“Everything is gold, everything is equal / Posted on the porch just chilling, me and my people.” — Macklemore
On Saturday, the 2022 A100 List — the annual award honoring the 100 most impactful Asians and Pacific Islanders — manifested into the first-ever Gold Gala hosted by Gold House, the leading AAPI changemaker community of cultural leaders, executives, and creatives.
The night’s theme was “A New Gold Age” to reflect the current era of unparalleled AAPI brilliance, even in the face of continued violence and racism against our community. The gala was hosted in collaboration with Meta as a continuation of their long-standing partnership to grow and celebrate AAPI voices and brands through education, access, and amplification.
The night felt surreal — from talking to others who often felt unseen, to celebrating representation in all its forms. The Asian diaspora was beautiful. The uplifting of Asian excellence and heritage was awe-inspiring. It felt truly special being part of the event, but it’s even better knowing that those who attended were willing to share their time and advice with the Above the Law audience for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022.
Although I had pages of interview notes, I want to highlight these eight quotes in particular:
Nicole Shanahan, attorney and president at Bia-Echo Foundation: Don’t worry, one day you will pay off your student loans. And don’t get too stressed out about the bar exam, make it fun and you’ll do fine. And believe it not, you’ll leverage your legal background every single day.
Andrew Yang, former attorney and founder at Forward Party: Take the unconventional path, at some point your parents will become proud of you again (see Yang’s recent Columbia Law School Commencement Address for more of his thoughts on the topic).
Michelle Wu, attorney and mayor of Boston: You belong.
Andrew Toy, president and CTO of Clover Health: Get married sooner. And don’t take anything too seriously!
Henry Golding, actor: Don’t fret about the small things, backhanded comments, and slights. Be proud of who you are. Celebrate your ancestry, both the Malaysian and British aspects. You got this kid!
Michelle Yeoh, actress: Go and get it!
Payal Kadakia, CEO and co-founder of ClassPass: Trust the universe in helping your dreams come true.
These quotes were all in response to the same question: “What would you tell your younger self?”
If you would have told me I would be an attorney who went to events where AAPIs were represented in the legal industry, media industry, and popular culture, I simply wouldn’t have believed it. Life has a funny way of continually surprising us. As the saying goes — “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans.”
To be able to celebrate Asian brilliance in the face of an increasingly hostile environment was an act of rebellion in and of itself. To be able to meet luminaries in our profession and change agents in their respective industries was truly remarkable.
I believe the brotherhood and sisterhood of the AAPI community are now bonding together more than ever and forging a united front in this atmosphere of relentless attacks. I wonder what a future me would tell myself today. I hope he would grab my shoulder and proclaim: “The best is yet to come!”
Renwei Chung is the DEI Columnist at Above the Law. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter (@fnfour), or connect with him on LinkedIn.
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