By Shirley Lew
AsAmNews Staff Writer
During a 5pm meeting with “VENG”, aka Vincent Eng, and his colleague Joyce Liu, consultants on government and community affairs, I met two star Major General William Chen. General Chen will be advocating with Corky Lee and I this week. He had come in from Boston and had lobbied with Corky last February. I learned if it were not for General Chen’s diligent post meeting follow-ups with Congressional members, there would not be as much support for the two bills, H.R.2358 and S.1050.
Vincent and Joyce, gave us kits (like a sales kit in a folder) that included facts and data of Chinese American WWII Veterans and on the National Chinese American Citizen Alliance (CACA) which sponsors the recognition project.
On that note, I’ve mentioned Samantha Cheng, Founder of the project, but it was my error to not mention Past President of CACA, Ed Gor who has been instrumental in creating awareness of the project, utilizing the local chapters to move this project forward and gain support.
During our meeting with VENG, it was like an episode of Mission Impossible, the television series from the late 60’s or early 70’s. Cool series…nothing like that on television ever again in my opinion. We all met at the Washington DC CACA chapter office, just about three blocks away from where I am staying, so that was convenient.
The meeting started off with us sitting around a table, listening to instructions, telling us what to expect, who we are meeting and when. We were also told our meetings are no longer 15 minutes and to be thankful to whomever we speak to for their time. Ok. This sounds simple, but in actuality, I know that’s not true. I’m hoping I am prepared with answers should these Congressional reps ask us any questions.
Today is day one of advocating. I’m excited and nervous at the same time, but happy to be here to support our Chinese American WWII veterans. We three, Corky, General Chen and I, will have five appointments today. We’ll be visiting the legislative aids (more or less) of Representative Marc Kapture of OH, Representative Robert Woodall of GA, Representative Collin Peterson of MN, Representative John Carter of TX and Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman of NJ, my turf. It is very rare that we would meet the actual Congress member, but who knows.
Barbara Chin, a member of the Women’s Auxiliary of the American Legion, Lt. Kim Lau Post 1291 in Manhattan, Chinatown, filled me in as to what to expect on an average day of advocating. She did the same thing a few months earlier this year. When she and I spoke about three weeks ago, I clearly remember her telling me to bring comfortable shoes. So I did. She said there would be a lot of walking and some meetings take up the full 15 minutes and some don’t. She made it sound like it was very tiresome and rewarding at these same time and I’m hoping for the same feeling.
I packed professional sleeveless dresses after checking that it was going to be a very hot week here in DC. However, for some reason this morning, I realized I packed t-shirts and not tank tops, and all four out of the six t-shirts I packed were in the pink/red color family. Not sure how that happened.
Yesterday, when we were having dinner with Samantha and her associates (interns), we learned from Corky that rickshaws were originated in New Jersey. He is always full of fun facts. Then we also learned that that two members of Congress were a firm “No” on the bills.They are Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senator Mitch McConnell of KY.
I asked Vincent during our 5pm meeting why Ryan and McConnell were not supporting the Chinese American WWII Recognition Project. He explained that the senators “No” were not a true “No”, but it appears there could be other criteria the senators are looking or asking for on this bill before they can give full support, or that they treading lightly to see what would be the consequences if they said “Yes.” I wasn’t fully content with that answer, so that means there is more work ahead to convince Ryan and McConnell to change their minds.
Wish us luck for our first day of advocacy!
Please watch this minute promo video of the Chinese American WW2 Recognition Project, which explains a lot in one minute: CAWW2CGMPSA
Follow #NG4CAWW2V for daily posts on our advocacy efforts.
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