I often wondered why I was one of the few Asian Americans in my elementary school pre-1965.
There weren’t that many of us due to racist immigration quotas.
The flow of immigration was stopped cold.
The few of us Asian Americans in school were really the lucky ones. Our parents got through the political-socio-biological constraints and were able to start families.
But when that dammed up process finally changed, we now have places like my alma mater, Lowell High in San Francisco.
Whole lots of Asian Americans.
And Daly City.
Whole lot of Filipinos.
Asian Americans will be the No. 1 immigrant group by 2065, and we have the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act to thank for that.
It was signed into law Oct. 3, 1965.
No more “Immigration Interruptus.”
Happy 50th Anniversary. Let’s party like it isn’t 1964.
At the UN, the Pope linked misuse of environment to “process of exclusion” of weak and the disadvantaged. He called it part of our “growing culture of waste,” a situation of “exclusion and inequality” with “baneful consequences: human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labor, including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism, and international organized crime.”
Of course, directed at world leaders who give in to greedy corporate development initiatives.
But Pope made me feel guilty for being an infrequent recycler and a non-composter.
Appealed to leaders to “ensure that our institutions are truly effective in the struggle against all these scourges.”
To do that, people must be allowed to be “dignified agents of their own destiny.” Education. For girls too, he said. And at absolute minimum, social development to support a family required “lodging, labor, and land; and one spiritual name, spiritual freedom, which includes religious freedom, the right to education and other civil rights.”
And he linked it all back, to the ecological crisis which can threaten the human species.
Complex speech because of multiple audiences of varying means.
But the church isn’t t called catholic for nothing. The pope is delivering a universal message, that correcting the world’s ills is going to take real action, and not just prayer.
The pope’s view of America after speaking to Congress.
While he spoke specifically on topics like economic inequality, the environment, prison reform, and the military, there was something more general that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, of whatever faith, should be able to agree on.
Pope Francis: “You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you…”
“Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and – one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.”
Alighting from his papel plane, Pope Francis gets a little wind in his face. But it shouldn’t stop him from seeing just how Asian American his U.S. flock has become.
Filipinos at 2.2 million are the largest Asian American group of U.S. Catholics. But the smaller groups like the Burmese Americans, a growing refugee community are growing throughout the U.S.
The pope was smiling when he saw the president at Andrews Air Force Base. No doubt the Iran deal that the pope helped broker will come up. But as the pope mixes with the politicos, I think his June encyclical on global warming and the call for a new politics that protects what he calls “our common home,” will make it into his comments before Congress and the U.N.
As for tonight, he gets to rest. Maybe he’ll watch the season 2 premier of “Fresh Off the Boat”?