Naomi Hsu – Ph.D. Candidate and Resident Census Expert

Hercules, CA

I am proud of the pioneers of Taiwanese America who laid the foundations and built the infrastructure for a community that spans city, county and state borders, and that is woven into the American political context.

hsu.naomi3Who are you?

I was born in Taiwan, but my family emigrated to the U.S. when I was one.  I grew up mostly in southern California but also lived for a few years in Pennsylvania and had brief stints in Connecticut and Taiwan.  I went to college at UCLA and am now in graduate school at UC Berkeley.  My husband, James, and I live in the East Bay of Northern California.

What do you do?

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department at UC Berkeley, where I am (or claim to be) riding out the recession by working on my dissertation at a strategically leisurely pace.  In the Taiwanese American community, I have served as a Taiwanese American Citizens League’s Leadership in Development (TACL-LID) camp counselor, a TACL Political Internship Program mentor, an at-large member of the TACL National Board, and a campaigner for the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Censuses. If I had more free time, I would enjoy learning new languages and traveling around the world. For the time being, I appease my wanderlust by grubbing in San Francisco’s J-Town, K-Town, French Quarter, Little Italy, Mission District, etc.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I am proud of the early Taiwanese activists who valiantly struggled, often enduring unthinkable sacrifices in the process, to dismantle the yokes of oppression, discrimination, and stigma that deprived the majority of Taiwan’s population of freedom, justice and dignity.  I am proud of the pioneers of Taiwanese America who laid the foundations and built the infrastructure for a community that spans city, county and state borders, and that is woven into the American political context.

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

The Taiwanese America I envision is one in which all Taiwanese Americans are knowledgeable about the origins of their collective identity, and in turn educate others about that identity, breaking down misconceptions and building understanding.  I also envision a Taiwanese America that adopts the justice-oriented spirit of the original activists in Taiwan and directs it towards social activism in the U.S., working collaboratively with other communities who share similar visions.

Any additional information you would like to share?

I make a mean goo-bah-mi, and my yu-bung’s not bad, either!  Taiwan pi-jo rocks! (Okay, not really, but I had to say it!)

hsu.naomi1

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