Yesterday, the Olympics torch went through the only North American destination, San Francisco. Pro-China and pro-Tibet demonstrators lined up along the supposed torch route. However, last minute changes had the torch running a different route bypassing protesters and catching everyone off guard including the media. The torch’s next stop is Argentina.
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Here’s some of the Asian Americans that were selected to carry the Olympic torch in San Francisco:
Chris Chui, 16 Alameda
Chris was stricken with infantile paralysis at age three. Track and field became Chris’ motivation to overcome his physical disabilities. He eventually became Captain of his high school team, he received the award for Most Outstanding Freshman/Sophomore Sprinter, and he went on to became a captain of a team-Relay For Life raising fund for American Cancer Society. Just as Chris’s grandfather brought a jar of soil to America from China, so Chris will carry the torch for all Chinese Americans and for all children with physical disabilities.
Anni Chung, 57 San Francisco
Anni has been the President & CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly since 1981 where she oversees and manages a community-based organization that provides a comprehensive range of health, educational, social and recreational services to over 25,000 seniors a year in San Francisco. Anni is participating on behalf of all of her clients and seniors throughout the Bay Area and across the country.
Edwin Lee, 55 San Francisco
As City Administrator, Ed has his hands on all the programs that make San Francisco a great symbol of diversity and strength to the world at large. Ed proudly represents all outstanding services and employees of this unique city, and he hopes that the Torch Relay will show off San Francisco at its very best.
Robin Luo, 21 San Leandro
For Robin, the Olympic torch represents hope. In 2006, she was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer and left school to get radiation and chemotherapy. Throughout her ordeal though, Robin always believed she would make it. And she did. She graduated from college a semester early. Every weekday, she runs 2 miles in the morning. She wants to bring hope to others. She wants to show them what a cancer survivor can accomplish.
Raj Mathai, 37 San Carlos
Two-time Emmy award winning Raj Mathai serves as sports director for NBC11. In 2004, the Associated Press honored him for Outstanding Sports Segment. He’s also been awarded regional Emmys for Outstanding Sports Program in 2002 and 1998. Raj has reported on-location from the Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, Athens, Greece and Salt Lake City, Utah. Raj and his family contribute to cancer research, the Leukemia Society and various other Bay Area charities.
Rachel Tsao, 16 Moraga
Rachel is a high school student, who is making the world more sustainable by learning environmental science and applying what she has learned to make a difference. She has led a campaign to encourage used of compact fluorescent light bulbs in her neighborhood and her community. Rachel also has started a “Full Tire” program where volunteers fill up under inflated car tires on cars that stop at the local gas stations to improve gas mileage. By being an active environmentalist, Rachel speaks for the youth of her generation that will carry on the torch to a more sustainable Earth.
Helen Zia, 55 Oakland
Helen is a journalist and scholar who has covered Asian American communities and social and political movements for decades. Zia is former Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, books and anthologies. A Magazine named her one of the most influential Asian Americans of the decade. She is the author of “Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People”, a finalist for the prestigious Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. She was married to Lia Shigemura in San Francisco in 2004.
Here’s why journalist and human rights activist Helen Zia wanted to carry the Olympic torch