Charlotte Kiang – Class President at Wellesley College

Wellesley, MA and New York, NY

As a passionate Taiwanese American woman, I strive to express my beliefs through my actions, rather than merely words, every day. Someday, I hope to represent the Taiwanese American community on the national political stage.

kiang.charlotte2Who are you?

My name is Charlotte Kiang and I am a nineteen-year-old, second-generation Taiwanese American, born and raised in New York City. I am currently a freshman at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where I am hoping to double major in English and Political Science. While my childhood taught me to be largely “colorblind” (essentially, to ignore all differences in race, gender, class, and the like) –my recent experience in Wellesley’s actively diverse community has taught me what it truly means to be both a woman and a Taiwanese American in today’s fast-paced society. In true Wellesley spirit, this has galvanized me to fight for visibility on both accounts, and in the process to gain pride in my multifaceted identity.

What do you do?

At Wellesley, I served as president of the Class of 2013 this past year and was recently re-elected for a second term. I am a fearless fighter, and a passionate activist: outside of classes and student government, I am active in many cultural and community service organizations, such as Wellesley’s Taiwanese Cultural Organization, Habitat for Humanity, and numerous youth tutoring programs. This summer, I will be interning at Planned Parenthood, where I will work with Massachusetts State government to advocate for my pro-choice beliefs. I am a strong believer in Wellesley’s motto: “non ministrari, sed ministrare” (not to be ministered unto, but to minister). As a passionate Taiwanese American woman, I strive to express my beliefs through my actions, rather than merely words, every day. Someday, I hope to represent the Taiwanese American community on the national political stage.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I am proud to represent the country that my parents came from, and whose population has overcome so many struggles to get to where it is today. I am proud that Taiwan, despite being a relatively small country, has built itself such a prominent, tight-knit community among its American immigrants and their children. The most active Asian cultural organizations at Wellesley are Taiwanese Cultural Organization, Korean Students’ Association, Chinese Students’ Association, and Japan Club. Taiwan has a significantly smaller population than the other three countries –but it can still compete!  And I love that Taiwanese identity is strong enough to sustain that effort.

What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

Taiwanese Americans are already a highly diverse, accomplished group: from Min Kao to Lucy Liu, we represent everyone from Forbes-featured businessmen to red-carpet actresses. Moving forward, I hope that we will continue this trend in breadth of successes, and that we can expand on it even further to include more recognizable faces in American politics and social change.

Any additional information you would like to share?

One thing I really love about Wellesley College is that it sells Bubble Tea at its Campus Center –which, along with a bunch of other solid foods that I don’t know how to translate into English, is an AMAZING Taiwanese delicacy. Also, I’ve owned an “I Wear Bubble Tees” shirt since middle school, but until today I had no idea it was from this website!

Someday, I also hope to spend enough time in Taiwan to gain true fluency in Mandarin (and possibly Taiwanese) –something I regret not having already accomplished.

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