tv Asian Pacific America with Robert Handa NBC September 17, 2017 5:30am-6:01am PDT
robert handa: hello, and welcome to "asian pacific america." i'm robert handa, your host for our show here on nbc bay area and cozi tv. we start our show with a man being honored soon for decades of community service in education, local, state, and federal government. long-time congressman mike honda joins us, very special because we have known each other since i was a kid at sunnyvale high school, and he was a counselor and teacher there. it's also a time for celebrating one of the nation's largest asian-american organizations, aaci, asian-americans for community involvement. we will showcase one of its youth programs today. then another celebration, the chinese historical and cultural project and its 30th anniversary, preserving the history of chinese-americans in the santa clara valley. and we looked at women of impact and the school promoting the
role women have played in history. notre dame high school in san jose, a place that also develops women of impact. all that on our show today. well, mike honda is one of the most recognized and beloved members of the community, a bay area boy who graduated from san jose high school, then san jose state, before going into teaching, then the peace corps, then becoming an educator, a school board member, county supervisor, assemblyman, and then seven terms as congressman. and yet, for all of that, i know him mainly as a mentor in high school and a man who performed my wedding ceremony, and did a darn good job of it. welcome to the show. mike honda: it was scary doing that. robert: yes, well, arlene and i are still married, so it was a successful ceremony. mike: well, it was a beautiful, beautiful ceremony. robert: well, thank you very much for being here. it's good to see you. mike: it's a pleasure, thank you. robert: tell me something, now, first of all, you're going to south korea soon, so what's that going to be like for you? what are you going to do there? mike: well, i'll be there as an advisor for a group, tech group here, an area that's owned by
a south korean-american. it's called spark labs. and they have some--they funded some groups in south korea, and they've got groups in australia and other places. and i thought it'd be--they wanted me to meet some of the folks that they're investing in in south korea. they're both accelerator groups. robert: life away from public life, not really that slow, is it, for you? mike: no, it hasn't been, but it's an application of the things that i've learned as a policy maker, applying it in another area in terms of interpersonal and, you know, utilizing my insights that i've gained in the job. robert: you know, it's funny because, as i was reading over your credits, and you've gone through so many different, not only just careers, but just different areas of expertise. but you started basically as an educator. when you were, like, a school principal and doing all those things, did a life in politics and public life and everything,
did you see that ahead even as a possibility then? mike: no, not to the extent that i would be in congress. but i always thought that teaching was politics. in fact, i used to tell youngsters that, you know, if you're a firstborn male in an asian family, that's politics. and it's a different politics than being the firstborn female. and so, politics in a sense that it's about people and being with people was something that was a common thread in my experience. robert: and of course being able to observe it through all this time. one of the things i always remember too is that, particularly at every stage, you were sort of not drafted into it, but people kind of came to you to try to get you to do these things, whether it was at the county level, then the state level, and then congress. people were always coming to you to try to get you to do it. was that like--what was that like to be kind of courted that way? mike: well, i'm not sure that i was drafted all the time.
i mean, when i ended up teaching at sunnyvale high school, i had a mentor, paul sakamoto, who was the principal who had left. and so, since i left peace corps, i tried to look at different people, and extract from them, and learn from them skills that i wanted to be able to internalize. so, when i was at sunnyvale high, i tell this to the public, that you're--the first class during the summer that i taught science to, and it was about that time that we saw the landing of us flag on the moon. but the real story for me was-- [cell phone ringing] robert: your public life is interfering here with our show. mike: i thought i had turned it off. the real story was that when i met you and a couple of asian-american students in that science class in the summertime, you had destroyed everything that was stereotypical of a student. you know, you were outgoing, you were kind of a leader in the
group, you were funny. and i just had to, you know, move with that and understand that our youngsters were different. robert: yeah, you're an interesting kind of a person too because one of the things that people may not be aware necessarily is that you're bilingual in spanish, and you were actually the advisor for the chicano student union at the school, which was to me kind of, like, mind-blowing that you were the head of the biggest latino student group. and also kind of made it for me easier to kind of meld sort of the minorities culture versus so separate as it is. mike: that's why i chose sunnyvale high school to teach in because it was pretty much like san jose high school. very diverse, but also took what i've learned as a graduate student at san jose state, starting the eop program, and understanding that the coalition building, and paying attention to communities like ours and like
our own history, and applying that insight is very helpful. robert: real quickly 'cause i know we can talk about this forever, but what's your take about the trump administration and the way the political climate is right now? mike: it's very--at first, i thought here's a guy that's a ceo trying to run a country, a democratic country with different players of equal power as if he were the ceo of the country. robert: yeah, that was best case scenario. mike: the other is he's unfettered in what he wants to do on his twitter, and it sort of precipitates a lot of things that make us a little concerned. [cell phone ringing] robert: that's mr. trump calling you right now, in fact. mike: yeah, he's saying it's untrue. robert: it's a divisive kind of, though, attitude, huh? mike: well, he's said things that are divisive, but i think that in that effort, it was an opportunity for a lot of us in this country to come together around.
