just as you are. LET US SEE each other, one another. LISTEN. ACT TOGETHER.
We, the AAPIs--are diverse: honoring different cultural backgrounds and united in our shared purpose to advocate for our AAPI communities & an anti-racist culture in collaboration with YOU, our allies.
We – the AAPIs -- are of many cultures:
East Asian, South Asian, South East Asian, Pacific Islander.
As Pacific Islanders, our roots are with the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa and other Pacific Islands.
As East Asians, we have roots in Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mongolia and Macau.
As South Asians, we come from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives.
AND, as Southeast Asians, our roots are in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore; Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei, East Timor, Christmas Island and Cocos Island. (Quite a geography lesson there).
We continue to learn about our own and one another’s countries of origin, land of our ancestors, whether we be born there or here, whether we came here as immigrants or refugees. Some of us have longings for our first homes. Some of us have ancestors that came here many years ago, so our yearnings are perhaps less so or of a different nature.
AND YET, WE ARE HERE. SO LET ME SPEAK TO THE AAPIs.
--LET US seek to energize, engage, strengthen and mobilize our own AAPI communities
--LET US advocate for representation of AAPI issues
--LET US promote public service
Our unity as AAPIs will allow us to increase our power and influence so that we will be better able to address key issues in our Asian American & Pacific Islander communities. These are tragic times. Let us see each other, one another and let others see us. DEAR ALLIES,
We are united WITH you in advocating for
--for equal access to education, social services, health and other government programs
--for the protection of the environment
--for protection against all forms of discrimination and exploitation in the workplace
--for migrant/immigrant/refugee rights and dignity
--for defense of civil rights and liberties AND protection against hate crimes WE ARE HERE IN THIS GREAT COUNTRY that we all want to endure,
a country where all of us – AAPIs and allies – can treat one another with compassion and dignity, with fairness, with integrity,
a country where, as responsible residents and citizens,
we can promote a civil society fighting for freedom
AND YES, for JUSTICE.
About the author
Born in the Philippines, Cora attended St. Theresa’s College in Cebu City then the Ateneo de Manila before embarking for the United States where she completed a Ph.D. in Social & Organizational Psychology. She met her husband Walter at the University of Chicago and before retiring, served as a practicing consultant and facilitator in the field of Organization & Leadership. Cora has resided in the United States for more years than she has lived in the Philippines – which continues to beckon her – and to where she regularly returns with Walter and daughter Katrina. A member of Dover Democrats Executive Committee, Cora is Co-chair of the Asian American Pacific Island Caucus, New Hampshire Democratic Party, and was recently named one of 250 national leaders from the AAPI community who endorsed President Joe Biden for President.