Gee-Wey Yue – Youth Mentor and Young Professional Organizer

Austin, TX

As an underrepresented and often misunderstood community, I am proud to break stereotypes and be a banner bearer for my Taiwanese heritage.

yue.geewey2Who are you?

I am Gee-Wey Yue, a 22-year old recent college graduate in Austin, Texas.  My passion for youth development started when I attended Chinese Youth Camp in Houston, Texas.  I was convinced that I would become involved like the aunties and uncles helping out at the camp.  When I attended The University of Texas at Austin, I found an opportunity to do community development work through the Vietnamese Students Association, working both locally and nationally.  With the perspective I have gained on cultural parallels and common types of experiences shared by the Vietnamese and Taiwanese, I am now taking the next step to bring my own cultural experience full circle.

What do you do?

I like the idea of helping people help themselves and connecting people to one another.  Recently, I worked with student organization leaders at The University of Texas at Austin to form an Asian American umbrella organization.  I also have helped lead workshops in regional conferences like APAEC and the iTASA 2010 Midwest Conference.  I am developing a nonprofit I co-founded that focuses on bringing together and engaging Asian American alumni from The University of Texas at Austin.  In the future, I will focus more on working with high school and college students to provide leadership opportunities and develop leadership skills.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I was born and raised in a small town in Texas with a tight-knit Taiwanese community.  Since there were so few Taiwanese families, I was naturally proud to represent my Taiwanese heritage.  I am blessed that my loving parents spent the time to teach me to be fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and I am proud that I can speak to my grandparents in my native tongue.  I hope I can pass on the same gift to my children one day so they can speak with my parents.  As an underrepresented and often misunderstood community, I am proud to break stereotypes and be a banner bearer for my Taiwanese heritage.

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

I believe Taiwanese America will gain a more unique identity in the future than currently, and the different cultural pathways taken in recent years by China and Taiwan will lead more people to differentiate between the two.  I foresee more second generation Taiwanese yearning to reconnect with their heritage and visiting Taiwan for self-discovery.  I hope that there will be more college-level courses offered exploring the history of Taiwan and the journey of Taiwanese immigration to America.  I also hope more leaders of Taiwanese America will join together and be more unified.

Any additional information you would like to share?

My grandmother’s cooking is my favorite Taiwanese food, hands down.  www.asiantexasexes.org is the site of the Texas Exes Asian Alumni Network nonprofit that I helped co-found.  I like to think I defy stereotypes, like a super-hero figure with “I’m not what you think” powers.

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