and i think one of the lessons we learned is that not only are people of color who are poor, but also white folks who are poor, that we need to engage them also in this effort to become part of this country. robert: all right, and you come back for a full show sometime, okay? all right, great seeing you. all right, well, you can hear more from mike at a salute to mike, a champion for all people, a san jose jacl celebration dinner, october 21 at 6 p.m. at the holiday inn san jose silicon valley. our colleague mike inouye will be the emcee. for more details, you can go to nbcbayarea.com. and coming up, a youth program from aaci, asian-americans for community involvement, as well as more on the group's upcoming celebration, so stay with us.
to j.p. morgan investment expertise can help you. robert: well, coming up on october 7, aaci, asian-americans for community involvement, will hold its annual celebration as one of the biggest and most important community groups in the bay area. one of their innovative youth programs is called amplify.
amplify stands for arts and media promoting leadership initiatives for youth. joining me to talk about it is howard louie, the program coordinator for amplify, as well as ken hinh, a program participant. welcome to the show. howard lui: hi, thanks for having us. robert: good to see you again. give me sort of an overview of what amplify is. howard: yeah, so amplify is an arts and media program for youth ages 10 to 18. we're a free program, and basically, you know, we teach them all sorts of arts and media. it can range from like arts and crafts all the way to, like, photography and video production. robert: mm-hmm, obviously arts and media is a pretty important topic for us on our show. why do you think it's an important one for the community? howard: i mean, one of the main focuses that we basically teach the youth is really developing a voice, and how to use that voice to be something positive in your community. robert: how about you, ken? tell us a little bit about how you got started in the program, as well as what you're kind of getting out of it. ken hinh: so, an advisor came to my school to outreach to my school about this program.
and i thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to participate in using my resources in the community to help my community. and by using these resources, i hope to become a voice for my community. and in addition to that, boof or amplify provides a sort of safe space for me to feel confident to be creative and express myself. robert: that's right, you have to develop. give me an idea of what do you want to do. how do you want to be a voice? ken: so, i want to be a voice in my community by, you know, outreaching to my community members, and talking to a lot of politicians, and having these community events. and by having awareness of certain issues, such as problem gambling or using these sorts of arts and media to outreach in my community. robert: yeah, yeah, arts and media is kind of the way for youth, right? i mean, that's the way they want to communicate. that's the way they want to get messages across, huh? howard: oh yeah, definitely like social media and digital
media in general is just everywhere now. robert: yeah, what do you find that you have to do maybe like in terms, are there any sort of cultural barriers or anything that you have to kind of overcome, maybe a hesitation to get into that, you know, realm? what are some of the things that you have to kind of do to target and help these youngsters? howard: i mean, i wouldn't say there's too many cultural barriers per se. i mean, i think it's really first grabbing their attention, just that it's something else to do besides, you know, hanging out. yeah, i don't know, i think-- robert: they have a natural interest in it, do you think? howard: to an extent. i mean, i think nowadays, so many youth have, you know, smartphones. i mean, they're definitely--we play with photography, so it's on us to kind of teach them how to use-- robert: kind of orienting them toward, though, kind of using it to be a voice, right? howard: yes. robert: yeah, did you have trouble doing it, or was that--was it something that sort of came natural to you? ken: so, coming into this program, i really had little experience that dealt with media and using
these sorts of media equipment. but my wonderful mentor, howard, and a lot of these other mentors at amplify really helped me and inspired me to pursue these films and creative projects. robert: all right, where do you want to see the program go from here? howard: i mean, i would definitely love to see the program keep growing. i would to eventually, you know, have our own studio where, you know, we can invite, you know, community members and really do more collaborative projects. robert: all right, well, we'll keep monitoring your program and see how it's going, okay? all right, you'll be a voice later for us later, okay? okay, thanks for being here. howard: thank you. robert: well, aaci's big night, better together: a night for dreams, is coming october 7 at the computer history museum in mountain view from 6 p.m. to 9. i will be emceeing the event, so come help us celebrate. for more information, go to nbcbayarea.com. and when we come back, the chinese historical and cultural center 30th anniversary.
