Breaking the Silence: Asian-American Pacific Islanders in Delaware

October 3, 2021.  As a part of Peace Week Delaware, UUFN will sponsor a panel of various Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPIs) speakers who will present stories from their lives and experiences.

Asian-American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) haven't had it easy since the outbreak of COVID in China. Those, particularly of East and South-East Asian descent, have been the focus of public attention - much of it hostile - and it is about time to address its aftermath in our very own state and look at it head-on. The situation is often complicated by a reluctance in the AAPI community, especially among the older generation, to draw attention to themselves by speaking out and being seen, which has often led to inter-racial misunderstandings.

There is an urgent call to action to listen and take responsibility to protect and unite all our communities but not before listening and truly understanding how judgement, prejudice, and biased information are affecting the lives of our AAPI families in Delaware.

Collaborating Organizations:

Please register in advance at https://tinyurl.com/asianamericanforum

Questions? Please send an email to breakingthesilence@uufn.org

Visit the Peace Week DE website at https://www.peaceweekdelaware.org

Speakers:

26th Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long

26th Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long

Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long is widely recognized as a leader who uses her skill to bring people together, build consensus, and help find common-sense solutions to issues and problems facing Delaware families and communities.

Bethany has lead the fight to make Delaware stronger and healthier as Lieutenant Governor. As the leading voice behind the creation of the Behavioral Health Consortium and as Chair, she has convened parents, teachers, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, lawmakers, and community members who have been affected by mental health and addiction. Her efforts have helped bring substantive and effective change in stemming the opioid crisis and creating a behavioral health system that works for everyone in Delaware.

For more information, see https://ltgov.delaware.gov/biography/ .

Senator Stephanie L. Hansen, 10th Senate District

Senator Stephanie L. Hansen, 10th Senate District

Sen. Stephanie Hansen represents the 10th Senate District, which includes portions of Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown and other communities along the western side of Southern New Castle County.

Hansen grew up downstate following her family’s move from Maryland’s Eastern Shore to be closer to her father’s job at the Seaford DuPont Plant. She graduated from Seaford Senior High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in earth science from the University of New Orleans. Hansen began her professional career as an environmental scientist, and later a hydrologist, at DNREC.

Hansen entered public service as the founder and first president of the Frenchtown Woods Civic Association and then the multi-community Bear Glasgow Council of Civic Organizations. She served as president of New Castle County Council from 1996 to 2001, and, while on council, graduated cum laude from Widener University School of Law.

In early 2017, Hansen won a special election to succeed Bethany Hall-Long, who had just been elected lieutenant governor.

For more information, see https://legis.delaware.gov/AssemblyMember/150/Hansen.

County Executive Matt Meyer

County Executive Matt Meyer

In 2016, Matt Meyer was a sixth and seventh grade Math teacher when he first ran for public office, defeating a heavily-favored three-term incumbent in a grassroots campaign to serve as the Chief Executive of Delaware’s largest county.

Upon assuming office four years ago, Meyer immediately took historic steps to deliver honest, transparent and efficient governance to the over 560,000 New Castle County residents. The Meyer Administration eliminated wasteful spending and streamlined government expenditures, creating a rapid response JobsNow program that facilitated development projects with over 12,000 jobs. He launched NCC innovates, the most extensive effort to start and grow small business in county history and created GreeNCC, an ambitious agenda to address climate change, preserve open space, bikeable-walkable trails and clean water. His Vacant Spaces to Livable Places initiative rapidly reduced the number of vacant delinquent residential properties by more than 30% while generating millions of dollars of new revenue for schools.

Meyer has the most ethnically diverse senior staff of any government in state history, including the first African American woman to be Chief Administrative Officer in county history and the first African American Police Chief.

For more information, see https://www.nccde.org/125/Matt-Meyer---County-Executive.

Panelists:

Dr. Ivan Y. Sun

Dr. Ivan Y. Sun - Asian American Victimization

Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
University of Delaware
https://www.soc.udel.edu/

Contact Info: isun@udel.edu

Ivan Y. Sun is Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and faculty of Asian Studies at the University of Delaware. He received his Ph.D. in criminal justice from the State University of New York, University at Albany. His research interests include police attitudes and behavior, public assessments of legal authorities, and crime and justice in Asian societies. Dr. Sun has published three books and 120 refereed journal articles. Dr. Sun served as president of Association of Chinese Criminology and Criminal Justice (ACCCJ) in the U.S between 2016 and 2018. Before joining the academia, Dr. Sun was a law enforcement officer in Taiwan for thirteen years.

Locally, he has served on the board for Chinese American Community Center (CACC) and Chinese School of Delaware (CSD) for many years. He was chair of CACC board between 2016 and 2018 and chair of CSD board between 2009-2010.

Shu-Chien Liang

Shu-Chien Liang - Informal Survey of Delaware Asian American Experience

Delaware Asian American Alliance

Contact info: ShuChien.Liang@gmail.com

I have been a Delaware resident for more than 25 years since I left Taiwan to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from the Ohio State University. Currently, I am a staff engineer at International Flavors and Fragrances; before that I worked at DuPont in various roles. I believe we can all make a difference to our communities no matter where we come from or with what communities we choose to focus our engagement and involvement.

Both of my girls were born in Newark and have developed their appreciation for the Chinese culture and language through their education at the Chinese School of Delaware and involvement in various Chinese American Community Center cultural events. I have been also volunteering and supporting CSD and CACC organizations throughout the years.

