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[EDUCATION] Rep. calls for better funding of Asian-American studies at UT

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  • chiayuan25
    Rep. calls for history preservation Rep. calls for better funding of Asian-American studies at UT By Delaney Hall (Daily Texan Staff) June 09, 2003 Rep. Martha
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 10, 2003
      Rep. calls for history preservation
      Rep. calls for better funding of Asian-American studies at UT
      By Delaney Hall (Daily Texan Staff)
      June 09, 2003

      Rep. Martha Wong R-Houston, the only Asian-American member of the
      Texas Legislature, met with city employees Friday to discuss
      insufficient political representation of Asian-Americans and the
      importance of preserving cultural history.
      Wong, a UT alumna, was the keynote speaker at a celebration of
      Asian/Pacific-American Heritage month, hosted by the Asian-American
      Employees Network, a support alliance for Asian-American city
      employees. In addition to celebrating Asian culture, the event called
      attention to issues facing the Asian community in Austin.

      Wong emphasized the importance of electing an Asian-American to the
      Austin City Council and encouraged community members to support the
      Asian-American Studies program at the University.

      Asian-Americans have a long history in Texas, but it hasn't been well-
      recorded, Wong said.

      "We need to get that history down pretty quick because many of our
      elders are dying, and we're not going to have access to it for much
      longer," she said.

      Wong suggested adding a line-item to the budget next session to help
      fund the Asian-American Studies program at the University.

      "I'd like to collaborate with the Asian-American Studies program to
      develop a written history of Asians' contributions in Texas. We've
      got a long history here," Wong said. "The Asian-American Studies
      program has had to beg, borrow and steal in order to subsist. And the
      University has a very well-funded African-American Studies program
      and Hispanic-American Studies program."

      Although there has been a large influx of Asian-Americans into Austin
      in recent years, political representation has not kept pace, said
      Bhaskara Reddi, board member and co-chair of the AAEN.

      "Especially with the high tech boom, a lot of Asians have been drawn
      to Austin, but there aren't very many involved in city government,"
      Reddi said. "Representation is still not great. The city has
      developed a plan to hire 3 percent Asian-American employees. We're at
      about 2 percent now; around 350 to 400 city employees."

      Wong emphasized the need to have an Asian-American working at a
      higher level within the city government.

      According to a study conducted by the UT department of Asian-American
      Studies, Texas has the fourth-largest population of Asians within the
      United States and yet Asians hold few elected offices in the state.

      "I encourage you to tap the resources that the Asian community has,"
      Wong told the crowd of about 500. "We have outstanding professors at
      UT; we have people who own companies within the city; we have
      talented engineers; and yet, we've not had one Asian-American elected
      to the Austin City Council."

      Wong was the first Asian-American school principal in Houston, the
      first Asian-American to be elected to the Houston City Council and
      the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the Texas
      Legislature, said Vince Cobalis, AAEN committee member.

      Not since Thomas Jefferson Lee of San Antonio became a state
      representative in the 1960s has an Asian-American been a member of
      the legislature, Wong said.

      Wong also addressed the persistence of a "glass ceiling" that
      prevents some Asian-Americans from reaching higher levels within
      their workplaces.

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