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June 4, 2013 > Growing Up Asian in America

Growing Up Asian in America

Growing Up Asian in America, a signature program of the Asian Pacific Fund, is one of the largest celebrations of Asian heritage in America. It serves as a community resource, helping people of all backgrounds better understand the experiences of young Asian Americans and learn more about life in a place as diverse as the San Francisco Bay Area.

An annual art and essay contest is a forum for students to explore what it means to be Asian American and express how they feel about who they are and where their families came from.

Every year, around 1,000 Bay Area students in grades kindergarten through 12 submit artwork, essays, poems - and now video - on a specific theme. Finalists win cash awards and other prizes.

This year, Fremont 6th grade student Divya Jay Prakash was awarded first place in the essay contest in her age category. Her essay on the theme of "If I Were President" follows:


The Asian-American Renaissance
By Divya Prakash

The humility and simplicity of Gandhi, the raw moral courage that characterized Martin Luther King Junior, wisdom and introspection of Confucius and integrity that was Abraham Lincoln.

All have been brought up in different countries, in different homes and situations, but in the same world with its myriad of ideas. They all faced adversity growing up, like wind and storms pushing down the small seedlings which had begun to sprout. But they struggled their way up, until the flower of their teachings bloomed, and its fragrance and beauty spread to those around them.

The wisdom that spread through their ideas knows no bounds, does not discriminate ethnicities and races. Wisdom can reach every corner of this world. The teachings of these philosophical men can intersect to form a prosperous nation. If I were President, I would see myself as an important link in the global village that is our world.

As an Asian-American, I often struggle with my own mind. My Asian heritage and the American way I grew up are always pushing and pulling at each other. But in my deepest thoughts, I realize that these ideas do not really contradict, but rather complement each other. Though not everyone may know it, the success of a nation does not depend on whether the ideas it is based on originated in the nation itself.

The Asian principle of filial piety can enhance Dr. King's ideal of mutual respect and unconditional love. The Western principle of individual equality can lead to the Asian teaching that all men are equal in divine eyes. The confluence of east and west will usher in the Asian-American Renaissance... a period of collective knowledge and enlightenment.

The Gandhi and Confucius in me are my silent guides. They tell me I cannot live in a grand mansion while the lady down the street is struggling to make ends meet. I would be the president who does not live in the White House, but the president who helps feed the homeless in his neighborhood; the president who lives next to the immigrant from Mexico, who struggles to make an honest living in this new country. I would be the president who lives like the people, with the people, and for the people.

The Lincoln and King in me guide me on my path in leading this country to liberty affirmation, and leading the citizens to realize their bold streaks of individuality, and the spirit of resistance they possess within them.

As a great guru once said,

"If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world."

If I had the privilege of being the President of the United States of America, I promise to bring righteousness to the heart, and peace in the world.

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