By Shirley Lew
AsAmNews Staff Writer
(Editor’s Note: Shirley Lew has been actively advocating for recognition of WWII Chinese American veterans. This is her blog.)
With great relief and excitement, we learned that we have reached a super majority in the House of Representatives for the Chinese American WWII Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Act HR2358.
Samantha Cheng, Project Director of the Chinese American WWI Veteran Recognition Project, informed us Thursday that we now had 292 co-sponsors for the bill, but it would not official until the co-sponsorships were shown on the website which tracks the status of HR2358. So we had to keep mum. Since September, advocacy teams have been visiting more than 200 Congressional Reps-some two or three times. Last week it was my third time in the Capitol lobbying for the bill, visiting and re-visting potential co-sponsorship.
Cheng finally made an announcement on Facebook, “FB Friends and Family. We reached super majority this morning with 292 co-sponsors in the House. HR2358 is on the House Docket for November 27. When it passes, the bill will be sent to the White House for signature. After that the bill then becomes a public law. That is when we can celebrate but not until then. Thank you for all of your good wishes but IT IS NOT DONE yet.”
Since then, we have gained more co-sponsors, a total of 301 now. More may continue to trickle in now through December.
Last week we had three retired major generals and some veterans advocating with us.. I refer to every advocating general as “fire power.” They certainly receive attention when they are introduced by their rank and the veterans with their caps on also drew attention. They were able to get many meetings on the spot while I, a civilian, could not.
I’ve no doubt that the generals and veterans played a strong role in gaining these co-sponsorships during the meetings and with their follow up emails afterwards. Several times when we would all gather for lunch, they would tells us that they received a verbal confirmation of a co-sponsorship right after the meeting. That was just simply amazing.
The associates of the recognition project, Eveline Kong, Jasmine Lee and Kevin Lee were phenomenal in what they did for us. Like Santa’s elves working feverishly to support every team’s debriefing, typing updates onto their spreadsheet of Congressional Reps and sending out lots and lots of emails. Some of us relinquished our personal email accounts to them so that they could send out individual emails to every legislative aid or person we met at the Congressional Rep’s office as if they were written by us. That’s right.. that meant they had full access to our email account and they still do as of now.
This could not have happened without the remarkable work of all the associates, advocates and especially the generals and veterans. Those back home that made telephone calls, sent emails, tweeted and posted on social media about HR2358 to their Congressional Reps deserved a pat on their backs too. HR2358 is expected to be signed before the end of December.