of the chinese historical and cultural project. due to nbc coverage of hurricane irma, the segment was preempted on nbc bay area, though it did run on cozi tv. fortunately, it's still timely, so here it is. robert: it's the 30th year of the chinese historical and cultural project, and i know that because i emceed the very first fundraiser with my friend rick quan when we were both babies. and joining me now are two ladies who were also babies when they started, the incomparable gerrye wong, the cofounder of the chcp, a fourth generation chinese-american from san jose and oakland. she is an author as well as a columnist with on the scene asian week newspaper. and her blog, dingdingtv.com. and also here is a trustee of the chcp, debbie gong-guy, the daughter of the cofounder, the late great lillian gong-guy, a woman we all loved. and now, debbie is striving to continue her mother's legacy, and she's the ideal one to do it with her deep roots in the
community, including two degrees from stanford university. welcome to the show. gerrye wong: thank you for having us. robert: it's been 30 years, huh? gerrye: i can't believe it's been 30 years. robert: what do you remember about it all starting and where you ended up now? gerrye: well, it all started on a day with--when i was with her mother at a parking lot, and an archaeologist had told us they found some things in the digging of the fairmont hotel. and they said, "we found chinese artifacts. what can we do with them?" and we said, "well, we have to have something and someplace." and that became the chinese historical and cultural project. we said, "we're going to preserve those artifacts, and we're going to have to put them in a museum." robert: did you remember your mother getting that--having that revelation of this needs to be something that needs to get started? debbie gong-guy: yes, i do remember that happening. and in fact, the archaeologist that was working on the dig was a patient of my father's, so it was quite a coincidence. and she was very excited about it. robert: and how about for you? what do you feel like you bring to the project now, maybe a little bit more of a modern, more younger perspective?
debbie: i think so. and i think having seen everything that my mom did and all the work that she did, and quite honestly, i wasn't really that involved with preserving the culture as much as she tried to educate, you know, us kids. but certainly a greater appreciation for what she did, and a great appreciation for what we can do for the community in sharing the culture and the history. robert: gerrye, i kind of feel that way watching it over the years, the community growing more and more appreciative of their history and the culture. and it kind of needs to be preserved in order to kind of maintain and have that feeling grow, huh? gerrye: well, that's true because remember, when we started in the late 1980s, there weren't that many asian-americans in the valley. and now, we're seeing a new population of children that are
growing up asian, but they really don't know the history of the pioneers that came to california in the 1800s. robert: i mean, we have a program called growing up asian in america. and we see that a lot of young asians, they are americanized, but sooner or later, they start looking for their roots. do you feel that? debbie: yes, definitely. robert: yeah, how about for you? what have you kind of almost discovered or learned as you've become a part of this project? debbie: you know, i really have learned that there are so many different cultures within our culture. learned a lot about where people have immigrated from having grown up here as a chinese-american. i didn't really have a lot of visibility, but working on a project like this, it's a collaborative effort. and we have to bring everyone together, you know, and so that's really something that i've learned. robert: in fact, speaking of bringing everybody together,
how are you going to celebrate? i'm going to be there, but how--what's the big plan for the celebration? gerrye: well, we're of course going to have it at the fairmont hotel, which was the site of the first chinatown that was in san jose and was burned down mysteriously. so, of course we felt we had to go back to that root, and we're going to have a big event on september 23 celebrating the 30th year that her mother and i cofounded this group. and since then, our museum has been shown to thousands of schoolchildren who have come on tours. robert: and you've got some honorees. gerrye: yes, we want wonderful role models that we wanted to highlight. and we have dr. albert and anna wang, who founded a group called friends of children with special needs, which are autistic and disability children. and now, they said they started with 6 families who were interested, and 15 years later, they serve 600 families in 2 centers. robert: wow, looking forward to the event, and congratulations on making this organization grow. thank you very much for your contributions
to keeping it going. both: thank you. robert: again, the event, our legacy lives on: educating the voices of tomorrow, will be help september 23 from 5:30 to 9:30 at the fairmont san jose. i'll be there, and again, the honorees will be dr. albert and anne wang, as well as michelle liu, kristi yamaguchi, and the peter yee family. for more details, you can go to nbcbayarea.com. well done. next up, notre dame high school of san jose and its upcoming women of impact luncheon. stay with us.
