Seattle, Wash. (May 20, 2016) – The Robert Chinn Foundation inducted four honorees in the 2016 Asian Hall of Fame at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel on May 14, 2016.
The Asian Hall of Fame is a national recognition event for Asian Pacific Americans celebrating culture and achievement. The Class of 2016 honorees included Connie Chung (television journalist), Major General Antonio Taguba (United States Army, Retired), and Kristi Yamaguchi (Olympic Gold medalist, founder Always Dream Foundation, children’s author), and the late Bruce Lee (martial artist, philosopher, actor, writer, director, and founder of Jeet Kune Do) who was represented by Linda Cadwell, Bruce Lee Foundation president and founder.
The event emcee was Mimi Jung, a news anchor with KING-5, an NBC-affiliate television station in Seattle. Previous honorees in attendance included Rich Cho (2011), Dr. Connie Mariano (2011), Rick Noji (2004), Yuji Okumoto (2004), and Manu Tuiasosopo (2014). Special guest presenters included Jason Scott Lee, Andrea Mitchell, Thelma San Diego-Sevilla, and Rosalynn Sumners.
The Asian Hall of Fame was first held in 2004 with 18 honorees inducted in previous installments. Excerpts from the acceptance speeches of the four 2016 honorees:
“I’ve always considered myself Chinese – not Chinese American, as I’m not a hyphenated person.”
“In 1969, there were so few women in [journalism], the biggest barrier was being a woman and secondary was being Chinese. It was a male dominated profession. I would think and conduct myself as a white male. Today, I stand before you no longer thinking I’m a white male. I stand before you thrilled and honored to be just a Chinese girl.”
“My dad was from Suzhou and mother was from Nanjing. I have four older sisters born in China, and I was born in USA. Only I can be President.”
“I didn’t like being different from my sisters. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be Chinese, not Chinese American.”
Linda Cadwell (for Bruce Lee):
“We are so grateful to the Robert Chinn Foundation and the Pan Asian community for their recognition of the esteem Bruce Lee brought to Asia. One of his goals was to show the world the beauty of China’s culture and martial arts. He raised the esteem of Chinese men and women. He had passion, energy and belief in self and fulfilled his purpose. He influenced people to be confident in their goal setting, and be motivated to take action in their lives.”
“He was not just an actor, he was a multi-faceted person who strove for perfection in an imperfect world. He stood for peace and justice. He inspired generations with thought provoking wisdom and was a trailblazer. He studied psychology, metaphysics, philosophy, healing arts and did organic farming. He was an amazing teacher, and his legacy goes far beyond fighting fists. He was interested in how to cultivate life, rather than destroying it. He let nature take its course.”
“We thank the Robert Chinn Foundation, for recognizing Bruce who passed away 43 years ago. Bruce loved Seattle which he considered his American home town. He was born in San Francisco and named Bruce by a nurse in the hospital. He returned to China when he was three months old. He is a Chinese man who was also a western man who applied himself to learning Western ways, studied idioms and wrote in English. He started learning English at 13. He is a man of the world. He was a Seattle boy and participated greatly in Seattle.”
Major General Antonio Taguba:
“As a Pacific Islander, I felt on top of the world for being honored. Maybe my story may have possibly had an impact on young or old. I felt honored and respected to share our story to raise future leaders.”
“Being truly successful means doing good for the community and setting a standard of community giving”.
“I am Asian American at my core. I am half Japanese, half American.”
“Sometimes I didn’t feel Asian enough. Sometimes I didn’t feel Caucasian enough.”
“I am so touched…I never imagined myself being recognized with icons such as Major General Taguba, Bruce Lee, and Connie Chung. Thank you for showcasing achievements of Asian Americans. We benefit by their journeys.”
“The Asian work ethic is a connecting link between Asian groups. We are taught by parents and grandparents who enabled us to succeed. They ingrained in us not to complain, to respect mentors.”
“The Asian Hall of Fame is a major factor in presenting us not as stereotypes, but as stellar examples of different fields and endeavors. Thank you to the Robert Chinn Foundation, my family and Lynn Plage. The future is limitless.”
The Robert Chinn Foundation is a 501(c)3 community organization created in the memory of Robert Chinn, who founded the first Asian-owned back in the Pacific Northwest.