The Basics: Mr. Vo is the only Vietnamese-American to ever be elected to the Texas legislature. A Democratic representative, his District includes parts of west Houston. Born in South Vietnam, he moved to America to avoid the community government there. He endorsed a program in 2014 that would allow food stamp users a wider variety of places to eat by opening up their usage at some restaurants.
Why I Chose Them: It’s an achievement to be a minority and become an elected official in this country, but an almost miracle to become one in a state like Texas. That alone makes this man worthy of coverage. Representation is important and it always will be. Even when I may not agree with every aspect of a person’s politics I’m still always happy to see when inclusion is at work.
The Basics: One of America’s most well-known authors, the Chinese-American Oakland native writes novels that deal with the experience of the Chinese as a family unit here in America. Her first novel was The Joy Luck Club, which some may know from its movie adaptation. Her Mother’s hardships inspired the novel and served as the basis for Tan’s work moving forward. Unfortunately, she is suffering from late-stage Lyme’s disease, but still continues to write. Her last novel was released in 2013.
Why I Chose Them: I’m ashamed to say I’ve only read The Joy Luck Club and as I write this, I’m rectifying that. A woman with the caliber of work she has can’t only have one of their books read. In my mind, she’s the Maya Angelou of the Chinese-American community and say that only having read one book. She writes with such authority y and authenticity about the Chinese-American experience that you can’t ignore her. It’s poetic in how she deals with the most tragic of things and somehow finds beauty in them.
The Basics: A native of New York, Ellen Oh was a former practice of corporate and entertainment law. Of Korean-American heritage, this author has spurred calls for diversity in the publishing world and is a co-founder of the WENEEDDIVERSEBOOKS movement. Her most well-known work to date is her trilogy; The Seven Kingdoms trilogy. It smashes boundaries in speculative fiction for being written by a woman of color AND not being a European centric fantasy series. It is based on Korean history, which interestingly enough a great deal she learned through translation as she is not fluent in Korean.
Why I Chose Them: If no other reason than the founding of WENEEDDIVERSEBOOKS, Ellen Oh would be deserving of being talked about. She helped to start a conversation in literature, particularly speculative literature that has been needed for such a long time. The writing on the wall is quite simple and it’s that writers of color have to work much, much harder than their white (and usually male) counterparts to find success in the writing world. This movement has done so much for me and makes me feel like things like this very blog are worthwhile. Ellen Oh was willing to call out something that she saw as wrong and it has spurned a real movement.