notre dame high school in san jose has a national reputation for creating and developing women of impact. so, appropriately, santa clara county's oldest school is having a luncheon to celebrate women of impact. with me now to talk about it is deenna holohan, director of college counseling, and also with us is pearlin liu, a student at notre dame high school. welcome to the show. deenna holohan: thank you so much for having us. robert: give us a brief history of notre dame. deenna: sure, notre dame is the oldest young women's
institution west of the mississippi, founded in 1851. we're a catholic high school with about 100--about 650 students. and our focus and foundation has always been social justice issues. and one of the fantastic things about being a young women's institution is that all of our young women get to be leaders. and all of the leaders on our campus are women, so our scholars are women, our athletes are women, and it just gives women an opportunity to grow into themselves as leaders. robert: it's like we were talking in the other segment about people having a voice rather than just, you know, standing back. deenna: exactly. robert: pearlin, give me an idea here in terms of for you, how has the school sort of helped you become a woman of impact? pearlin liu: right, so right as i came into notre dame, i wasn't really sure of, like, what to expect with the curriculum. i kind of just expected it to be, you know, your standard high school classes.
but right off the bat, they started us with a community service project that kind of continues on to our senior year. and basically, we work with different types of communities. so, freshmen year, we start with children. and then it moves on toward senior year, where we finally pick a subject that we're most passionate about, and then we give a presentation on it senior year. so, i wasn't really expecting that coming in, but i definitely feel as if i've become a woman of impact as i've developed through the past 4 years. and i think i see, like, things on the media that i so desperately want to change, and it just feels so inaccessible. but going to notre dame, being a leader feels accessible, it feels tangible, and i know i can do it just with the fabulous curriculum, and teachers, and support that i have. robert: is that what you ended up picking as sort of what you wanted to focus on and talk about in your senior year? pearlin: yeah, so my senior service learning project is about female education, specifically public speaking.
because i'm an active member of the speech and debate team, i thought it'd be only fitting to kind of bring what i've learned at notre dame over towards, like, less---like more disadvantages communities, as well as my own community as well, so i've taught classes at my local middle school and also at sacred heart over in downtown san jose. so, i got to see lots of different types of girls as they're growing up, and get to share experiences with them, which is really nice. robert: i think one of the things that i've always been impressed about notre dame is that you're not really sort of pushing them into doing something. you sort of help them find what it is that they want to be passionate about, huh? deenna: exactly, our goal is to have students have career and life success. and one of the things that is what we would like the community to partner with us is finding opportunities and more opportunities for women to be leaders in our community, to amplify women's leadership in san jose. robert: and growing up with two sisters, as well as having a daughter, it still is something that needs
to be pushed, isn't it? the world isn't still geared to helping that way, is it? do you find it that way? pearlin: i definitely agree. i think just with the way, especially with modern politics now, it's really hard--it's easy to get or to feel discouraged, and think that you don't have a voice. but i think at notre dame, i've been able to find my voice and really see who i can become and what potential i have as a leader, and as a female leader specifically, and how much potential my classmates have as well. it's just this community of really supportive, loving girls, that we really support each other. and as an only child, this has just been really incremental for my development and success. robert: well, that's fantastic. thank you very much for being here. good luck on your luncheon and your continued success. good luck changing the world, okay? well, the women of impact luncheon put on by notre dame high school will take place october 5 at the san jose convention center, spotlighting the role women have played in history, and honoring some of them in the
community now, so don't miss it. and you can get more information about the notre dame event, as well as all the other celebrations we've talked about today. just go to our website, nbcbayarea.com, or also on social media, twitter, and facebook. who isn't? so, check us out and tell us what you think. and that's it for our show. please join us again next week and every week here on "asian pacific america." we appreciate you checking us out. thanks for watching. ♪ cc by aberdeen captioning 1-800-688-6621 abercap.com
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it's just a mess. it's just one big mess. >> we could do things in a bipartisan matter that will be great. >> i think it shows i would have won. >> the future of the smartphone. good morning welcome to "sunday today" on this september 17th, i'm willie geist. another busy sunday morning at the end of a busy week as president trump pursues an agenda with the help of democrats. we'll talk to chuck todd and kristen welker in a moment about whether or not we'll see more after that worst of bipartisanship. and overnight there were violent protests in st. louis following the acquittal of a white former police officer in the fatal shooting of an afr