Dr. David Ramirez’s Opening Keynote Speech:
To be empowered, we must have:
• Identity: sense of competence
• Belonging: sense of place
• Direction: sense of values
• Future: sense of possibilities
Our sources of risk are also our sources of strength. Our challenge is to provide our children with an education that will empower by strengthening our:
By turning our sources of risk into strength, we can prepare ourselves and our children to become the ideal 21st Century Citizens which are:
• Information literate
• Technological literate
• Democratic citizen
Dr. Delia Pompas, Executive Director of OBEMLA, shared the good news of President Clinton's proclamation of May as the Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month.
"Like millions of others who left their homelands to come to America, the first Asian and Pacific Island immigrants who arrived here in the 19th century were seeking a better life than the one they left behind. Many were poor; many had suffered oppression; but all were strengthened by a rich culture, an ancient heritage, a belief in freedom's promise, and a willingness to work for their share of the American Dream…."
"…Today, Asian and Pacific Americans are helping to build a vibrant America. They are leaders in medical and scientific research, in the halls of Congress, in the classrooms of our educational institutions, in business, labor, the arts, and every other human endeavor. They are building economic and technological bridges across the Pacific and beyond, which will ensure America's leadership well into the next millennium. These sons and daughters of Cambodia, China, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and so many other Asian and Pacific lands have enriched our national life and culture with their energy and talents, with their commitment to family and community, and with their enduring reverence for freedom. "
"As we approach the 21st century, Asian and Pacific Americans are playing an increasingly important role in the life of our Nation, helping us to maintain our leadership in the global economy," the President said. "More important, they are inspiring us to embrace the wider world, to recognize and appreciate the blessing of our great diversity, and to become one America."
Dr. Neil Thao, Illinois School Board Member, offered his wise words:
"When my children asked ‘Why do you and grandparents always told us to study hard and become a doctor, lawyer or engineer as if that’s all we could be?’ I replied to them, “You’ve got to understand and translate it into what it really means. To us, that’s all the careers we know that provide a good living and helping others. That’s all we’ve been exposed to. But, you, young people like you, know of other professions that you enjoy doing which also provide a decent life and opportunities to help others. You don’t have to take it literally. What we meant to say is that you must study hard to contribute back to the society, supporting your family and serving others, too."
Regina Lee, Senior Advisor to the President on the President’s Race Initiative:
" The President's Initiative on Race is America's initiative on race. President Clinton is asking all Americans to take part in this important opportunity by participating in efforts that foster constructive dialogue and positive action. At the same time, the President's plan is:
• Continuing to develop policies that ensure opportunity and fairness for all
• Engaging Americans in a broad and constructive dialogue on race
• Highlighting Promising Practices that are working
• Recruiting Leaders
• Focusing on the youth of America
• Working with the Race Advisory Board
• Preparing a report including an assessment of the growing diversity of our
And finally, our Multinational/Multiethnic/Multicultural Banquet that included fabulous foods, traditional music and dances, showcased of our traditional and national outfits, dresses and their background histories. The most enjoyable aspect of this event was that it was organized and participated actively by conference attendees.