Keynote Speech: The Power of Unity— We Belong!
In September of 2021, I was invited to speak at the 2021 National Civic Leadership Forum hosted by the Asian American Unity Coalition (AAUC).
Opening speakers included Dr. S. K. Lo, President of AAUC, Mr. Andrew Yang, American Entrepreneur & Politician and Ms. Linda Sarsour, American Political Activist. I had the honor to be the keynote speaker.
The theme of the forum was The Power of Unity — We Belong. I shared my experiences and lessons learned.
Collectively we, the Asian Americans, are just over 7% of the US population. However, the largest group, people of Chinese heritage, is barely over 1%. Small numbers, even though we are growing rapidly. If we don’t speak as the seven percenters … no one will hear the voice of the one percenters.
This will only happen, if the leaders and the boards of all the hundreds of different Asian American groups are willing to work together. My personal experience says that the biggest hurdle is our egos. We are willing to work together, but only if we lead and others follow us. This must change. We can’t compete with each other, and pull each other down like crabs. We must…must… leverage each other to achieve our full potential and help close the opportunity gap for others.
Reminds me of an old story from the epic …Mahabharata. There were five brothers called Pandavas who constantly competed with each other. One day their guru gave them each a wooden stick to break. They all broke their sticks easily. He then took five sticks and tied them together and then none of them could break the bunch. The simple moral of the story is that individually we may feel challenged but collectively no one can break us. Let’s look around us and draw strength from each other’s success. To quote President Obama, “Our stories are singular…but our destiny is shared!”
The speech was recorded by AAUC and is available on YouTube for public viewing. Please click on this link for the presentation.
S. K. Gupta is a former senior executive of a Fortune 50 corporation. He enjoys researching and writing about not-so-obvious things in life. Feedback welcome. sk.gupta.us at gmail dot com.