My mom and dad always dreamed that one day I would get to speak at Harvard.
I don't think this is quite how they imagined it.
I think they would have preferred I come up to Harvard Square speaking about medicine, or maybe law. Preferably with a big degree next to my name.
But they didn't care about my education because they wanted status, or bragging rights about their model son. They cared about my education because they loved me, and wanted me to be the best person I could be. That is why when I told them that I wanted to be a writer, and showed them my talent, they supported me all the way, and told me I could do it.
So I spent the majority of 2018 researching and publishing articles and videos about the Asian-American experience on national publications like The Federalist and The Daily Signal. Opportunity after opportunity came and I took them. And now I am here in front of an amazing audience - thank you. Thank you to everyone who lends their support to this movement.
But, ladies and gentlemen, I want to focus on this word I mentioned here that has defined so much of my life: opportunity.
Like many immigrant families, my mom and dad came to these American shores in search of opportunity. And I think we can all agree that nowhere is opportunity greater than from a great education.
I think this is why we care so much what's happening here at Harvard. Because the higher education world takes its cues from Harvard. If Harvard says something is acceptable, people listen. Even if that something is discrimination.
When I started writing about the Asian-American lawsuit against Harvard for illegal and discriminatory racial balancing practices, I did not realize how pervasive these practices have become. In my articles on The Federalist and The Daily Signal, I just kept unearthing more places where institutions see "too many Asians."
It's not just here in Harvard. It's in New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to crack down on Asian-American admissions to his specialized schools. It's in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, where the school board authorized a program that cut the number of Asian-Americans admitted to its gifted program in half.
So many of us look at these stories and say: "how sad." So many of us hear about Harvard rating our personalities as the worst of all races, and hang our heads and say "nothing we can do about it." That would be the comfortable thing to do.
But, my friends, we have a choice. We can accept our fate - or we can exercise our solemn right as Americans to congregate, to assemble, and to speak out.
Ladies and gentlemen, we're not here to file a lawsuit. Our legacy to our children and to ourselves does not rest on a court decision - and I believe that Mr. Ed Blum, who graciously invited me here, would agree.
No, our legacy rests on what we do here, from this spot at Harvard Square.
It means mobilizing to our own communities, informing them of why we stand up to Harvard - because we believe that every man and woman in America has a constitutional right to equal treatment under the law.
It means reaching out to people of other races, and convincing them why having an admissions process based on merit is better for them than one predicated on false and exclusive notions of so-called "diversity."
It means starting local organizations holding our own colleges and school boards accountable to provide a fair and unbiased system.
While I wrote for The Daily Signal, I met a group of Asian-American activists who organized themselves into a grassroots organization called the Association for Education Fairness.
Many of them are immigrants by blood, but all of them are Americans by heart. Many of them are parents who put their entire lives into their children's success, because they love them. And these are the parents who are told point blank by Harvard that their children's success is worth less than the children of others.
Ladies and gentlemen, this isn't about getting into college. This is about something much bigger. That's why the nation is watching us today. Because they understand that the future of civil rights practiced in America could be at stake. We have a chance to set an example, a guiding light for the rest of the nation to follow.
I believe that we've reached a turning point in Asian-American activism. No longer will we fall prey to those who want to silence us. Let us extend our voices across the nation and show the world that Harvard is just the beginning.
This is our chance to lead. I suggest we take it. "
I was so proud of these student speakers. Their names are:
Tyrell Brown, Harrison Chen, Roman Khondker, and Jacob Verrey. If I missed someone, allow me to apologize in advance.