My passion for learning led to my volunteering at the Friends of Newark Free Library where I helped to screen donated books in the Chinese language and served on the board for 6 years during which I was also the President of FNFL from 2016 to 2018.

Racism against Asian Americans was not something I thought much about until the past few years. The surge of racially motivated incidents and violence against Asian Americans made me realize that I should do my part in addressing the issue. I started reading more articles, news, and books related to this subject, and reflecting on my own experience. As an engineer who believes in science and facts, I became interested in the experience of Asian Americans in our State during the pandemic. I have conducted informal interviews with people or business owners of East and Southeast Asian descent in Delaware. I want to share their voices and thoughts. Through this, I hope to further the conversations on anti-Asian racism, bring unity to our diverse AAPI community, and contribute to the development of specific actions.

Rui Chen

Rui Chen (he/him/his) - To Be Alive Today

DE Dept. of Health & Social Services
https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/
www.facebook.com/DelawareDHSS/

Contact info: rchen0909@gmail.com

Born in China and raised in America for much of his life, Rui (pronounced “Ray”) experienced the impact of change at an early age. The moment he landed in America when he was five, he was placed into a minority group and, as time went by, he connected with the LGBTQ community which has also played a pivotal role in shaping him into who he is today.

Although he grew up in a Chinese family, he learned English after relocating to America. His family continued to speak Chinese at home, and he was able to learn some Mandarin by being around his family. English has been his primary language by the time he left home at nineteen to pursue his own path.

He currently works for the State government as a Senior Social Worker, using his skills to assist the citizens of Delaware live a healthier life. A trail of life events has created the person he is today, and he would like to share his story with you.

Yun-Fei Lou

Yun-Fei Lou (he/him/his) – Winning One for Our Children!

DE Dept. of Health & Social Services
https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/

Contact info: yun_fei@yahoo.com

I am a 1.5 generation Chinese American. In 1996, I moved from Qingdao, China to Lewes, Delaware.  Back then, the area did not have more than 1000 people in the winter, and there was only one English Second Language teacher from another school district. I received my undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Delaware, studied marine environmental biology from University of Southern California, and recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public health with a Masters in Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality.

I work as a long-term care program compliance manager for the state of DE, serving and protecting the vulnerable in long-term care facility and advocating on the behalf of their loved ones. I have also worked as a real estate agent, a sushi restauranteur, car salesman, a landlord, a computer repair person, and molecular biologist.

My true passion has always been to help the community.  I’m currently a volunteer firefighter/EMT in the Newark Fire department, and have also volunteered for DE hospice, Big Brother Big Sisters, Rotary International, and Sunday breakfast mission.

I am a full-time single dad of 2 boys and 2 cats, and we frequent Longwood Gardens and Winterthur Park.

Xan Hong

Xan Hong - Struggling with the Asian American Male Stereo Type

Chief Executive Officer, ONTrac
https://www.startontrac.com

Contact Info: xan@ontrac.app

Xan Hong received his Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania where he competed on the Varsity Men’s Track team for four years. He later also received his Master’s in Education from the University of Pennsylvania during which he served as a student teacher and volunteer track & field coach at a University High School in West Philadelphia. He has since served as an adjunct professor in Entrepreneurial Finance at Lincoln University.  He still regularly volunteers his time mentoring and speaking to youth from inner city schools.

Xan has been an entrepreneur for over 15 years in a variety of industries including real estate development, food and beverage, e-commerce, insurance and financial services, marketing communications, and technology.  During this time, his companies have grossed over $10 million in revenue.  His expertise is in marketing strategy, digital marketing, and sales.

Currently, Xan is the CEO and Founder of ONTrac, a technology company that empowers individuals to reach their potential by simplifying the process of achieving their life goals. They are currently beta testing and will be launching a live version later this year.  He also is an investor and principal in an independent insurance agency and owns an e-commerce business.  Xan lives in Middletown, Delaware with his wife and 8-year-old daughter. He was the former President of the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Society of Delaware.

Dr. Yvonne Ou

Dr. Yvonne Ou - Know Who You Are

Dept of Mathematical Sciences
University of Delaware
https://www.mathsci.udel.edu/

Contact Info: miaokey@gmail.com

Miao-Jung Yvonne Ou is originally from Taipei, Taiwan. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from National Taiwan University and her Ph.D. from University of Delaware. She is currently a tenured Associate Professor of the Dept. of Mathematical Sciences at UD. Prior to joining the faculty at UD in 2011, she was a research scientist working with the Computational Mathematics Group in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on the development of fast algorithms for solving the stationary Schroedinger equations. From January 2018 to Sept. 2019, she served as a program director for the Computational Mathematics program of the US National Science Foundation.

Yvonne's father was born and raised in Shanghai and her mother in Chiayi City, Taiwan. Her parents have four daughters and Yvonne is the youngest. She grew up spending a lot of time with her mother when the elder sisters were in school. She grew up in an environment where the culture from the pre-communist mainland China and that of the traditional Taiwanese co-existed peacefully at home, which was usually filled with her father's friends from different parts of China and her mother's relatives. She has enjoyed taking care of pets, gardening, jogging, movies and reading books since a very early age.  She came to USA in 1995 for the opportunity to study mathematics. She believes in God and the value of equal opportunity.