Monique Lee Hawthorne – Attorney and Sustainability Advocate

Portland, Oregon

I currently practice real estate and environmental law, but my passion is to help transform how consumers and companies view natural resources and commodities.

hawthorne.monique3Who are you?

I am a tea snob in a land where coffee is king.  I am odd and quirky, and I never shy away from a good debate about politics.  I’m married to a guy who is of mixed European ancestry.  When my parents disapproved of our relationship, I convinced my dad that by dating non-Taiwanese I would help the Taiwanese Independence Movement more because I could tell him and his family about the people of Taiwan.

I enjoy serving my community and church through volunteering to fight homelessness locally, to stop slavery and bonded labor everywhere, and to find clean sources of water globally.

What do you do?

I currently practice real estate and environmental law, but my passion is to help transform how consumers and companies view natural resources and commodities.  It’s frustrating at times, but I tell myself that if even one person I talk to thinks twice about their consumer choices, it’s a ripple in a big pond.  I’m also a huge advocate of public mass transit and using non-motorized forms of transportation.  I grew up in southern California, where all you know is the automobile.  After living in Germany and visiting Taiwanese several times throughout my life, and now finally settling in Portland, Oregon, I believe modern society has an infatuation with the automobile.  Try biking or walking anyone?

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I am a second generation Taiwanese American.  I am proud of my heritage because of what it means to be Taiwanese American.  When we self identify as Taiwanese Americans it means that we have chosen how the world should see us, as a unique culture with diverse languages and a people striving for a true democracy unwilling to walk on the big road.  I always feel an instant connection with someone else who is Taiwanese.  Why? Because we have a common understanding of who we are.  All I need from life are friends who understand my identity struggles, to feel my love for a small island country, and to share a plate of stinky tofu, bah-tzang, some mince meat with rice, and still have room for whatever comes next.

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

The future of Taiwanese America looks like you telling someone that you’re Taiwanese American without him or her correcting you with “Oh, you mean Chinese,” or exclaiming, “I love Thai food.”  The future of Taiwanese America looks like not having to check the box “other Asian.”  The future of Taiwanese America looks like the U.S. standing up to China and saying its people, the Taiwanese Americans, won’t stand for threats of violence.  The future of Taiwanese America looks like me welcoming my China-born sister-in-law into our family and sharing with her the beauty of Taiwan.

Any additional information you would like to share?

Can I just say that my favorite cuisine is Taiwanese?! I have too many favorites to just name one.

hawthorne.monique1

One Response to “Monique Lee Hawthorne – Attorney and Sustainability Advocate”

  1. Hihi Monique! do you remember me?
    I am your friend in Taipei. We met in Bakersfield and lost connections for many years!
    I miss u very much and tried to contact you in several ways.
    So great to see u here!

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