I've been struggling to to write about Asian Pacific American Heritage month. I was going back and forth on whether to write about little known history on Asian Americans or just what that term means to me. This changed two days ago when I found out about the news on the passing of Dr. Ronald Takaki.
In case you don't know, Dr. Takaki was a poineer. He was an innovative scholar who asked us the question "how do you know what you know, you know what you know?" Dr. Takai re-shaped the American History by fighting the master narrative. Most importantly, he was the Godfather for Ethnic Studies and the father of Asian American History.
I was not fortunate take his class. However, I got the chance to meet Dr. Takaki once when he came to Northeastern for a lecture back in 2007. He was really nice and jolly for man who has fought for justice all his life. During his lecture, I specifically remembered one line that stood out to me "we must comprehen the world before he can start changing the world."
After the lecture, I faciliated a discussion where he sat down and listened to me speak. I almost peed in my pants because here is the legendary Ronald Takaki listening to this 19 year old talk about Asian America. After the event, Dr. Takaki came up to me and told me that I did a good job. That moment was almost unreal to me.
But finding out that he passed was unreal to me too. I have plan to visit the West Coast one day and maybe send him an email asking for his advice as to what I should do with my interest in Asian American history. Now, it's too late. He was and still is my academia idol. A man who gave Asian Americans the closest thing to a history. He was a fighter for justice, a man who touched the lives of thousands just by listening to him speak once. He was jolly but at the same time, he was fighting his own demons. However, I want to thank Dr. Takaki for everything that he is done.
Rest in Power Dr. Takaki, I am forever grateful.
Also Rest in Power to all of the Asian American Freedom Fighters who passed away recently. We are suppose to celebrate our heritage month yet we lost so many poineers along the way.
Richard Aoki, Mr. Manong Al Robles, Dr. Ronald "Ten Toes Takaki and Professor Him Mark Lai may you all Rest in Power as we continue to carry on your traditions.