Friday 19th January 2018,

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Asian American Moderator of Vice Presidential Debate Comes from Humble Beginnings

posted by Randall
Elaine Quijnao

Elaine Quijano on the set of CBS Sunday

Elaine Quijano will make history tonight when she becomes the first Asian American to moderate a debate for a national election in the U.S.

The CBS anchor and correspondent will moderate the Vice Presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. The Filipino American Quijano was born in Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Quartz found an excerpt of a speech Quijano gave to graduates of her alma mater.

My mom came from humble beginnings. In the Philippines, as a little girl during World War II, she lost her dad in a US airstrike against the Japanese, who had occupied a nearby village. He just didn’t come home one day. My mom was five, and as the daughter of a seamstress, and one of four young children, she wasn’t surrounded with opportunities for success. But she went to school, she grew up, and eventually graduated from college—no small feat when you stop and start your studies multiple times in order to support your family, and when your own mother asks, not with malice but with genuine confusion, “Why are you going to school? You’re just going to be a seamstress like me.” My mother was 28 years old when she finally earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting. That education allowed her to immigrate here to the United States, ultimately paving the way for my sister—an MIT graduate—and me.

Her inclusion comes at a time Asian Americans are the fastest growing voting population in the United States.

A coalition of 30 Asian American groups announced this week it would seek to register 15,000 Asian American millenials through a series of neighborhood events and concerts, according to Colorlines.

Events for the IAmAsianAmerican campaign are scheduled for New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.


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