Desperately Seeking John Liu, NYC Council Member And NY Delegate to the Democratic National Convention

Being a journalist is tough. Being a student journalist is even tougher. Student journalists have absolutely no clout and very few connections. This reality has never been more apparent than in my quest to interview New York City Council Member John Liu.

Special Correspondent Jacqueline Fernandez

After learning that I had secured press credentials to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver, my professor said, “Interview New York City delegates.” I immediately knew who I wanted to interview – John Liu.

I sent Liu an email requesting an interview and felt assured that he would be interested. Then after several days, his lack of response propelled me to take action. I began calling his legislative and district office only to be greeted with the answering machine. I left a couple of voicemails, hoping for a response, but when those were unanswered, the feeling of rejection really began to sink in.

When I didn’t receive a response from Liu or his staff, I searched for other delegates to interview. But then I realized that the answers to my questions could only be answered by Liu.

Liu represents Flushing, Queens, which houses one of the, if not the largest Asian American communities in New York City. His insight into the needs of the Asian American community and what they want from a presidential candidate are incomparable. He’s also a pledged delegate to Clinton, and now that she is no longer the democratic front-runner, his decision or indecision to support Obama could reflect the position of the Asian American community that originally supported Clinton.

Liu encounters Asian Americans from different economic levels, is knowledgeable on how cohesive an Asian American vote can really be, and if it’s even more fragmented than a Latino or black vote. Finally, as the first and only Asian American to serve on the New York City Council, maybe he can shed some light as to why Asian Americans haven’t been included in this dialogue on race that the election has generated.

Then, with a couple of days to spare before going to the DNC, I called his office again and a secretary – who will not be named – answered. After speaking with her, she apologized profusely for this inconvenience and assured me that someone would contact me as soon as possible – and, with that a little pebble of hope had been dropped into my well of rejection.

Now, it’s one day before the DNC, and that pebble has seemingly disappeared, as I still have not received a phone call or email from John Liu, or his team. Soon, Liu and I [and my colleagues] will be in Denver and I can only hope that when we cross paths; he has time to talk about the community he represents, and what this election means to the larger Asian American population.

Why Liu?

Liu is the first and only Asian American to be elected into the New York City Council. He’s also an advocate for the Asian American community.

Racial crimes and discrimination that occur in the Asian American community usually go unnoticed, but Liu has worked to change that.  Liu has a history of attaching himself to any injustice occurring in the Asian American community, frequently bringing these issues to the forefront of the public agenda.

Liu has a history of addressing any injustice occurring in the Asian American community, frequently bringing these issues to the forefront of the public agenda. While some may view this as Liu trying to champion for the AA community, others have criticized his behavior for always wanting the spotlight. However, as the first and only Asian American on the City Council, can his desire to be recognized really be admonished? Having such an outspoken and recognizable figure can only work to encourage more Asian Americans to join the political process.

Although it is a triumph that Liu is the first Asian American to be elected into the city council, it’s also a sad reminder of how much the Asian American community needs to do more to get its share of the power in New York City.

And like him I will not be deterred for my request for an interview.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.