WASHINGTON–Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, delivered the following remarks at the Lincoln Memorial as part of Wednesday’s “Let Freedom Ring” celebration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington:
“I was born in a thatched roof hut in the jungles of Laos, where there was no running water or electricity. My father was a medic, working with USAID, during the “secret war” in Laos, and when the wars ended in Southeast Asia, we were forced to flee our home and became political refugees. Thanks to President Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale, my family was resettled in the United States. Only in America, the America of Dr. King’s ‘dream,’ is it possible for someone like me to stand before you today.
I think Dr. King would be so proud–in fact is very proud–Dr. Bernice King, that you have invited me and the communities that I represent from the Asian and Pacific Islander American community to take part in this commemorative conversation. For I believe that, while Dr. King’s conversation with America speaks to and still rings true today–about the creative sufferings of black America, his dream is inclusive of all of America and his call to action invites each America–Asian America, Black America, Hispano-Latino America, Native America, GLBTQ America, White America and the men AND women of America-to take inspiration from our own circumstances, and to know that the price of freedom is the commitment to ensuring the security of liberty and justice for all.
On August 28, 1963, 35 members of the Japanese American Citizens League marched alongside their brothers and sisters of the civil rights struggle. On Saturday, hundreds of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander brothers and sisters–representing 35