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These Chinese-American Women Are the Champions of Change Heroes

The U.S. government has named the month of May Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. The White House recently announced 30 “innovative heroes” including 11 Asians — four of whom are Chinese.

President Obama invited them to the White House on Wednesday in recognition of their contribution to American society.

Here we are introducing three Chinese female innovative heroes: Taiwan-American writer Grace Lin, comedian Jenny Yang, and Leslie Hsu, who founded an organization for the prevention of hepatitis. They have exhibited excellent leadership to enhance the visibility of Asians in the United States, and also promote social changes.

Hepatitis Control Organization founder Leslie Hsu

(Image: NTD)

Leslie Hsu Oh (Image: NTD)

In 1998, 17-year-old Leslie Hsu was studying at the Harvard School of Public Health when her mother and brother both died of hepatitis. That huge blow did not undermine her, in fact it galvanized her. In grief, she declared war on the “silent killer.”

She set up a Hepatitis Prevention and Control Division with her classmates in Boston (HBI-Boston). The organization was extended to Washington, DC (HBI-DC), and then to Virginia (HBI-VA.) in 2002.

American-born Grace Lin (Lin Peisi)

(Image: NTD)

Grace Lin was born in the U.S., but her mother is Taiwanese. (Image: NTD)

When Lin Peisi was little, she rejected Asian culture. However, she eventually developed an appreciation for Chinese culture. This deep understanding is demonstrated in her book: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, which won the Silver Award of the Newbery Medal in 2010 and has been adapted for the stage.

Watch this video by grace lin featuring the beautiful images from her book:

Lin has cleverly incorporated a lot of traditional Chinese myths and ideas into the book, including a dragon, the old man who is a matchmaker, and the concept of karma, making it an enjoyable work for both adults and children. She has written a dozen more books, including Dim Sum for Everyone and The Ugly Vegetables.

Stand-up comedian and co-founder of Asian American standup comedy tour

Young Jenny (Jenny Yang. (Image: NTD)

Young Jenny (Jenny Yang. (Image: NTD)

Taiwan-born Jenny Yang is a co-founder of the comedy tour group called Disoriented Comedy. The group is dedicated to (mostly) Asian female stand-up comics and has a focus on comedy by Asian-Americans who face ethnic and cultural identity issues, among others.

Her unique interpretation of cultural characteristics of Asian-Americans, such as “The Way Asian Mothers Say I Love You‘” and “Ask Asians” series, resonates with the majority of Asian audiences.

Watch this funny video by BuzzFeedYellow about odd ways Asian moms say they love you, perhaps you can relate:

In order to face future challenges, Obama believes that the government cannot solve all social problems, and the private sector is a rich source of good ideas. Therefore, the United States needs more innovative ideas to raise the standard of American education beyond the competition.

The White House also encourages people to nominate or recommend people who have good ideas to become “Champions of Change.” The White House will review the nominee’s idea; if they believe that it will really help to change society, the idea will be shared with the entire country, and even considered for implementation by the government.

Translated research by Mona Song and Kathy McWilliams.

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